The Perfect Dog

Napoleon, helping Aspen learn a solid 'place' command with distractions

Napoleon, helping Aspen learn a solid ‘place’ command with distractions

It has been a while since I have given an update on my boy, Napoleon. So, I’m posting one now. The last time I wrote about him, we had a successful off-leash excursion. We still struggled a bit with some kids on skateboards, and sometimes (rarely) some whining in the crate.

Those 2 items have been addressed and handled. He is now off leash 90% of the time, and I don’t bring him on a leash when I go to clients’ houses either. When I take him on walks, I have complete control over him without a leash, or any equipment.

We have worked hard on his obedience and recalls, and I now I have 95% confidence that if he was adrenalized and I didn’t catch his energy levels in time, that he would still come back. He just recently passed his CGC test and is now a Canine Good Citizen of the world! Yay, Napoleon!

Now, our one last issue that I had to pick and choose my battles was feeding time. He would get so excited he would jump up and down repeatedly, shake, run into walls, and run you down to get his food at dinner time.  This has been a challenge since we adopted him 2 years ago. Now, he will sit, whine and shake until you walk towards the back door to open it up to put his food down. Since we feed raw, I always feed outside.

I can’t wait for him to be calm every single time (it was taking upwards of 4 hours for a calm dog, and even then, I didn’t achieve the level of calm I wanted), so this has been a challenge. We have tried switching up the feeding time, we have tried a place mat, where he cannot move off of the mat at all – tail included. That Is what I wanted him to focus on instead of feeding. He can do that no problem, but the shaking and whining is still a problem.

So, I have separated preparing the food in the morning, and feeding at night. So, they are 2 events, and that has seemed to help with the adrenaline at dinner time. I choose to wait to feed until he is calm at nighttime, then walk upstairs (no words) and get his food out of the freezer). He comes upstairs and follows me calmly and I open the backdoor to let him outside, again – calmly. Then, I come back in, get his food, go outside and put it on the ground. He gets excited, but sits automatically (no words, again), and I walk away.

This has REALLY helped and was our last hurdle to become my ‘perfect’ dog. There really is no such thing, but I’m bias, and I love my dog, and he has worked very hard for that title. He deserves it.

What an improvement, huh? He can walk himself on the treadmill now, I just have to turn it on for him and turn it off when he’s done. He ignores cats, dogs, and other people when we are on our off-leash walk. This also includes skateboards.

Such great progress, and I’m so happy for him. He has worked hard and gets a beef heart for dinner tonight. Yum!

image

Napoleon, resting after a long day.

What is In Dog Food?

dogfoodIn the wild, do dogs dig up dog food from the ground? Do they eat little bits of kibble that fall off trees? What about ‘kibble plants’? No, they don’t. They eat meat. They eat organs. And they eat bones. Raw animal protein, sinew, and muscle. So, why does dog food include things like grain, vegetables, and chicken beaks?

Because the commercial dog food industry is cheap… and deceiving   They can get away with it, and put the minimal amounts of protein to satisfy the FDA. Most dog foods are NOT USDAA approved. They don’t need to be. What does this mean, you ask? Well, that means our animals are eating CRAP sold by the pet stores, by the top dog food companies. I.e. Science Diet, IAMS, Eukanuba, Purina, etc. They put these attractive pictures on the bag and say ‘nutritionally balanced’… which they are not. They put vegetables, wheat, and pictures of cut meat on the bag to make them look ‘balanced’ and ‘healthy’. It’s a lie.

Ingredients

Ingredients in a standard bag of dog food.

They have grain, and they all have something in their ingredients called ‘meal’ or ‘byproduct’. What is that? ‘Chicken byproduct’. I’ll tell you what this is. It’s beaks, chicken feet, eyes, diseased dead chickens. The chickens found in factory farms who have been dead for months. Cows who have had mad cow disease. It gets worse: Your pets, who you have euthanized trustingly at your vet clinic are put into dog food. Roadkill found on the side of the road – dogs, deer, birds, skunks, anything they can find.  That’s the main ingredient in most commercial dog foods.

What about the grain, the fillers? Sawdust and trash that has been swept up from the ground is put into dog food. Grain – dogs can’t process this, and it just stays on their teeth, causing tooth decay, gingivitis, tarter and plaque… gum cancer, and tooth extractions. Internally, it’s a filler, it just sits in the stomach and then passes through. Dogs get zero nutrition from that part of the food. It causes obesity, over-eating, allergies, death, skin and coat conditions, ear infections, eye problems, excess waste (poop), and causes behavioral concerns.

