Being Charitable

The other day I linked to this essay by Richard Dawkins where he talks about raising Christian children and sexual abuse and the harm in each. Some other people have been talking about it too. I do tend to think that Dawkins is basically the Pat Robertson of atheists and thus nutty. But this is what it would look like if I were charitable towards Dawkins.

Although Dawkins clearly says that the sexual abuse by priests isn't as bad as bringing children up as Catholics in the first place. Let's assume he wasn't making a blanket statement about all Christians or even all Catholics, but only a specific type of Catholic (and perhaps other Christians, too). Dawkins then goes on to desribe a letter he got from a woman who did, indeed, feel that her Catholic upbringing did more harm to her than her sexual abuse. Fair enough. He then goes on to distinguish between mild types of sexual abuse like fondling and more grievous types like, I imagine, rape. I don't see any problem with making a distinction like this and it is reasonable to talk about different degrees of sexual abuse. Finally, Dawkins says,

"Being taught about hell - being taught that if you sin you will go to everlasting damnation, and really believing that - is going to be a harder piece of child abuse than the comparatively mild sexual abuse. "
Again, there is truth in this in so far as some children who have been raised religious and have been through sexual abuse may end up having more lasting harm from the religion than the sexual abuse.

Okay, that's as charitable as I can be. But even if we assume that there is no such thing as hell, I don't see how Dawkins can claim that teaching children about this is worse child abuse than the less heinous forms of sexual abuse. This sounds a lot like, from Dawkins perspective, asking whether cancer or AIDS is worse or whether it is better for your cousin or your nephew to die. Is this really something that we can generalize, though? If somebody came up to Dawkins and said he was raised Catholic and he was sexually abused and the sexual abuse had a far greater impact on him that the religion did, is Dawkins going to tell him he is wrong? Possibly (in his more Pat Robertson-like moments), but I doubt it. At least I hope not.

Really, the only valid point Dawkins has is that using "hell" as a psychological tool to control kids into believing something, is wrong, whether hell is real or not. I really don't think this is original nor controversial, though. The problem with Dawkins, though, is that he tends to project his narrow view of religion onto all religious people.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Puppies in Cars

Always carry a puppy into and out of a car.

Never leave your dog in a car with all the windows closed, especially on a hot day. Without adequate ventilation, dogs will bark and whine at first, then panic. A closed car can heat up rapidly within seconds, and many dogs have died in cars in such intense heat. Always carry a bottle of cold water and a bowl from which your dog can drink in the back of your car. It is surprising how thirsty dogs become, especially on long journeys.

When you do undertake a long journey in the car during hot, sunny days, if you happen to be going in one direction so that the sun is on one particular side of the car all the time, then put your dog on the shady side.

Before you venture on any journey, ensure that your dog has had a good opportunity to relieve himself before your departure. If it happens to be a long journey, then it will be necessary to stop periodically, get your dog out of the car on a leash and collar, take him to a waste piece of ground and tell him to "Get busy." Pick up after him with a plastic container and dispose of it appropriately as soon as you can.

To exercise some control over your dog, get him to sit while you open the car door, then tell him to jump inside on command and praise him as he obeys. Similarly, when you stop, tell him to stay while you open the car door, call him out on command and praise him as he responds. All this does not take long. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to exercise control over your dog. Dogs that jump out of cars as soon as you open the door show no respect for you. They are just showing that they want to have their own way.

Don't leave your dog in a car with the windows rolled up-cars get hot very quickly.

It is not advisable to allow your dog to have his head out of the window when traveling. The wind and dust, also little flies, can get into your dog's eyes, which may result in the need for veterinary treatment.

For those people who by necessity have to convey their dogs in the backs of utility trucks, ensure that the dogs are securely fastened to the center so that they cannot jump over or fall over the sides of such vehicles.

If you ever happen to pull in to a gas station to fill up with gas, it is advisable to get your dog out of the car, make your approach toward the station attendant and even introduce your dog to the attendant, if he or she likes dogs.

