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Positive ways to reassert your role as Alpha Dog (Someone elses title, not mine-good article non-the-less)

Eight Ways to Reassert Your Role as Alpha.

Nice check list with general tips on how and why dogs decide on who is in charge in family groups. When a dog  is at the top of the pecking order in a home it is important to look at how the  human behavior of family members has given the dog this message.  Whether we notice or not, dogs are monitoring our reactions to them. They are looking for “canine-like”  behaviors that tells them where they fit in the group pecking order. Dogs (& cats) have a strong need to seek a place in social hierarchies. This is common in all species that  live in groups (for safety, food, comfort & bonding). Social hierarchy when respected by the members, minimizes the need to have daily conflict over who gets the best things in life, i.e. the best bed, first choice of  food, play time, playmates,  toys, or even cuddles from us.  Pets will behavior in many ways to find where we say “No” or “Ouch” to figure out there place in the family society. Harder for people to detect are the status seeking  behaviors that are “cute” or behaviors that  just “do not matter to us”.  The desire to test (& re-test) to find social boundaries is  normal, regardless of species. Carnivores tend to have stricter social rules with almost “ritual-like” behaviors compared to people.  The theory being, that to a carnivore conflict is much more dangerous to life and limb because they have specialized to hunt and kill for a living and can use the same skills to protect their families and home range. People with less powerful bodies and jaws, but bigger brains, are more able to find other creative ways to solve these problems of survival such as finding a new group or moving to a new area to live. In general people tolerate change more readily than our pet carnivores.

How effective are food’s as anti-oxidants.




At the present time we rely on measurements developed to compare how well foods or suppliments block the adverse effects of free radicals. This measure is called  ORAC.

Follow these links for more explanation and an excellent list of foods with their ORAC numbers.

What are ORAC values?

List of ORAC values of some foods..

Kennel training: Why do dogs or puppies bark and cry when left alone…and What to do!

In this article I will answer three questions;

1. Why do puppies or dogs fuss all night or cry themselves to sleep when left in a kennel or other confined area?

2. What to do about the crying puppy in the kennel? or Why does the Kennel not work for my puppy.

3. What not to do.

Unless taught puppies/dogs do not know that the kennel is a safe place for sleeping or resting “quietly”. Like children, puppies go through a period of crying, whining, barking when first left alone for bedtime (when old enough to become aware of being left). Older dogs who have not been gradually taught how to be alone (either in a kennel or home), do not acquired the ability to “self-calm”.    They can develop anxiety symptoms that worsen as the time spent alone gets longer and more frequent, like when new owners return to work.  Other symptoms of anxiety such as urination, defecation, cage chewing, house damage, broken teeth and worse can happen. Kennel training young puppies gets them ready to feel safe when left alone.

Let me explain further. …

Puppy are born with an unfinished nervous system that continues to develop and grow rapidly through in the first year of life.  At birth, Pups do not have the nervous system areas that regulate the “ability to calm down”.  Puppies and children have to  learn the skill “to calm oneself down”. This happens when the puppy’s is stimulated by short periods on being left alone, that are gradually increased. When challenged by tolerable levels of frustration the brain & nervous system will learn new capacities. Frustration, with trial & error,  activates  growth of nerve cells that can be used by the puppy to calm itself, called “self soothing”.  It is important for survival that this is not present at birth because pups are not able to survive with body heat from either mother or other pups for very long so their cries when left alone the first 3 weeks are important. It is later that the pups must develop the skill of waiting, that is an essential part of day-to-day life.

When puppies are not stimulated by appropriate short absences from mother and owners,  the behavior problem called Abandonment Anxiety can develop.  I refer to tolerating alone time as a skill, because it is learned and not present in puppies or children or other mammals  from birth. It arises as a learned phenomenon if the environment prompts the growing brain that this ability to be needed. The ability to self-calm is thought to be stored in the nerve cell’s DNA, but does not emerge until stimulated by circumstances, as with many capacities that are developed over a life time through learning. Then the areas of the brain involved in emotions will start to produce the chemicals necessary for calming, plus stimulate growth of nerves & connections which increase the speed and ease of using the “ability to calm down”.

