Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CFLs could irritate dogs

World Net Daily reports:

Pet problems

Online, a number of consumers also complain that their pets react adversely to the new bulbs.

On the U.K. Yahoo! Answers forum, posters complained of dogs barking at the ceiling and growing agitated in rooms that use CFLs.

"When the 'low energy' lamp is on, the dogs are not very happy and will not go to the room by choice," wrote Stellar Meg. "Put the lamp back to a normal light bulb, or switch the low energy one off, the dogs are quite happy."

Florida resident Brian Hetzman told WND of similar problems with his dog.

"My wife and I put a new fluorescent bulb in our ceiling light, and our 10-year-old dog literally jumped up off the floor and starting screaming," Hetzman said. "She was moaning and growling and barking and looking up at the ceiling.

"I figured out what was happening and took the bulb out," he continued. "Then I put it back in a second later to test the theory. Again, she started making noises I've never heard her make and running around in a circle moaning and whimpering."

Popular CFLs use an electronic ballast to send a current through the gas within the bulb, which then excites the bulb's phosphor coating to produce light. The electronic ballast is supposed to be an improvement over the flickering, slow starting magnetic ballasts used in older fluorescent bulbs, but some believe the electronic technology also produces an ultrasonic noise that disturbs animals.

The University of London's David Pye wrote in Physics World Magazine in 2007 that a tunable ultrasound detector found the low energy bulbs emitting acoustic signals audible by dogs and especially cats, but WND was unable to find any other studies confirming Pye's results.

This bears watching. CFLs are beginning to get more negative press (and not just from those of us who were worried about the mercury content from the get-go) because, well, they suck.

Here’s my sad collection of bulbs that didn’t work,” Ms. Zuercher said the other day as she pulled a cardboard box containing defunct bulbs from her laundry shelf.

One of the 16 Feit Electric bulbs the Zuerchers bought at Costco did not work at all, they said, and three others died within hours. The bulbs were supposed to burn for 10,000 hours, meaning they should have lasted for years in normal use. “It’s irritating,” Ms. Zuercher said.

. . .

Some experts who study the issue blame the government for the quality problems, saying an intensive federal push to lower the price essentially backfired by encouraging manufacturers to use cheap components.

“In the pursuit of the holy grail, we stepped on the consumer,” said Michael Siminovitch, director of a lighting center at the University of California, Davis.

Well, DUH.


Feds v. Dogs

Guess who will win? There are LOTS of stories of dogs, cats, PETS being killed by the government, outside of the "humane society". No one else, in the dog world, seems to pay much attention to this. Perhaps they are all too busy being a servant to the President, to hold the government to the standard they would hold themselves.

So Ms. X will take her trusty truthlight, and illuminate the shadows.


Casual mention in a story about Maryland citizens suing over police brutality:

Five Maryland residents testified Tuesday that SWAT teams storming their homes handcuffed them, drew guns or even killed their dogs in two instances.

Last summer, police raided the home and killed the dogs of an innocent Berwyn Heights mayor after drug smugglers sent a package containing 32 pounds of marijuana to his residence. Police now say the smugglers hoped to have a courier pick up the package shortly after it was dropped outside Mayor Cheye Calvo's front door. Officers kicked down the door and shot Calvo's dogs during the raid, later clearing him and his family of all wrongdoing.

More on the Calvo fiasco from The Agitator.

Of course, the most famous one is still the BATF jackboots that stomped the kitten in 1994.

"Stomped the kitten", kind of has a ring to it. Sort of like a government version of 'Jumping the Shark'.

Where Peta-tics come from.

Many people look at the Peta-tics, and the other lunatics that grace our planet, and say to themselves, "where did they come from!" 100 years ago, of course, everyone was sane and used their Heads to think. Not their tails. Or so our rosy colored history of humanity tells us.

The threats to individual freedom we face today are all the fault of the flower children in the 60s; it's the fault of the government education camps, or taking the Ten Commandments out of our public life. Or so our rosy colored history of humanity tells us.

