Archive for May, 2013

Why Don’t They Train the Dog?

May 31, 2013

I’ve written about spoiled dogs, using a piece of equipment—the  prong collar–expecting the collar to do the work of  training  the dog, but I see this happening more  and more—the out of control dog.  Especially the tiny toy size dogs. Not cute.

I currently have a dog I am working with. He’s adorable, and I know he has had people work with him. He knows most commands.  He was just unreliable and easily distracted.  Most distressing, if he sees a squirrel, or another dog, he just  gets crazy.  He becomes focused on the dog, or the squirrel, and forgets where he is, that he is even with me.  I have to settle him down.

He is improving with behavior shaping. All I know is that for the safety of both of us, I have to continue to work with him.  there is no question, he has to learn self control, and he has to learn his role in our family.

I have a friend who is dating a woman who has an out-of-control little dog.  She  adopted the dog from a shelter or rescue, and has  quickly spoiled the dog.  The dog does not know who is in charge, and, from the behavior my friend has  described, the  dog is stressed out trying to be in control of the social situation he is in.  He barks, he bites, and  he is not able to tell his human how stressed out he is.  She   walks him in a cute  harness rather than a collar, and  does not want to learn how to communicate with this poor dog.

It is causing stress with my friend, as  he is a social unit with the two.  She is in denial that there is a problem.

I see this  kind of situation more frequently than I see calm, trained dogs.  My regular grooming clients have all trained their dogs. That is, they all have them under control, the dogs and owners understand each other, and everything is fine.  However, among my irregular grooming clients, things are not so good.  I see many stressed dogs not just because their owners haven’t  put forth the effort to understand their dogs. Every other pet professional they encounter—at pet shops, and dog day care, panders to these dogs owners and allow them to make excuses for not learning to communicate with their dogs.  Heck—these ‘professionals ‘ make excuses for why they, themselves, have not bothered to learn to communicate with the dogs.  This helps nobody.

It makes me seem  intolerant and out of touch, and the acceptance of what amounts to  dog abuse as normal.  It is abusive to not learn to communicate with your dog, and it is abusive to  use a prong collar on a dog  you have no intention of training.  It is also stupid and unsafe to put an uncontrollable dog into a harness , with a  Flexi, and  let the dog  be out of control.

I am not sure what the  solution to this is, but if the dog is not your dog, but you know the dog owner, you are within your rights to ask the owner when they are going to start training the dog so  the dog stops acting stressed out. Maybe that will do it.

Busy week doing consulting..on dog grooming!

May 24, 2013

Nella Poodle 002 (Small)Yes—consulting on dog grooming.  This time of year in Chicago ( meaning from  about Easter until just after  July 4) is very busy for dog grooming, and  everyone is trying to add staff.  If you’ve read my past blog posts on looking for a job in the industry, you know that  most  of the shop owners  don’t  ‘do the numbers’.

I am now in a different position than I’ve  been in before.  I can work part-time and pick & choose  where I work.  I   now work part-time for a very experienced groomer  several days a week, and that gives me a base, and I’ve been all over the north side of Chicago in the past few weeks.

I had been interested in providing job shadowing, and have signed on with http://www.PivotPlanet.com .  We will see how it goes.   I am also networking with others to provide  services.  I am absolutely shocked at how many people want to enter this industry, and think that if they just open a business, it will come.  I had to tell one of the people I contract with that , in the past, I had over  40 once a week clients with very long-haired dogs. As those dogs  expired, those owners didn’t replace those long haired dogs with other high maintenance  breeds. They now have  Bostons & Frenchies   You can  bathe one of those in your laundry tub.  The business owner I  was talking to didn’t have a clue. She really doesn’t know that some breeds are more popular than others.  Worse, she  feels that since she  has a  college degree, she is too good to do  physical labor. Even worse,  her  social media is non-existent.  I think she is going to lose her business.  Half  a million dollars  just  disintegrated because she really didn’t know  what she was doing, she blames it on more competition.  It’s part of the problem, but not all of it.