Human caretakers can, with the best of intentions, interfere with this necessary process. Let me go into getter detail of how this happens. For the brain to be stimulated to grow a new capacity, the puppy must go through a period of distress and frustration where the old method (crying out for mother or others) does not work. Before the brain will seek a change, the puppy will go through cycles of increasing frequency and intensity of the behavior that used to work. Fancy name is an extinction burst. A short episode of intense, extreme behavior that is the last attempt before the behavior ends.  The behavioral display will ramp up to a high peak before the animal can stop. Only if they fail will seeking a new solution take place.   We, animal lovers & owners, especially when first home with our adorable and helpless puppy, feel the urgent need to rescue when we hears their cry’s. We ar, in fact, hard-wired, to respond urgently to the sound of a crying baby, any baby. In earlier life, this reaction by us or mother is a life saving behavior, that puppies must be able to evoke so mother knows when to come to them.  As the pup get older the mother naturally learns that every cry is no longer urgent and begins to ignore her demanding maturing brood.  When the crying or fussy behavior does not work, the pup will cry, whine and bark  faster, higher & higher pitched and more intensely, sometimes to the point of frantic before it stops. Because it is an instinct driven behavior, it has more brain capacity dedicated to it  so it is stronger and more practiced, compared to the newer behavior that must emerge for pups to handle the unpredictability of life. “Calming down” in order to sleep or “learning to wait” are some of the early lessons in internal self-control necessary for a successful life. If these lessons are interrupted or missed,  the dog can have a higher risk of developing all kinds of anxiety behaviors.

What to expect in young puppies when first left alone (night or daytime while owners go to work), they will cry for 5 – 15 minutes and then fall asleep. Even though the calm before sleeps is short and came from being worn out the brain chemicals are still released.  With a few repetitions, their body will have noticed the calming  sensations before the sleep part of the cycle.  The puppy physically feels better to be calm compared to how fussing feels.  The fussing part of each session get shorter and shorter and then stops, as the more pleasant feeling of calmly waiting and falling to sleep takes the place of fussing. In young puppies 6 to 8 weeks of age this takes about a week. Some pups learn this after 1 or 2 times (lucky owners) and others take 2 weeks or longer.

The first day home with your puppy, introduce them to the kennel with a toys or food given inside the kennel several times (12-20) throughout that first day. Stay with them, leave the kennel door open episode last about 1 3 minutes . Repeat this until pup is happy to stay in and enter kennel on her own. Next add short periods with the door shut,  3- 5 seconds at first, then work up to a minute, 5 minutes, etc. I set up in the living room where I spend the day, a play pen big enough for the kennel and a large area outside it to play. see website “www.dogstardaily.com”  for photo of setup.  Play with the puppy in the pen. Leave the puppy in the pen, you are still in sight.  Leave the room for short periods throughout the day. Your new pup will play intensely for 10 -15 minutes and then rest/nap for 30 -60 minutes. Leave the room during nap times. As the day goes on the puppy will go in/out of the kennel freely. I feed in the kennel also. All serve to teach the puppy that the kennel is their personal room that is fun to be in. This gets puppy ready for the night.

What not to do.

1. Bring the puppy home at end of the day so no time is left for training.

2. Letting the puppy out when crying, fussing happens, once it is bedtime/kennel time. Expect this fussing to happen the first few nights if your puppy is normal. Especially important to ignore when the pups engages in an extinction burst (frantic crying and fussing). Remember the puppy is trying to get you to come, if you do, the behavior will continue because it worked.  It is OK to spend sometime playing with puppy in the kennel prior to shutting the door. I keep untrained pups in their kennel in my bedroom, so they can see me and wear ear plugs for the first 2 weeks.

3. Puppies less than 12 weeks of age can’t go 8 hours between voiding. Set you alarm for 6 hours and if pup is awake I take them out. If not awake leave them. Alternate way to house train is to use a doggie litter tray with sod or artificial turf, kept in the kennel or play pen, so accidents have a place to happen. The remainder of the floor should be smooth, not absorptive which dogs prefer to use to urinate.

What happens when adults have not acquired this skill. They tend to add other stress reducing behaviors (chew on legs, feet, tails, breaking teeth on the cage bars, running in tight circles, non-stop licking) with each aroused state as time goes on. Each adult is their own combination of behaviors. But studies have observed dogs that progress beyond normal puppy distress into abnormal anxiety states tend to continue to get worse until they are in a continuous state of arousal. These dogs are treatable with the help of a skilled behaviorist and in some causes the addition of anti-anxiety medications during the re-learning period.

How to make a balanced pet food for dogs and cats

There  is an excellent website called “www.balanceit.com”  run by the American Association of Veterinary Nutritionists.  Available to owners and veterinarians.

You type in a protein and the carbohydrate of your choice, such as Turkey and rice, then some info about your pet. The website will run formulas automatically and come up with a balanced recipe for homemade diets.  This is so useful for owners who can not or do not want to feed commercially made diets.