No. Our problems today rest squarely with our ancestors. Think about it. In the 1930's, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (or Obama-lite as we will know him in the future), instituted policies that should have set off a revolution.

But did your grandparents even send their Congresscritter a tea bag?

Yeah. That's why we're here.

Peta-tics have ancestors too, and much to modern mans' surprise, they may not all be rolling quite as fast in their grave as we would tend to think. In fact, a website has been set up to collect the thoughts and feelings of the ideological, if not actual, ancestors of our present lunatics.

Wolves v. Dogs

This time, the dog survived! Amazing...as is the story.

The owners say earlier Wednesday morning a pack of nine wolves mauled their dog.

When the husband realized what was happening, he bolted out the door and rescued their yellow lab from the jaws of the wolves.

The owner of the lab went on to say he feared a wolf that would attack his 90 pound dog would not hesitate to attack his 60 pound child.

Quote from the story: "Idaho Fish and Game says they've never had a report of wolves killing a human being."

That is a prime opportunity to read what is not said. In casual passing, you might go away with the impression that wolves have never killed a human. That, of course, would be a gross error. Wikipedia has an entry devoted to fatal wolf attacks, and of course the Carnegie case in Saskatchewan was not so far away, geographically or temporally.

Carefully reading what is not written, you see that what Idaho Fish and Game really said was that they, themselves, as an agency, (or possibly even more narrowly as that individual spokesperson) have never had a report of a human killed by wolves filed with their office.

The wolves, of course, were only re-introduced into Idaho in the mid 1990's.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

10 Smartest Dog Breeds? Since when?

According to the Yahoo home page today. Yahoo linked to Divine Caroline.

  1. Border Collie
  2. Poodle
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Golden Retriever
  5. Doberman Pinscher
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
  7. Labrador Retriever
  8. Papillon
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Australian Cattle Dog
Ms. X finds the whole concept suspicious. This site, Divine Caroline gives absolutely no information about the criteria used to identify these 'intelligent' breeds, and it suspiciously finds the smartest breed to be the Border Collie. The poster, PetMD, says they came up with the list.

We’ve gathered a wide sample of dog breeds, sharpened their No. 2 pencils (you know, no opposable thumbs), and asked them to fill out a simple intelligence questionnaire.

Okay, maybe not.

But PetMD did come up a list of the top ten smartest canine breeds in the world. See if your dog’s breed makes the grade.

Oh yeah?

Petrix.com has a comprehensive listing, but no source or date. It merely says "Based on a dog trainer's survey." It does reference Stanley Coren.

Stanley Coren's website has the list...

Excerpted from "The Intelligence of Dogs":

For example, over 200 professional dog obedience judges, ranked 110 dog breeds on the basis of their intelligence.

The Intelligence of Dogs is a book authored by Mr. Coren. It was copyright, get this, 1994.

Yahoo, picked it up for their front page just today.

Way to go, with the 15 year old news!

Back to the story. Mr. Corens' book is linked on Amazon, and you can read excerpts from it.

It looks like an interesting book, perhaps I'll have a chance to review it on the Gutendog Press one day. I should be able to get a used copy fairly cheap, seeing how old it is.

In the meantime, when this story "broke" about a year ago, FreeRepublic posters caught it and gave the list of top and bottom ten, complete with pictures.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ears' to Clicking

Ms. X is a fan of the clicker, and clicker training in general. It works very well for tasks and behavior manipulations where you want the dog to do something he doesn't to do, without a fight.

One of my babies needs an ear cleaning. I have the cleaning solution, I called the dog, and dropped some in. You would have thought I was trying to dress him up like Tinkerbell Hilton.

(image from fashionrising.com)

He threw all the nervous signs at me. He backed away, showed the half moon whites, whined, shook his head vigorously (yeah that's why we're doing this in the first place).

Fine. If you're going to be like that, doggy, we'll just have to . . . do it my way.

That means getting out the clicker, and, um, bribing/tricking/conditioning you to do this exactly the way I want to. (Caaattt fooooodd!) Of course, that I am saddled with an uncooperative mutt that doesn't like liquids squirted on him means I'm going to have to put some training effort out here.