Over the years, several people have told me they have wanted to open grooming businesses in certain locations because they’ve seen a lot of people  with dogs.  To me, that is not a business plan. it’s like saying you see a lot of fat people , so  you want to  open a bakery.  people have just enough capital to get themselves into real trouble.  I feel it is a matter of integrity to warn  people who have a fantasy notion of being in a pet industry  service business that  they have to cost it out, step by step, and not think  that all these people they see walking their dogs  even have their dogs groomed, or  are unhappy with  the people grooming them.  Dog daycare may be an option, and in some locations, possibly retail, but  they have to be prepared to lose a lot of cash before they make any, and marketing  will be a constant activity.  But more; these  businesses are generally too marginal to support  an owner who does not ad value.   if you  don’t have experience training dogs, or working with animal shelters, or  showing dogs, you really can’t  advise people who have pets what is  best for their dog.  when you are in business,  pet owners tend to see you as an expert.  It’s a matter of integrity to not tell people  the wrong thing.  If you really love dogs, that is.

Fewer hobby breeders are breeding dogs. They just can’t handle the expense. That leaves the puppy mills.  All the designer dogs : the Morkies, Shipoos, Doodles, Chiweenies—come from irresponsible people breeding dogs as livestock, as do most Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs.  I won’t even go into  where pit Bulls come from.  Most of these dogs have e painful, life  shortening genetic defects.  Most dog groomers are now trained  by grooming schools, who  are not concerned with styling, but teaching people to not injure dogs.The independent dog groomers are going to go the way of the video store.  Maybe not next year, but soon.

 

Yorkies, Maltese, Shih Tzu, and Morkies…toy breed dogs

May 16, 2013
This is a Maltese I groomed in a puppy trim. They do not  grow like this naturally. they need haircuts.

This is a Maltese I groomed in a puppy trim. They do not grow like this naturally. they need haircuts.

I really love the toy breed dogs…the little purse dogs.  Old lady dogs.  Thing is, they are easy to spoil, and easy to injure. Because I have always had Sighthounds, and Whippets tend to be roughnecks,  I don’t have  a toy breed dog.  However, I love to groom them.  Most have a lot of personality.  They are perfect for  small living quarters, but very  affectionate and usually very smart and easy to train.  These are not dogs for toddler or young children.  You drop them,you break their legs. many just  fall (or jump off) off furniture and break legs.  the idea that people would get  such a fragile little being for a young child really annoys me.
These dog will get snippy if they fear being hurt.  Otherwise, they are  delightful companions.

Toy breed dogs  are generally not genetically healthy.  They have been ‘bred down’ from larger dogs, and  often, soundness has been compromised.  It’s only the last  20  years or so that the ethical hobby breeders have been having  their breeding dogs  OFA (patellas) & CERF (eyes) certified, but  so often, the stud owners still breed to untested bitches.  In fact, most of the genetic defects we see are now in the  ‘pet bred’ dogs. These are people who don’t consider themselves breeders, yet they signed the AKC (CKC, UKC) papers as the owner of the dam..the mother dog…as the breeder.  Is it because they don’t have a separate building to house their dogs?  Or only have 1 or 2 bitches?  Or are their veterinarians pandering to their naiveté?  No matter. These people are breeders, and it is not inbreeding that is threatening the genetic vitality of these dogs, but the  naive pet owners breeding their pets without a thought to  genetic soundness that is destroying  these breeds.

There are a few breeders in the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America and the American Maltese Association that DO have major breeding businesses, with  30 (or more) breedable dogs, but most of the club members have feweer than 5  breedable bitches, and they do all the genetic testing.  This is why a well bred toy dog is so expensive:  they generally have litters of 5 pups or fewer, and after paying for the genetic tests, possibly selling as a spayed pet the  dog with juvenile cataracts,  luxated patellas, or liver shunt, probably a C section, each individual pup  probably has a debt of over $500 on their heads. Add in showing the parent dogs (so your peers can  judge the quality of the dogs you plan to breed) , no wonder the pet dogs are now  over $2500.  However, that doesn’t ensure a good home.  While I know, from volunteering with them, that most of the  Maltese and Yorkies in rescue do NOT come from hobby breeders, but backyard breeders and puppy mills….this is how the puppy mills got their original breeding dogs:   the ethical breeders sold dogs as pets, not to be bred, but  either didn’t make it clear, didn’t with hold registration until proof of spay/neuter, or  didn’t follow up.  Owners  lost job, got job, had an allergic kid, got divorced, moved…or just got bored with the dog… & RESOLD THE BREEDABLE DOG, and that’s how all the puppy mills start.  They don’t go to hobby breeders necessarily…or maybe they do, and start out with good intentions, but see there is a market for the puppies, so they breed a litter, keep all the bitches, and just assume that anyone who pays $2500 for a dog will take care of it.  Or, face it:  they are breeding dogs as livestock & just don’t care.  Well, the rescues always have plenty of  purebred dogs needing homes.

