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link to excellent review of Reproductive Cycles of the Domestic Bitch

Reproductive Cycles of the Domestic Bitch.


Follow this link to find charts that explain how the female dog works

Pets Boost Social Skills in Kids with Autism – in Neurology, Autism from MedPage Today

This is a nice article about the effect of pets on children. There is a great deal of interest about the benefit of animals in therapy for Human health. I would like to also see studies about the effects on the pet when paired with a human who life is experiencing difficulty.  It is allot to expect of animals to become substitute human therapists i.e. replace the effect of good human to human attention. Are we replacing the effects of “good human social input and bonding” with “animal-human bonding” because we do not  provide the input from a human. I would like to see studies that compare the effect of; a human v.s. an animal as the  giver of attention/time/activity to subjects of these studies. Then we can have a better idea of whether there is an animal specific effect or are we observing the effect of receiving allot of undivided focused attention.


Medical News: Pets Boost Social Skills in Kids with Autism – in Neurology, Autism from MedPage Today.

Important info about – “Ractopamine” – what is this chemical and why do dog owners need to know about it?

Sometimes I wonder what could possibly be going on inside the brains of agriculture researchers. Here is a good example. Ractopamine is a drug that has been approved for use in beef and pork in 2006. Based on one study where six healthy male human volunteers given a single oral dose of 40 mg of ractopamine was approved as safe for human consumption.

What is it. Technically it is a drug, that is a beta-adenoreceptor agonists. These type of drugs are used to treat asthma in people. Beta- adenoreceptors exist through the body and when needed internal hormones bind to these receptors to dilate our blood vessels, speed up the heart, open the bronchial airway and alter the metabolisms of the nutrients we or animals eat. In food animals it is used to increase the percentage of their growth that goes to meat fiber production and lower the percentage of fat in the same muscles. It does this quite well and is approved for use in feed to cattle and pigs for the last month of life before slaughter. The result is an animal with leaner muscle with better rate of growth. The opposite of feeding estrogenic hormones in the 1960’s, which increased growth rates, but did so by adding a higher percentage of fat. The meat producers are certainly responding to public interest in leaner meat.

The meat from these animals does contain very low levels of  remaining drug, called residues.  The FDA  had no choice but to approve it because of the lessening of their powers to control such things and the drug is know to disappear from the human blood stream with 24 to 48 hours and therefore is consider to be very low risk to humans.


Studies attempting to prove safety for the longer term feeding of this drug were reviewed and the main reviewer’s comment was  “The study did not comply with appropriate standards for protocol and and was therefore not considered to be suitable for the assessment of the safety of residues of ractopamine.”

Dogs on the other hand were used in studies and found to be much  more sensitive to the drug. It has been used experimentally, giving at several oral doses. The most common effects were rapid heart rate and restlessness even at the lowest dose test . More problems were seen in dogs than other species so they were no longer used as a research subjects. It is banned in racing animals.

What if you have a dog with multi-drug sensitivity? Yes this drug is a potential danger and the dose must be lowered by 50% to 70% depending on how many copies of the MDR-1 gene are present in a dog.

So is meat containing residues of this drug  included in the general meat supply in America. The answer is yes. I have not found statements indicating meat  with or without this “feed-additive” are identified or singled out in anyway. I recommend to owners of dog who have any health problems making your own dog food to get your meat locally or use organically grown only. The same receptors are in the muscle and secretory cells of the GI tract and will only make digestive problems worse.

Further what can we do as consumers. I certainly want to know which batch of meat I am eating has this residue or does not have it, so I can choose. Send this posting and attached article to every one that you know. Lets see if we can go viral to get the subject before the consuming public, doctors and congress. I see no benefit to humans that this residue is in the meat we eat. There are no studies that this meat will will consumed contribute to lowering of cholesterol of fatty acids in the blood that are related to  heart disease in humans. Which I hope is the end goal of the meat producers. The averge amount of time for the drug to disapear from blood or meat when feed to animals is< 24 hours, but the metabolites can be in the meat and  blood for 4 days in pigs.

Our meat is sold worldwide and many countries are discussing whether they will accept this meat and I think the American consumer should have the same option as consumers in Japan, Taiwan or China.

Ractopamine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Patricia McConnell’s website for a wealth of information on behavior and dog training

Dog Training Books, Dog Training, Dog Behavior, Puppy Training | Patricia McConnell.

In case you are looking for books, DVD’s and other educational material on dogs ad behavior, this is Patricia McConnell’s website.

Make Note: Patrica McConnell is now a full time writer, speaker and educator. She no longer sees any individual appointments. She has sold her dog training business to Aimee Moore, an experienced dog trainer and behaviorist in her own right.

