Night Dog Walking with Lighted Dog Collars

Does fall weather mean your evening dog walks are now taken in dim light–or after dark? Whether you are walking during the last rays of light or at night, both you and your dog are difficult to…



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DogTipper

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A Day of Thanks

They’re counting their blessings in Canada today. Happy Thanksgiving to our friends of the True North. If you’re here in the States, Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day, or Happy Columbus Day, whichever way you celebrate it. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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4 Favorite Cool Weather Soups

4 Delicious Autumn Soups

Ahhh, autumn in Chicago land. It was almost 80 degrees on Thursday, and by Friday night, we officially hit freezing at 32. And while I’m not usually a fan of cold weather in any form, it was fun to pull out a couple of my favorite soup recipes and enjoy some hot soup this weekend. These 4 (and veggie chili; I need to share that recipe!) are my favorites for fall and winter. Click on the images or link for the full recipes.

4 Delicious Autumn Soups

4 Delicious Autumn Soups

4 Delicious Autumn Soups

We also shared this delicious corn chowder recipe way back in 2013.

What is your favorite soup when the weather starts to get chilly?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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My Dog Won’t Potty on Leash!

Do you ever have problems getting your dog to potty when on leash? We’ve heard from numerous readers whose dogs either won’t pee on leash or won’t poop on leash–or who refuse…



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DogTipper

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Friday Funny: Stinky Shoes!

When your shoes are so stinky even the puppy passes out when he smells them. Happy weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Jolly ball is the best ball

jolly ball the best ball

Natural History

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Easy Halloween Pizzas

Easy Halloween Pizzas

I originally shared this recipe last year, but we’ve been making them nonstop around here this month, Halloween is in 3 weeks, so it only seemed right to share again. The original recipe I shared was for all plant-based, vegan products, but we have made them with regular cheese too, and I have updated the recipe to reflect this.

These are so easy to make and so much fun! My kids love them as an after school snack and for lunch on the weekends. They’d be perfect for a Halloween party too. They’re yummy food and a craft in one.

Vegan Mini Pizzas
Vegan Mini Halloween Pizzas

Easy Mini Halloween Pizzas
Makes 6 mini pizzas

INGREDIENTS

6 english muffins*, halved
3 cups shredded cheese or vegan cheese (we usually do a mix of mozzarella and cheddar)
1 cup jarred pizza sauce
black olives
green olives
green pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Placed halved english muffins cut side up on a baking sheet, and top each with pizza sauce until covered, then top with cheese shreds. (If you want to make a mummy pizza, use the cheese shreds to form “bandages”.) Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted. Then get creative! To make a jack-o-lantern, create a face with black olives and sliced green pepper, and a pumpkin stem from green pepper. To make a spider pizza, top with a vertically halved black olive for the body, a horizontally halved black olive for the head, and sliced black olives for the legs. To make a mummy pizza, use green olives to create eyes. To make a monster/Frankenstein pizza, top with a piece of sliced green pepper and small olive pieces.

Mini Halloween Pizzas
Vegan Halloween Pizzas
Mini Halloween Pizzas

Happy Halloween snacking!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Win the Walk In Sync™ Home Study Course with Harness + Leash ($197!)

Are dog walks the highlight of your day–or a time you approach with concern about your dog’s behavior behavior on the walk? Does your dog pull on the leash when all you want is for your…



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DogTipper

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The never ending process of domestication

st croix

Of late, I’ve been perusing various sites and Youtube channels that focus on sustainable agriculture or, rather, agriculture that can work with significant reductions in fossil fuels.  Now, I should note that I am a skeptic, and I don’t think that any one solution is the actual solution to the problem. But there are people working on it.

Among the ones I’ve been following is a Missouri grass-fed beef farmer named Greg Judy, who runs cattle, sheep, and swine using intensive mob grazing techniques, which require the use of mobile live wires.  He uses very little worming on his stock, so he has had to reinvent some of the domestication selection pressures on his stock.