The chapter for the veterinarian requires log in with a current license number. The same information can be used to calculate a custom diet for the many different medical problems that require a special diet. Ask your vet to try this site next time your overweight allergic dog needs a special diet and make it yourself at home.


>Elaine Scarry, The body in pain: the making and unmaking of the world | Free eBooks Download – EBOOKEE!

Worth the read if you or a loved one has pain.

>Elaine Scarry, The body in pain: the making and unmaking of the world | Free eBooks Download – EBOOKEE!

>Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) News From Phoenix Rising – Report From the OFFER 2010 Conference

Interesting info on these two sites


>Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) News From Phoenix

Publish Post

Rising – Report From the OFFER 2010 Conference

>New Medical Claims or product that is "the best ever"

>There seems to be continuous new cures or life enhancing programs for us to buy. Look up your self which claims are true.
This is the Link “Pubmed”, one of a few online search engines to medical science published world wide. This is free to the public to get the summaries of articles and in some cases the full research paper. In valuable resource for Doctors and scientists.

PubMed Help – PubMed Help – NCBI Bookshelf: “- Sent using Google Toolbar”

Go through the tutorial on how to use the site if it is your first time. Some articles are complicated and in the jargon of the science world, however the conclusion paragraphs are usually understandable. Can give readers an appreciation for the difficulty involve in research studies and when conclusions are made it is based on very strong evidence.

>Vitamin D deficiency linked to chronic fatigue in brain-injured patients

>Vitamin D deficiency linked to chronic fatigue in brain-injured patients

another interesting observation.

>Breed Specific Health Concerns | AKC Canine Health Foundation

>Breed Specific Health Concerns | AKC Canine Health Foundation

This is the Labrador list of health problems that are common in the breed of dog.

>Study: Even "BPA-Free" Plastics Leach Endrocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

>Info on a major cause of thyroid, adrenal diseases, leukemia, lymphoma, and brain tumors.

Study: Even “BPA-Free” Plastics Leach Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals

These plastics are what have been found in both tumors and in dysfunctional endocrine organs. The endocrine organs are responsible for secreting the hormones are body used to regulate itself. Hormones like thyroid hormone, cortisol, insulin, growth hormone and immune signal hormones. The most commonly effected organ in cats is the thyroid gland leading to overactive thyroid. This is a serious condition in cats and women. In dogs the most common tumors are in the lymph nodes (lymphoma) and the most common organ dysfunction is over active adrenal glands, but many others are all too common. All the organs in our bodies that use hormone precursors to do their job can be effected. The plastic molecules are mistaken by the body as building blocks for the production of hormones and the white blood cell called lymphocytes. For example , plastic molecules (resemble a building block of thyroid hormone) are taken into the cells of the thyroid gland to make into thyroid hormone. But it is the wrong molecular structure and the cell is not able to make what it intended. The plastic molecules keep being transported in and build up in the cell until the cell either dies, undergoes inflammation or shuts down. This is why these compounds can cause a variety of responses. Inflammation can lead to tumors, or over-function of the organ affected. Alternatively, cells that fill up with plastic do not have enough of the normal molecules to build from and are unable to make hormones, leading to low thyroid function. The death of cells can also dis-regulate the organ in another way. In many body organs, there exists cell to cell local communication that is going on all of the time. The cell will signal its neighbor with either a chemical message or electrical impulse. When there are allot of dead cells distributed throughout an organ, gaps between active cells occur. The theory is that the gaps interrupt the normal cell to cell communication ability like a break in any small wire or a dam. This process is thought to lead to the “dis-regulation” of the immune system for example.

2010 is the first year that the American Association of Endocrinologist (all Doctors) testified before Congress of their own initiative to alert the nation to the danger of the class of compounds called “hormone disruptors”. Veterinarians and animal scientists have been collecting data for over 50 years on these effects & warned congress 10 years ago. The that last 10 to 15 years the effects have become more serious and much more frequent. The estimates from the American Veterinary Cancer Society is that within 10 years, 50% of our pets will die from cancer. This is a rapid increase in how often cancer is happening in our pets. Pets and children get a much higher dose of anything in the environment because they crawl around on the floor or ground and have a faster metabolism and take more into their bodies.

The other most common “hormone disruptor” chemical to be aware of is the herbicide 2,4-D also called “weed begone. The main exposure to humans, pets and other creatures is through drinking water. This is the most significant only because it has been around a long time in everyday use since the 1950’s. A simple water filter will remove this. Bottle water is as contaminated as any other water.

I will periodically write about this problem when new reliable science becomes available.

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