The training company called “Dog’s Best Friend” is under her steerage.  Classes and individual appointments are available. Their website is


Food rewards verses Punishment. Which actually works best when it comes to dog training?

Well, DR Ian Dunbar recently discusses this whole issue. His approach  to dog training has been to study popular methods and based on scientific testing find out what actually works better, faster and results in a more reliable dog. In the end as he tells us that neither method is the best way.  Well, listen to the video for what what I like to think of as the third way of dog training.

★☞ Dog Breed Selector Quiz SelectSmart.com

★☞ Dog Breed Selector Quiz SelectSmart.com.

Fun and informative site to help you pick the right breed of dog for you.

Is there a good website to find a puppy. Yes and No

It is buyer be aware when it comes to buying puppies or kittens. I highly recommend this website http://pupquest.org/index.php, that can answer all your questions and more.

Buying a puppy or Kitten that will become a member of the family for 10 up to 18 years is a big commitment of your energy, money and most important love and personal time.  Many pets are purchased on a whim or as a present for someone else. Two to four months after Christmas is when animal shelters and humane societies begin to fill up with pet adoptions that fail.

The wise and loving approach to choosing a pet begins with becoming informed about the pros and cons of pet ownership and the breeds you are looking at to adopt. Survey’s show that most pets are chosen by how they look alone, with little consideration of how they act, how much time, attention, and exercise they need, and personality. When successful, the family pet develops a wonderful relationship with the family members which can enrich our lives.  I recommend reading the pupquest website  chapters and the ebook “before you get your puppy” by Dr. Ian Dunbar before you select  “the one”  for  this important relationship.


Happy dog training

How does the shampoo Etiderm shampoo work?

Pyoben Shampoo Veterinary Information from Drugs.com.

Pyoben Shampoo is the generic name for Etiderm shampoo. If you have used this shampoo for your dog with either recurring skin infections or allergies and it worked, stick  with it!   Interestingly, the design if this product is more holistic than drug based. This is a good example of a drug company taking clues from Alternative Medicine and developing a shampoo containing multiple ingredients from nature that provide protection for unhealthy skin. If I find an equivalent, safe and as effective herbal formul I will post it in the future.

How does Etiderm shampoo work?

It  is a combinations of functional ingredients that provide better skin protection when combined than used alone.

1. First is a technology,  the ingredients are packaged into “microspheres” (the company’s name is SPHERULITES).  Any lotions, oils, active agents that are inside of  micro-speres are slowly release to the skin. This allows more of the contents to be absorbed into the skin, at a lower longer acting dose which remains after the shampoo is rinsed away. This technology for topical delivery of skin lotions, oils and nutriceuticals has been used in human cosmeceutical industry for some years because of better results.

2.Second the shampoo contains Chitosanide and glycerin which together create a natural protective layer over the skin that stays in place longer than most barrier type products.

Research has shown that dogs who have chronic allergic  skin disease from a young age have abnormal skin.  Specifically, the layers of their skin are too thin, and the growth of new cells toward the surface is slow. This results in a thin, weaker outer protective skin layer that is present to keep the outside world,  well . ..outside, making the skin water proof and a barrier to bacteria, viruses and so on.  This product supplements for the missing  protection by forming a protective yet flexible layer (mixture of Chitosanide and glycerin) over the skin. It must be reapplied on average weekly, as it does wear off.

3. Third uses a non-antibiotic ingredient,  Benzoyl peroxide 3%, directly inhibits bacterial growth, plus has a mild drying affect (also harmful to bacteria) and unclogs the opening of skin pores. Clogged pores are where skin infections usually begin. Skin that is irritated by allergies will also have pores that  become filled & blocked by dead cells and bacteria.  Assisting the skin to keep pores open, greatly reduce infections, and  the accompanying inflammation. The inflammation of the skin pores also will causes the dog to scratch and chew their skin, making matters worse.

4. Citric acid is included as a natural preservative. It is also a mild skin exfoliate and helps to preserve the natural ph of the skin.

4. Finally it contain sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate,  a cleansing and foaming agent, naturally derived from coconut oil. The sulfated fatty acid compounds get a bad name in cosmetics, but many are from natural substances and are  the foaming and penetrating agent in shampoo. This is  the Soap, which breaks up and removes sticky clumps of bacteria, dirt, and oil at the surface of skin pores. Once this debris is removed the other ingredients can get to the  especially the pores and do their job.

