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When Is a Good Time to Spay or Neuter?

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Whole Dog Journal unabashedly supports the positive efforts of animal protection workers around the country to reduce the euthanasia of unwanted animal companions, including the proactive approach of shelters to spay and neuter dogs at a relatively early age, before they have had a chance to make more puppies. However, many holistic veterinary practitioners regard prepubescent spay/neuter surgery as potentially harmful to young pups. We'll describe their concerns — but we'll also offer some holistic remedies that can counter the potentially deleterious effects of surgery.

Proper Use of Head Halters for Leash Training

Ten years ago, a new dog training tool hit the market. Known generically as the head halter (or head collar), it is a device similar to the halter commonly used on horses. It provides a greatly increased degree of control over the dog who is dedicated to pulling on the collar and leash, without the punishment or pain factors associated with choke chains and prong collars. The head halter has a strap that goes around the dog’s nose, and another that clasps around his neck, just behind the ears. The leash attaches to a ring below the dog’s chin. Just like with halters on horses, bulls and other large animals, it works on the principle that where the nose goes, the body must follow.

Canine Wisdom

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Opening the mail can make my day dreary – when people write in to point out a phone number is incorrect, say, or when they are just plain angry about something we’ve published. But the mail can also brighten my day considerably, like when someone drops me a line to say, “Good job!” Recently, a friend sent me the following bit of doggerel that I’m still smiling about.

Decisions, Decisions

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including: fatty acids

Hannah’s Change of Heart

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Hannah was a normal, healthy Labrador Retriever puppy: happy, boisterous, playful, and always willing to eat. Hannah’s owner, Connecticut resident Anne Hassett, bought Hannah when the pup was seven weeks old. Hassett trained, socialized, and loved the golden pup. A field-line Labrador, Hannah hunted on the weekends and enjoyed the comfy life of a companion Lab weekdays. Hannah was well known in hunting circles for her steady, easy-going temperament, the coveted hallmark of the Labrador breed. Hassett considered breeding her, and had the dog examined and tested for genetic diseases.

Tail-Wagging Training

Training, says Massachusetts dog trainer Donna Duford, should be fun, not work. Her seminars are such upbeat, tail-wagging events that the dogs seem to be having a party. Look closer and you’ll see a serious class, with participants taking notes as Duford reviews the laws of learning and defines classical conditioning, operant conditioning, positive and negative reinforcement, positive and negative punishment, continuous and variable reinforcement schedules, and other fundamentals of behavioral training.

Choosing Canine Supplements Wisely

Sometimes, the deficiency is discovered when a blood test is performed for the purpose of analyzing the dog’s nutritional status (although, in my opinion, there are some problems with this methodology (see “Blood Testing for Deficiencies,” next page). In other cases, a dog owner might know that the diet he feeds is deficient in a certain nutrient, and he supplements rather than changes the formulation of the diet. For example, dogs who are fed a diet based on raw meats and vegetables, but who don’t receive fresh ground bones, are more than likely to be deficient in calcium.

No Need For Force When Puppy Training

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Following a rash of reports of puppy deaths at the hands of their trainers, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) released a statement denouncing any training methods which cause physical harm to dogs. The last straw for APDT members was the news report of a trainer in Raleigh, North Carolina, who allegedly killed an eight-week-old Shar-Pei puppy by repeatedly using a choke collar and pinning the puppy to the ground to correct it for “puppy biting.” The pup died at its vet’s office, reportedly from damage to the trachea. The APDT was already aware of at least three similar cases: Some weeks prior, two puppies (one in Virginia and one in Hawaii) died when their trainers stuck their fingers down the dogs’ throats attempting to stop them from nipping.

Both Sides Now

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thanks! But consider giving the lure/reward method of teaching your new puppy to sit and lie down

Whole Dog Journal’s 2000 Canned Dog Food Review

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these days?) and they can't share the information with you for fear that the knowledge will spread and this will result in some sort of advantage by their competitors.

The truth is

Who’s in Charge of Pet Food Manufacturing Regulations?

While most dog owners are certain that “someone” is in charge of regulating the manufacture of commercial dog food in this country, very few people know who that mysterious official or agency might be. But somebody’s gotta be making sure that dog food doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients and does contain what dogs need to survive, right? The FDA? Department of Agriculture? Someone?

Building Immunity

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I am so glad you are presenting information about immune system problems. I myself suffer from extreme immune dysfunction and environmental illness, and it is only because I have an excellent holistic M.D. and take numerous vitamins and supplements and eat organic food that I am alive. I appreciate your publication, as I have six dogs. I switched my four older dogs to Wysong Senior, and have seen a increase in vitality in all four. My old Ridgeback had ear problems for years, with scaling and thickening of her ear flaps. They are now normal, silky, and no longer cause her to scratch.