Why is it always the uncooperative ones that get the owies? Why doesn't Miss Compliant-even-in-the-Face-of-Houndstooth-Ruffles get the ear infection?

All I wanted to do was put a little cleaning solution in his sensitive ear.

So, I did what any lazy dog owner does that doesn't want to endure a fight. I looked up the clicker training solution.

Yup. Karen Pryor has it right there on her website.

The directions say to lay out the steps of your plan in advance, and then train each one.

My plan is this:
  1. Say "ears", dog comes over, lays head in lap.
  2. Pick up cleaning solution bottle, squirt in ear.
  3. Massage ear.
  4. Wipe out excess.
  5. Say "all done!"
Each of those steps will probably be broken down further. Today we covered step one. The problem dog needs very little encouragement to lay his head in my lap, so today I motioned him over, said "ears" and click/treat. I rubbed his head, and his ears while I did this, click/treat regularly. And I got a little sneaky and put the solution bottle in my lap too.

No nervousness evidenced. Tomorrow we'll advance to putting some moisture in his ear, probably just a little water at first, and drying them out.

Hmmm. I might need some more cat food.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dogs are not Teddy Bears

Story from Veterinary Economics...

Dogs react badly to aggressive training
A new survey finds that some dogs may bite first and not learn later when it comes to confrontational training techniques.


If a dog acts up, it’s time to show it who’s boss. Or maybe not. A new client survey from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that many confrontational training methods elicit aggressive responses from dogs, not obedience.

Clients who brought dogs to the school for behavioral training filled out a 30-item survey that asked whether their previous training methods resulted in positive, neutral, or negative reactions from the dogs. Roughly 25 percent said their dogs reacted badly to confrontational methods, including:

> hitting or kicking the dog
> growling at the dog
> physically forcing the release of an item from the dog’s mouth
> staring at—or staring down—the dog
> rolling the dog onto its back and holding it (presumably to show the
dog you’re the alpha animal)
> forcing the dog onto its side
> or grabbing the dog by the jowls and shaking it.

Most owners reported they learned their methods on their own or from dog trainers. In addition, dogs brought to the hospital for aggressive behavior towards familiar people were more likely to respond aggressively to some confrontational techniques than dogs brought in for other behavioral reasons.

“This study highlights the risk of dominance-based training, which has been made popular by TV, books, and punishment-based training advocates,” says Dr. Meghan Herron. “These techniques elicit fear and may lead to owner-directed aggression.”

The study was published in the February 2009 issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science.

Got to love a good ground-breaking study that concludes some dogs don't like humans showing dominant behaviors toward them.


That's exactly why we (humans in general) have developed management/leadership techniques like NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) and Rapport Skills, and (despite the articles inference) Cesar Milan.

The idea behind programs like these is to firmly establish with your dog, that you, the human are the pack leader, and he is not in a position to object to any display of "dominance". If the dog accepts his place in the pack, he is not likely to object.

AND, most importantly, these programs are designed to communicate leadership to your dog in a non-confrontational manner.

Note: Ms. X uses the terms "dominate" and "leader" almost interchangeably, as she believes they are widely used in the common vernacular. Some people make distinctions, and Mr. Rafe gives a clear view of the perceived distinction here.

Family Dog Kills Infant

It is a morbid headline, but these stories crop up all to often. It's funny in a way, I have never heard anyone call for a ban on families owning dogs if they have children under one year of age.

That's not as outlandish a suggestion as you might think, if you stop to consider that the very young babes are the ones most likely to die as the result of a dog attack, and they are attacked pretty regularly. Calls for breed bans have been based on much less compelling evidence.


Of course not. No reasonable person could support an arbitrary tyrannical proposition.

I want to post these stories, to raise awareness among the general viewers. Don't leave the dog alone with the babies.

Family dog kills 2-week-old Mesa infant

Detective Steve Berry, Mesa police spokesman, said the girl was lying in a bassinet that was elevated and attached to a portable crib when the dog, a chow, began biting her about 7 p.m.