There are good kibbles out there… you just have to know what to look for. I recommend Nature’s Domain (from Costco – a Kirkland brand), Taste of the Wild, Stella and Chewy’s, Merrick’s, Blue Buffalo, Grandma Lucy’s dog food, Wellness Core (Grain free), Acana, or EVO. There are many others, but I highly recommend Nature’s Domain, Grandma Lucy’s, and Taste of the Wild. I have also used Stella and Chewy’s in the past, but it’s not the cheapest food out there.

Pedigree

Deceiving packaging

Why does your veterinarian recommend Science Diet, IAMS or other foods? One word: COMMISSION. They get commission off of selling certain foods. Many veterinarians do not study nutrition. They study medicine. If your dog gets hurt, yes you should see a veterinarian. However, if you want what is best for your dog nutritionally, you should speak to a more holistic vet, or do your own research on what ingredients are good/bad for your dog. Since I am interested in training, and food changes behavior, I have learned about nutrition and what is the best possible thing to do for your animals.  I have found a more holistic vet, whom I trust fully with the health of my animals, and he agrees with how I am raising them. Find a vet who you trust, who you can ask questions about nutrition, and who aren’t in it for the money.

Treats

freeze-driedWhat about treats? I don’t give my dog any treats (more because he’s really food motivated, and I am trying to teach him to calm down.). Most treats in the pet store have grain, meat meal/byproduct, or excess sugar. I like to use freeze-dried meat as training treats, or just as a special treat whenever (again, not with my dog, specifically). You can buy freeze-dried treats at the pet store, usually in a tub. I also use cooked hot dogs (never raw, dogs can get bacteria listeria from raw hot dogs), bits of chicken, bits of apple or cheese (careful with this one, can cause diarrhea). Some dogs even go for ice cubes (mine does).

Raw feeding

I have begun feeding raw with my 8 year old dog (around 7 months ago) and I see a tremendous change in his behavior, in his health, and in his mouth.
-No more bad breath. NONE, his breath is nice and ‘puppy like’.
-Coat is shinier, skin isn’t flaky anymore.
-Ear infections – he’s prone to them, he’s a lab. His ears are cleaner, but still gets them.
-Eyes are clearer
-Nails don’t break or split as easily.
-More energy (sometimes this is a bad thing).
-Weight – easier to maintain a healthy weight
-Cost is about the same as what I was paying before, but with less vet visits. This is a plus.
-Teeth are nice and white, clean and no tarter build up at all. I no longer get dental cleanings (his last one was over a year ago, and we won’t be getting them anymore).
-He eats less raw food than he ever ate kibble (and if your dog/cat is on a higher quality kibble or raw, they will eat less too)
-Less poop. You would think I have a little dog, not a 90lb big pooper! haha.

So, what do I feed him? Raw meat, organs, supplements, and bones. On any given day, this is his diet.

-1 raw egg. Shell and all.  (great for coat, skin, and digestive system)
-4 salmon oil liquid gels. (for skin, coat, ear/eye health)
-3 tables of Canine Plus vitamin and mineral supplements (enzyme supplement, and completes the nutrition when I don’t have organs)
-1 lb of raw meat I get from the butcher (usually it’s venison and beef. Sometimes I also supplement with raw chicken if I can find some on sale. I’ll prepare the chicken and give him parts of it. Wings, Ribs, etc)
-When I have some (hard to find) organs. He LOVES hearts, lungs, and kidneys. He won’t eat liver.
-When I have some (around Thanksgiving/Christmas), necks from turkeys/chickens.

He also gets a marrow bone weekly. He takes about a week to get it to the point where it needs to be thrown away.  NO TREATS or Rawhides(unless we get some as a gift, which is occasional, but it takes months to go through them).

Bones? Haven’t you heard somewhere you aren’t supposed to give dogs bones? Well, you can, and they should have them! Don’t cook the bones though – they will splinter and can cause choking or internal damage. I give marrow bones as a treat, chew toy. He has one outside all the time, and in his kennel. Marrow bones are disgusting, so he only gets them outside or in a confined space.

Napoleon eating a Raw Marrow bone

Napoleon eating a raw bone with meat on it

There are lots of great places to find out more about raw feeding if you are interested. Here are some sources I scoured before actually making the switch.

Raw Fed Dogs
B.A.R.F. Diet
Whole Dog Journal
The Whole Dog
(This book)
(This book)
(This book)
And many other sources, you can do your own research, but also talk to trainers in your area about feeding raw.

Next time… The Danger of Vaccinations!