For example, when he started running his worm-resistant sheep, he had a simple selection criteria.  If it jumped the live wire, he shot it. Within just a few generations, he had put enough selection pressure on his flock that he had sheep that could be contained with just a single strand of electric wire.

Just that simple idea set my mind on the process of domestication. In its initial stages, all those thousands of years ago, the process probably wasn’t any more elegantly simple than Judy’s shooting the fence jumpers.

When the idea of truly scientific selective breeding came to the fore in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we were able to accelerate innovation in our various domestic strains. We bred animals that could gain weight rapidly on grain, that were docile enough to be crowded into feedlots, and that could be more easily transported via rail or by truck.

But now, the climate is warming, and the constant burning of fossil fuels is to blame. You can disagree with me on this, but most of the world’s leaders in politics and business agree with me.  Not enough do, of course, but enough do that we’re going to see policies put into effect that will make burning fossil fuels untenable.

This shift will mean that producers of meat will be forced to develop ways of running and finishing stock that will be based more upon grass forage than upon bringing in processed feeds, and this process will mean that we will have to change our selection criteria for livestock once again.

It may mean that the fence jumpers get shot. It will also mean that animals that cannot gain weight or give birth and nurse young on grass will be bred.

This constant adaptation of domestic animals to our societies’ various needs means that domestication has always been an ongoing process. We weed out the undesirable traits. We cull a little wild in the strain there, or we try to breed it back in over here.

Societies change. Climates change. Ecosystems change. Economies change.  Our understanding of biology is that populations of organisms change, too, and domestic animals undergo similar processes to the wild ones. It’s just that the human factors are the bigger driving force with these animals.

So we never just domesticate a species, and it’s done. In reality, we domesticate and select and select and select some more.

 

 

Natural History

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Dogumentary TV incorrectly blasts show German shepherd hips

Dogumentary TV is a channel I generally like on Youtube, and I’ve watched it since it was called “Bully Badass TV,” when it was mostly about American bully subculture. (American bullies are blocky-headed, very-toned down offshoots of the AmStaff and American pit bull terrier breeds).  It is sometimes quite good, especially when Zeke interviewed my friend Brad Anderson.

Recently, Zeke purchased an FCI-strain Rottweiler pup named Roscoe, and he’s been doing this series about why he chose a Rottweiler over another breed.  This week, he posted about why he chose a Rottweiler over a German shepherd.

Ten years ago, I would have chosen a Rottweiler over a GSD. All of my experiences with Rottweilers were good, and none of my experiences with German shepherds were good. I lived where there were a lot of fence barking GSD, and there were quite a few that were known for biting. Rottweilers were mostly just good ol’ farm dogs.

But as people know, I’ve totally changed my mind about German shepherds. And I blamed the blasted dogs for this embarrassing turn around. These dogs fit my personality better than any other dog I’ve spent time with.

I don’t have anything against bite-work bred GSD, and it was actually one of these dogs that changed my mind. But her high energy and high levels of dog aggression made it very hard for us to manage in a house full of delicate sighthounds.

The really well-bred show dogs, though, really do fit well into our house. They are not dog aggressive. They have a lot of drive, but they have an off-switch. Quest can bark and look intimidating, but he’s not particularly dangerous.

So I do like these show-bred German shepherds. You may hate me for it, but I always have reserved the right to change my mind when I’m presented with more compelling evidence.

One reason I hated show GSD is really the big reason that Zeke decided to blast the show dogs. Yes, I know that Zeke knows mastiff and mountain dog-type dogs better than herding breeds, but in this installment of Dogumentary TV, he decided to say that the show German shepherds have bad hips because of their rear angulation.

You can hate their rear angulation all you want, but their hips do not contribute to their rears. Indeed, the truth of the matter is the hips on American show-line German shepherds have steadily improved over the years, because breeders have paid really close attention to this issue. They still breed for the flashy rears, but they also breed for good hips.

I’ve taken in a few randomly-bred and poorly-bred working-line GSD over the past year, and we’ve had their hips x-rayed.  Not a single one has had anything that could pass OFA.

