- Stressed or “Disobedient” — Can You Tell The Difference? (Dr. Jen’s Dog Blog)
- Why? (Denise Fenzi)
- What happens if? (Denise Fenzi)
- The “Quick Fix”?: Neutering As a Treatment for Aggression (Dr. Jen’s Dog Blog)
- Where have all the show dogs gone? (Gordon Setter Expert)
- When Stress Travels Down the Leash (Becoming an Anthrozoologist)
- Actual I Can Get My Dogs’ Attention (eileenanddogs)
Category Archives: Other Stuff
- The Hidden Dogs of Dog Cloning (Scientific American)
- It’s REALLY Your Choice: Why I Stopped Training Default Impulse Control (Cognitive Canine)
- My Dogs Do Know Sit! A Hint for Training Sit Stay (eileenanddogs)
- Help for “Reactive” Dogs (Dr. Patricia McConnell)
- Does One Size Ever Fit All? (Cognitive Canine)
- Robot Dogs May Be Creepy, but Real Dogs Don’t Fear Technology (Scientific American)
- Any New Research on Alternative/Adjunctive/Wackadoo Medicine? (Dr. Patricia McConnell)
- Puppy Socialization Practices — And How They Are Lacking (Companion Animal Psychology)
- Do dogs just want to have fun? (Do you believe in dog?)
- Presentation on Placebos in Animals (SkeptVet)
- Presentation on Choosing Diagnostic Tests (SkeptVet)
- Presentation on Surgical Neutering Techniques (SkeptVet)
Last year, seemingly out of the blue, Wally developed seborrhea. He never had the really nasty looking stuff but he did have the build-up of flakey material, cysts, and an oily coat. The thing is, though, that seborrhea is typically a secondary illness that develops due to some underlying primary illness, which can include food allergies. We had Wally tested for food allergies via Nutriscan and found out that he should be avoiding many common foods: turkey, pork, white fish, rice, wheat, corn, venison, rabbit, quinoa, potatoes, and barley. Although he was eating grain-free commercial foods many of them still contained one or more of these ingredients.
From my own experience I know that most medical professionals seriously downplay the impacts of food allergies and instead recommend environmental or pharmaceutical management. The specialist I saw prescribed me steroid inhalers and told me to get rid of my cat. Instead I stopped eating the foods I’m allergic to and I’ve been able to control my asthma, drug-free and with a cat, for five years! After trying the more conventional medical approach for Wally (medicated shampoo), mostly avoiding allergens, and occasionally cooking his food, he was improved but still not great. He no longer needed multiple baths a week but he still had numerous sebaceous cysts and chewed on his feet incessantly. It was time for a different approach!
At the recommendation of our vet we went to Dr. Watson at Big Valley Vet, an integrative vet who combines conventional medicine with alternative medicine. She recommended feeding 50% commercial grain-free food and 50% home cooked grain-free food (100% would be ideal but this was a good start). Wally also started TCM anti-inflammatory pills and continued getting salmon oil, probiotics, and a joint supplement. He received laser therapy for his spine, too, which may have helped clear up the skin on his back. Now it’s a month later and his coat is gorgeous, he’s far less itchy, he seldom chews his feet, he no longer has cysts, and we’ve only had to give him one or two medicated baths. Success!
Lately it seems that some of my favorite bloggers are thinking along the same lines, and it’s something I’ve struggled with for years: you might be right (or at least think you are) but you can’t change people through sheer force of will. Over the lifespan we tend to move from absolutist thinking (there’s only one right answer regardless of context) to relativism (there’s no universal truth, rather each point of view has it’s own truth). With the strong moral and ethical values often tied to the treatment and care of animals I think people often get stuck in absolutist thinking; I know I do! The problem is that, even if you’re absolutely right, nobody wants to be bludgeoned with knowledge. Additionally, nobody wants to be told they’re not just doing it wrong but they’re also morally or ethically wrong (“Not only are you saying I’m stupid, you’re also questioning my character!”).
When we “serious” dog people are trying to get others to align with our beliefs (i.e. positive reinforcement training, grain-free food, minimal or no vaccines, etc.) we’re essentially asking the other person to conform with our norms, and this happens in one of two ways. First, normative influence. In this case the person fears social rejection so they conform; this is the approach many of us take when we try to convince others to our way of thinking. Most of the time this leads to public conformity, that is, this person might seem to agree with you but their personal beliefs and thinking hasn’t changed.
The second path to conformity is informational influence and it’s much more likely to lead to private conformity, which occurs when the person changes their own way of thinking to align with yours. Basically people become convinced by available information that your norm is something they want to adopt. This is what we want! Unfortunately this is also what we think we’re doing when we “educate” people.
What’s the solution? I can only speak for myself, but before I adopt a new practice/belief I want to learn about it, see it, and experience it. That means I’m going to seek out reasonable, unbiased information that describes both the benefits and the drawbacks. I’m also going to seek out the experiences of other to learn about their experiences. Finally, I might try it out for myself to see if I really agree with it before I fully adopt it. All of this requires excellent models, people who are willing to share all aspects of their knowledge and experience without trying to sell me on it.
- The Weed People (Denise Fenzi)
- If My Criticism of Someone’s Comment on Facebook is Punishment, Why Won’t She Shut Up? (eileenanddogs)
- Philosophy or Behavior? (Denise Fenzi)
- The Science of Words. Or is it the Words of Science? (Denise Fenzi)
- Dogs’ Attention Declines with Age — But Training Helps (Companion Animal Psychology)
- Is Your Dog a Social Butterfly? (Do you believe in dog?)
- Veterinarians are Responsible for the Welfare of Flat-Faced Dogs (Dog Zombie)