A  puppy buyer  (grooming client)asked me recently if he should get pet health insurance.  I had felt the pup’s patellas and they felt ok, so I advised not, but  generally, I’d have to say that if you didn’t meet the breeder of your dog, and  she didn’t tell you  she was breeding for the betterment of the breed, I’d have to say: BUY PET HEALTH INSURANCE.  In fact, I’d have to say that, before  buying a toy breed dog, call several animal hospitals and ask what they charge to fix a luxated patella or liver shunt, and ask how often the animal hospital  does this in the  toy breeds.

I tip my hat to the many pet owners who manage to keep a toy dog in ‘specials’ coat, as they are quite magnificent…but face it…all these dogs are walking dust mops. IF you can bathe a dog once a week and  put up the topknot at least every other day, you will have a real piece of walking art in one of these dogs….but if you can’t, do a ‘puppy’ trim.

I just have to say something about Morkies…as I find people looking for them.  Stupid, stupid people who believe the marketing, and I blame the  veterinarians as well. The ‘Morkie’ is a Maltese–Yorkies cross.  If you breed one dog with luxated patllas & liver shunt to another with the same genetic defects, your pups will be afflicted. Being of different breeds does not cancel this out.  This.  the only people breeding designer ‘hybrid’s as they are called, are people breeding dogs like livestock…not animal lovers. Not dog lovers. people who want to make money off dogs.

Those Middle Class Values

May 9, 2013

Middle class values: the idea that you are sure anyone decent believes the same way you do, and that OUR LEADERS  have the perfect fix to solve a problem.  The idea that all people are honest, practice the golden rule, and  don’t act irresponsibly.  That people  obey the law because it IS the law.

Registering gun owners.…to solve  shootings of innocent people.  The fact of the matter is…people who enjoy guns have justified in their minds that it is ok to kill something.  Many might never actually kill anything. They might just do target practice,  but  no matter.  Registering  people will not solve the problem. Why?  Several reasons.  Many people  who kill are already registered gun owners.  The ones who are not don’t plan to register.  Registering won’t stop them. The government is broke, and they are not going to  peruse the  sales records of  legal gun sellers, &  there are many more illegal street sales of guns, and that’s the bigger problem.  Mental health issues? Who is going to test people to make sure they are sane/sober/calm/INTELLIGENT/have self control….before they are allowed to buy a gun?  Psychologists?   You are going to trust the foxes running the henhouse who are justifying their jobs, many manipulative psychopaths themselves, to judge who is sane and who is not?  & what does that solve if the  insane can buy a gun on the street?

A  better  idea:  registering ammunition buyers only.  Taxing it extremely heavily.   Even that won’t solve the problem! But….. if ammunition is much more expensive,  and not legal to buy if you are under 30…and there  is a limit to how much you can buy, and only if the sales are very tightly regulated (like morphine), will there  be  even a dent in the problem.  Not possible? I think it depends on  your  location  and overlay of  government transparency.

Keeping drugs illegal.  We now incarcerate more people than any other country in the world.  It is an acknowledged fact that  many  people who are imprisoned  either have mental health issues and/or are functionally illiterate. They can’t make their way in middle class society.  Many of those people choose  mind altering drugs to cope with life.  There, ‘for the grace of God’,  go all of us. Yes…any one of us who has  ingested coffee, tea, chocolate, cough medicine,  beer, wine…all mind altering substances. We’ve created a class to make the ones we artificially describe as more dangerous…. illegal.

Nobody thinks being high all the time is a good idea, but jail clearly does not solve the problem.  It makes work for  law enforcement,  lawyers, and prison guards, and makes  work for  the foxes running the henhouse:  the psychologist who are drug counselors.

A better idea:  legalize drugs and  the infrastructure  to sell and regulate the  industry.  Put the cash we now put into  arresting these people trying  these people in court for a medical problem,  into counseling and education, as well as job creation.  People who work on farms  become so exhausted from the physical labor, they  just sleep at night.  Doncha think most of the families of these people would  support getting them  into a work environment?  In fact,  paying the addled to  enter programs overseas, where  there might be a language barrier might be very effective!  Plus, there are private drug treatment programs that operate this way now…in the USA…

Mandatory Spay/Neuter of pet animals.  Sounds great, but  most RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERS already know the benefits of spaying or neutering their pets.  However,  the middle class has declined and the ‘working’ class is desperate for cash to support…guns and drug habits….or maybe their kids.  They don’t do any research…or rather…the ‘research’ they do amounts to seeing pets for sale on Craigslist & seeing what people are charging for the  puppies and kittens.  Doesn’t mean they get sold, but no matter.  When people can’t sell them, they give them away or dump them…even abandon them.  Heart breaking how many people move and  abandon a pet without food or water, to starve to death.  It’s illegal, but, again…the government is broke:  we can’t get  police to bring cases to states attorneys to prosecute.