The mother had stepped away from the child to use the restroom and when she returned the dog was still biting, Berry said.

She frantically called 911 and the first police officers on scene saw "obvious bite wounds to the head."

The baby was unresponsive when paramedics arrived, Berry said.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dog versus Bear

Winner: Rifle

(image from PPCLI)

A Polar Bear went after a dog, part Beagle, part "something else", in Newfoundland, and was finally driven off when the dog's owner shot it.

The shovel the owner wielded at first had no effect.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vaccine Dangers

Vaccines are a controversial topic in humans, as well as animals. However, the animal medical profession looks a lot closer at the effectivity and potential danger of vaccines than the human medical profession. The reasons are easy to deduce. For one thing our pets traditionally have been vaccinated MUCH MUCH more than our children. Yearly boosters for everything? That provides a lot more anecdotal fodder that cries for attention.

Our children are catching up to our pets though, so it is even more important that we look very closely at the risk/benefit ratio of vaccines.

Alex Jones' PrisonPlanet site pushed awareness with this article recently:

"Why Do 160,000 Cats Each Year in the USA Develop Terminal Cancer at Their Vaccine Injection Sites"

The author sourced work by Catharine Driscoll, "Science of Vaccine Damage".

A team at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine conducted several studies (1,2) to determine if vaccines can cause changes in the immune system of dogs that might lead to life-threatening immune-mediated diseases. They obviously conducted this research because concern already existed. It was sponsored by the Haywood Foundation which itself was looking for evidence that such changes in the human immune system might also be vaccine induced. It found the evidence.

The vaccinated, but not the non-vaccinated, dogs in the Purdue studies developed autoantibodies to many of their own biochemicals, including fibronectin, laminin, DNA, albumin, cytochrome C, cardiolipin and collagen.

William La Rosa of the Hayward Foundation writes:

Autoimmune diseases in dogs are clinically similar to those in humans. We hope that Veterinary and Medical Schools will continue and expand these preliminary research studies. Our companion dogs are crashing all around us and maybe we are now finding one of the sources of the problems. It has been so easy to point fingers at breeders but they may not be entirely at fault. Let us continue this important researcher to help our future generations of dogs and possibly children. Yes, indiscriminate breeding can genetically predispose the dog but is the trigger mechanism indiscriminate vaccination.

I have no problem wagging the finger at breeders for health concerns, not just because of barbie inbreeding, but for general husbandry practices. Weaning carnivore pups onto rice cereal and pedialyte is supposed to result in optimal adult health? Many breeders adopt their husbandry practices from older breeders, never stopping to think about why they do what they do. A little critical reasoning capability would go a long way.

UC Davis website gives a good breakdown of vaccines for dogs (and cats) into those considered "Core" and those that are not. Core vaccines are those that cover diseases with a high mortality rate, and are generally proven to be effective. Most pet owners will opt for those at a minimum, on a minimal schedule.

Thankfully we pet owners can still make our own decisions about vaccinations. We have information available about each vaccine, its' effectiveness and the risk of the disease it covers.

Our children are another matter. As parents, we are all too often pushed by healthcare workers afraid of lawsuits and pharmaceutical manufacturers who think they can scare us into giving them money, to vaccinate and vaccinate and vaccinate without any real consideration of the risk/benefit cost.

I only hope our advances in pet vaccine knowledge will transfer to our children, and that our children vaccine hype and paranoia will not be transferred to our "companion animals".

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Disrespectful Yap

(image from http://www.famouschihuahua.com/)

Barking dogs can be really annoying. Penned up, non-stop alienate an entire neighborhood annoying.

But Offensive?

Overlawyered.com reports

Lawyer Paulette Taylor says she has complained to neighbor Theodore Henderson and to the management of their Central Park West building that his two Chihuahuas “bark in a manner that is offensive, constant, continuous and incessant.”

Offensive? Well, if it nets $500,000, I guess I could be offended.