I know Zeke prefers mastiff-type dogs from an aesthetic perspective. I personally don’t, but that’s okay. He doesn’t like dogs that shed very much, and he’s very right to avoid this breed if he wants low shedding.

However, he’s used the classic formulation of show vs. working GSD that is guaranteed to set a dog up for failure. When we say that the show dogs are all a mess and that they cannot walk because of their bad hips, we aren’t just wrong.  We are setting up a disaster.

If you tell the average person that they need to get a German shepherd without the extra rear angulation, they will go to the bite-work bred dogs. There are breeders who produce quality ones, but they are not cheap. There are also many more breeders who are breeding bitework dogs with very little health testing and often without working tests as well. Haphazard breeding of dogs with this amount of energy  can result in animals that are quite hard to live with.

He is quite right in saying that he’d avoid the working German shepherds that he has met because of their energy level.  But he’s quite wrong that the show-bred dogs are this level of mess.  Getting the temperament right on a dog that can bite people and still be safe to have in public is not easy, and the typical dog owner cannot give a really super active working dog what it needs to thrive.

What is even more disappointing is that he showed American show German shepherds in several short slow motion clips, all of which showed the dogs in awkward positions. He did not show a single dog in full gait. The American-style gait is free flowing, and one of the most beautiful sights in all the dog world. It is seeing this gait in person that changed my mind most profoundly about  what I thought about American show-line German shepherds.

Just for the record, here are the hip x-rays from Quest’s OFA prelims. He was designated as OFA Good for hips and normal for elbows.

quest's hips

Here is Quest playing around. He is one of those “slopeback cripples.” He has a lot of power in those back legs, though. He can launch himself way out into a lake to fetch a ball or stick.

shot put quest.jpg

Dogumentary TV is a well-produced Youtube channel. I enjoy many of the installments. Ultimately, though, a lot of the information one gets from the channel is up to the “expert” Zeke interviews. Some of these people know a lot. Some are into blowing lots of smoke, and unfortunately, he has bought into the “sloping back = bad hips” nonsense that some working-line breeders and internet personalities promote.

So I wish that Zeke would interview a breeder of German shepherds who does produce for the AKC show ring. He would do well talking to someone who breeds SV dogs for sieger shows as well. Both AKC and SV conformation lines have been selected for better hips. The SV requires it for all breeding stock, and the best AKC show breeders are constantly getting x-rays and DNA tests.

No one is trying to breed a dysplastic dog on purpose.

And yes, I used to believe all this stuff, but I forced myself to be objective. That’s the toughest thing in the world of dogs. Objectivity.

And yes, I know that Zeke is not really a German shepherd expert. He always leaned more toward the harder-edge mastiff and mountain dog breeds than I ever will.

I also have learned as I’ve grown up in the world of dogs that I don’t know everything, and I can be profoundly wrong about something. In fact, I was so wrong about German shepherds that I had no idea that this was the actual breed for me.

When something like that happens in your life,  you begin to wonder about other things in which you might still be in error. That’s one reason I hold back so much on the dog blogging these days.

I can still be controversial about dogs, but I now know I must be more diligent about what I think is true.

So that will hold me back a bit, but it will be for the better.

I wish Zeke the best of luck with his new Rottweiler pup. He looks like a really nice dog with great genetics.

And I think he made the right decision, but I still wish he would educate himself a bit more on why German shepherds have their particular conformation and how this does relate to their exact hip joint formation. It’s  just not related to the slope of the back.

You can like it or hate. But the extended rear angulation and sloping back are not the cause of bad hips in German shepherds. No credible expert actually believes that the two factors are related, because there are many dogs with sloping backs and extremely angulated rears that have super hips.

Yes, I’m aware that this is an age-old dog controversy.  But we have enough data from actual show dogs to show that this association between sloping backs and angulated rears and bad hips is not of a causal nature.

Hate ’em all you want.  But it’s not a health or welfare issue.

 

 

Natural History

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