For people involved in pet rescue who think mandatory spay/neuter will make a difference… this hope is based on no evidence. Only ethical hobby breeders, who breed  maybe 1 or 2 litters a year and always have a waiting list for puppies will be affected.  They are now, and there is a shortage or purebred pups available from hobby breeders. But the large breeding operations—the puppy mills…their scale is large enough!  They can pay for licensing.   But  there is statistical evidence that  most of the  pets in shelters are from neither of these sources:  they are from the ‘backyard’ breeder—the family breeding a single (or 3 or 4) pets who are under the radar.  They give their own shots (or not), don’t check for parasites, sell  on Craigslist  and other free websites, and they do no screening.  they never see a veterinarian, so you can’t rely on  veterinaqr8ians to turn them in to the government.

Were we to deputize volunteers as inspectors for licensed animal shelters  to respond to the posts, visit them,  talk to the breeders (that’s what they are) about the odds of  over half their pups winding up euthanized, and  keeping the contact information on them  and  the  facility (house? Garage?  outbuilding?)  as to cleanliness, or how often they post pets for sale, and  monitor them, we’d make a huge dent in the problem.  Penalties  could be levied and our state departments of agriculture   could either confiscate the litters, or  fine the breeders.    The breeders then know the  community is watching and might give pause to  breeding another litter for money…or at least pay the state for the privilege of not being responsible for the pets they produce, and enabling the Department of Agriculture  pay for itself.

Freakenomics  subtitled “a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, (William Morrow/Harper Collins 2005) addresses , in six essays how  we Americans generally trust wrong research, and end up not solving social problems.

I’d love  to hear opinions on these ideas, and please forward the link yo your friends.

Fixing the Deficit …& Sequesture

May 2, 2013

In the  Sunday Chicago Tribune    on page 28 of the first section, there  was a ‘story’ with the headline, “Feds Shell out $890,.000 in Fees for Empty Accounts at Banks.”  Seems that when the  government issues grants to researchers, they don’t just issue a  a check:  they set up an account, so the government agency giving the grant can monitor how the money is withdrawn and spent…and then they apparently forget about the accounts after the grant period is over…and the banks charge exorbitant fees  to keep the account active.  You would think this would be illegal—but it isn’t.  Our tax dollars at work.

I know, it has to do with computers.  I had a Charles Shwab account that I closed at about the time they issues a  $.07 interest payment.  They have spent more money  sending me statements, but they  have too many people involved  in doing this, so they can’t just delete the account.  At least I recycle the paper.

Now, if you are like me, you probably wonder  what the government is doing issuing grants to citizens. That’s right. Sure,  virtually all are working for nonprofit institutions that have endowments.  The short answer is they are very good lobbyists, and nobody is paying attention to line items in the budgets.  This is why we can’t close the deficit.

The Head Start program was acknowledged to be very effective in getting low income kids ready for school. That got cut, but a bunch of  congressmen  had to wait a few hours for flights, and they managed to put money back into the budget for air traffic controllers—which should have never gotten cut in the first place.  Meanwhile, how effective are all those screeners  at the airports?  The military said it could do without some hardware, but specific congressmen  whined about  jobs being cut in their districts, so they got money back.   for stuff nobody needs! Obama cut  White House  tours for  tourists …and here’s the money— close to $1,000,000…keeping empty accounts open!

In fairness…this has been going on for decades, and you’d think, with all the  people they have on their payrolls,  Just 1 congress man would have a staffer fine combing the budget & saying, “Get rid of this. ”  (my favorite 2 would be the CIA and USAID). The CIA did a great job stopping the Boston bombers after Russia told them to keep an eye on them.

Our congressmen are  not celebrities, they ar elected officials. We pay their salaries. They get excellent benefits (as do their  staffers), including health insurance you can only dream about.

You might want to  copy this blog and email  it to your congressman & senators.  You can easily find out who they are.  Just google “state senators (your state) and  for your  local representative, you can call your local library  or village hall.  Then bookmark their websites.  Granted… at this point, yu can only vote against them…but i am looking forward to the day when we can post  yelp! reviews of their voting records!