Very often if a dog is left inside a car and the attendant makes a direct approach toward the near side window and inserts the gas nozzle into your car, making some noise in the process, the dog is likely to show some form of suspicion and start barking. This is because he suddenly sees the figure of a man approach the small window, which has a threatening effect. If the dog is taken out of the car and encouraged to approach the attendant, he feels so much more at ease.

You will often find that many dogs, when left in their cars while their owners are away for a certain length of time, while shopping, for instance, will get into the driver's seat, curl up and go fast off to sleep. Why do they do this? Well, naturally, when the owner has gone away, the dog feels a little bit lonely, so he goes to the seat that has a fair amount of the owner's body scent on it. It is, in fact, the next best thing to the owner from which the dog can seek any human comfort.

Laws about dogs accompanying owners on public transport and staying at hotels, motels and camping grounds can vary from state to state or country to country. It is best to check on all these regulations. But I have always believed that the best policy is to approach officials or proprietors and explain that you have a trained dog who is well behaved and ask if there would be any objection to you having him with you. In the vast majority of cases, I have been given a welcome response. In addition to this, I have also asked patrons if they have any objection to my having my dog with me. Once again, people welcome your request with a pleasant response. When they see that your dog is friendly and well behaved and that you care for him and handle him really well, they are only too happy to welcome you back in the future.

One most interesting thing about our dogs when they travel by car, and one which puzzles many people, is that regardless of the length of the journey, the various routes taken, whether it is day or night and whether the dog is fast asleep, the dog will wake within a few hundred yards of arriving home or at any destination to which your dog has traveled in the past.

How does the dog know? Well, it is all quite simple, really. Your home area or any area to where the dog is going has its own environmental smell. The dog recognizes the particular scent even though he is fast asleep. It indicates to him that the destination is very near, which results in him getting quite excited. Even if it is very dark outside and he cannot see anything, his sense of smell never fails him.

Even if all the windows of the car are closed, the scent of the area outside will enter through any small gaps in the car. You cannot keep that away from dogs. Aren't they fantastic animals?

When traveling on buses and trains, a steady flow of passengers boards and alights at nearly every stop. It is safer for your dog if you allow him to stand in busy circumstances like these, because if you were to order him to sit or lie down, he might have his tail accidentally trodden on by one of the passengers. The same thing could apply on some long-distance trains, but usually there is a safe place for him to lie down, especially if you can obtain a window seat.

Traveling in trains, well-behaved dogs in compartments have often proved to be the center of attention and conversation among passengers.

When you praise your dog, use praising words slowly and quietly in order to keep him calm. If you talk too quickly and/or loudly, you will probably excite him and he will jump around all over the place and probably jump up at you as well. Give you puppy some treats.  Science Diet foods are a good bet, particularly with coupons.  At the same time, if you are in a stationary position, you can gently and very slowly stroke the dog on the head. This will keep your dog calm and attentive. But if you patted the dog, ruffled him up or stroked him quickly, you would then excite the dog and once again he could become boisterous, which would make controlling him difficult.

Most friendly or excitable dogs will want to jump up at people. This can annoy, and in some cases frighten, many people. Therefore you must correct this unacceptable action or habit every time it happens. You will need to use a phrase like, "Get off. " or, "Get down!" Say it in a stern tone of voice as if you really mean it, then take hold of the clip end of the leash with one hand for a moment, jerk the dog down and let go of that part of the leash.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Many so-called behavioural faults in dogs are no different from those found in children. They all like attention, and they need to be noticed by the leader. Barking is a dog's way of communicating that it is happy, disturbed or wary.