I hope this help explain the role of this special shampoo for itchy or infected skin of some dogs. As of yet, there is no cure for allergic skin. Most Veterinary Dermatology researchers agree that genetics play a major role in dogs with allergies especially those that begin under 2 years of age.  The prevailing theory is the abnormal genes lead to abnormal skin formation with thin and weaker outer layers with or without an  abnormal immune system too.   The dog genome has been completed and hopefully will lead to new information about the inheritance of skin allergic disease.

When Your Dog Reads Your Subtle Cues | Psychology Today

This is an excellent article about the complexity of the “Human – Dog interaction”. Good information for advanced trainers and owners a-like. When you have the feeling that the dog has “taken over” the training, is “mind reading”, or “Tried & True Methods” stop working with a particular dog. The Dog may not be stubborn, or status seeking, or many other labels we assign when the Dog does not respond as we expect. Follow the link below to read more.

When Your Dog Reads Your Subtle Cues | Psychology Today.

What do you do if you are given out cues unintentionally that the dog has learned to read and follow.

1. Return to the present moment.

A. Stop and Breath- usually it takes a full 6 relaxing breaths for are attention to return to the present.

B. Think about what you are doing in the moment with the dog. People are notorious planners & multi-taskers, which can confuse a dog that is reading your subtle cues. We will unconsciously begin to change our attention, body position general mental and eye attention, as soon as we think about the next move, often before we have finished with the last move. Dogs are experts at reading these subtle changes. It is what makes them good hunters of prey, reading where or how the prey will travel before it moves.

Often dog training is repetitive, while at the same time, needs intense focus on the Dog the entire training episode. I noticed my 6 year old neighbor had trained my 6 month old puppy not to jump on her in a few seconds, and then on to more behaviors.   She was completely focused on the dog and the dog on her.  In reality most of us get bored, repeating the sit command and waiting for the dog to comply for the 20th time, our minds wander. The dog will pick up our loss of focus  and look around to find out what we are attending to0, instead of them. When this happens in training the events unfold as;  the dog was doing well, following, executing and focused on you. Without a reason the dog begins to look away and not pay attention to your cues and fail at the task.. Well, a dog that is able to read your cues is looking  for where the trainer’s focus has gone. Just redirect yourself and the dog, shorten your training sessions. In the home with puppies, I prefer 2-5 minute mini-sessions, with  10 -15 minutes breaks for the dog to play or to practice waiting. When doing longer training make the sessions fun for the dog and you so it is easier to stay focused.

C. Take a break for you and the dog.

D. Access whether to continue or to stop the training session. If the dog is tired, upset, bored, or ill stop.

E. If you want to continue with the dog it is OK to have unstructured time together. The dog is learning through this interaction as well. How to hang out with their humans.

2. Another common reason the dog looks away happens when the trainer becomes frustrated, and focuses at the dog with emotion-charged dominant postures and staring at the dog.  The “look away” by the dog is behavior language that “they acknowledge you as dominant” plus signal their “submission” by first “looking away”, then a “head turn away” and finally “whole body turned side-ways” to the trainer. When this happens stop training, give the dog something easy to do and end the session on a positive note.

For More on this subject go to: Do Dogs Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves? | Psychology Today.

3. Follow up when training  gets off track:

A good practice that excellent Dog trainers, as well as  leaders of people, employ when something is not going well is  a quick self assessment. They will note the details of what they were doing and what caused your  reactions. I.e. The time of day, length of  the session, something else is on your mind, even simply distracting body pain or fatigue. Good trainers develop a habit of self assessment, without self judgement so that all elements of a training session can be adjusted to the situation and the dog. I believe that this skill is one of those that contribute to  the “art” of  the Science and Art of Modern dog training.

Happy training

Dr Smith

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs – how to figure out if your dog ingested enough to be a problem.

Great article on how much of a dose it takes to be toxic to a dog, depending on their size. If you happen to own a Collie, Sheltie, Aussie, Border Collie,  the dose may be 1/3 the dose calculated in this article.


This sensitivity of the heart to some chemicals is because the  members of the “Herding Breeds” may  inherit a Multi-Drug Sensitivity gene called  MDR1.  Washington State University, Veterinary Pathology laboratory has an inexpensive DNA test that can be done by owners to determine if your dog has any copies of the MDR1 gene. This information is important for planning on dosage of several drugs i.e.; heartworm preventatives, some antibiotics and chemicals that affect the heart, chemotherapy plus some anesthestics and tranquilzers. Simply knowing if your dog has the gene, allows your Vet to adjust the dose of the candidate drugs or choose another option when available. Follow the link below for more info:

Breeds of dogs affected with the mutant MDR1 gene. Information from the VCPL at Washington State University..

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