The greatest number of dog complaints to local councils involve barking. The electronic collar, which costs $90-$250, has recently been proposed as a high-tech way of stopping dogs barking. The collar works by giving the dog a shock each time it barks, or by releasing an unpleasant odour. I have found that the collars do not work in the long term, because the central ingredient is missing, namely leadership from the boss dog. People are trying to overcome their failure to train their dog by using some whizz-bang electronic device. In some cases the devices do stop the dog barking, but many animals don't react, or they cease for a while, then start again. You cannot teach a dog by excessive aversion therapy and there is also the potential for cruelty.

Ultimately the collars won't work because they don't follow dogs' instinctive manner of learning, which is to take leadership from the boss dog. Dogs still possess the same make-up they've always had, and you defy a dog's behavioural instincts at your own peril.

Dogs need to be taught about barking at a very early age. From day one, every time your dog barks investigate why it is barking. If it is barking for no apparent reason, you should scold it. You must make it clear that it is not acceptable for the dog to bark at possums at 3 am. The dog will quickly learn when not to bark. At the same time dogs need to be allowed to be dogs, and that includes barking when something strange upsets them. If my dogs bark in the middle of the night I get up and investigate the cause straight away.

Dogs have a wider hearing range than humans, and they pick up higher pitches than we do. Some dogs are frightened by sudden noises which is called being 'gun-shy'. Others will suddenly howl at a particular noise, and it is often because the noise simulates the pack leader's howl, which calls them to rally. The howl is an instinctive reaction to the pack leader's call.

Barking at the garbos, or unusual noises like planes in the sky, is reasonable dog behaviour, and not a behavioural problem. Dogs are territorial animals, and when the garbos come along once a week, they think, 'How dare these people come through our territory like that, making all this noisy crashing and bashing. We don't crash and bash.' So the dogs bark, and kick up a fuss. No territorial dog will enjoy a loud incursion into its territory, and will protest.

We confine the dog to a quarter-acre block, but its territory is two or three times bigger than that. It can encompass neighbours' property, and the public area in front of the house. It also includes aerial territory, so if you have low-flying aircraft, or possums in the trees, they are seen as invaders, and foreign to the environment. The dog will bark to alert the invader that they have been sighted, and to warn the members of the pack within the invaded territory.
Dogs will protect their territory by barking at people who come to the front door, or at people or dogs outside the car, which is an extension of their territory. A dog can be in a car and it starts barking when it sees an owner walking their dog, because it sees the other dog as invading its space, and the pack has to be told. Behavioural problems arise when a dog continues to bark, long after the invasion of its territory has ceased.

Dogs will also bark in response to noisy space invaders, such as motor bikes or big trucks. My dogs used to bark at the noise of a nail gun being used to build the house across the road, because it was an abnormal noise invading their territory. They also respond to the ambulance and police siren, which simulates the pack leader's call, by yodelling back.

All these are manifestations of normal dog behaviour that need to be modified in an urban environment. When someone knocks at the door, a dog will look to the boss dog for leadership, and the boss dog has to say, 'It's all right, you can be quiet.' If the dog goes on barking in that situation, it doesn't have a behaviour problem; the owner does. The owner has failed to modify the dog's behaviour by imprinting on it that he is the boss dog; the one who determines whether there is a threat.

Owners never think behavioural problems are their fault. Take dogs who bark if they're left at home on their own during the day. If the pack leader disappears for twelve hours, of course the dog gets upset, and starts howling and barking. The dog is behaving normally, but that behaviour hasn't been modified to suit the quarter-acre block, and the owner's expectations.
I get a lot of people saying they can't stand their dog barking. Incessant barking, barking at imaginary things or at things the dog is used to, is a behaviour problem, and should have been modified. You can teach a dog to do anything if you have the will to do so. We educate our children, but none of us seem to believe we have to do something similar with our dogs. Some owners see dogs as a chattel, and think they will magically do what they're supposed to, regardless of instinct. They see dogs as an appendage which you take off and on, like a sports coat. The truth about dog ownership is that you have to meet your dog half-way. It is not just a matter of providing food, water and a bed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lead to an purina coupons

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Smaller Bags of walmart coupons

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Large Variety of Food, Maybe Something

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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