If it moves, it dies.
By ALMA BUELVA
NOT everyone deserves a dog, especially those who are clueless about dogs. But, if they insist on having one, the book called Dog-Life Balance by Onayd Lumbao offers a quick guide to dog ownership written in the Philippine context.
Lumbao, a certified dog trainer and behaviorist for over two decades, wrote Dog-Life Balance: Finding the equilibrium between pet ownership and other details of life, to educate Filipinos on how they should work around a dog's primal physical, mental and emotional needs so they could both co-exist peacefully, if not happily.
The book tackles the starting points in dog ownership from choosing a name and introducing a dog to members of the family and other pets, to some disturbing conditions such as excessive barking, humping and eating stool, among others. In addition, the book tries to lift the veil on the wrong forms of dog training that were once considered effective, and suggests more positive methods of disciplining and training.
Dog-Life Balance is only 93-pages long, easy enough to finish in one sitting. Although brief, it is not short of eye-opening takeaways that dog lovers could use. Here are some of them:
A dog owner's personality affects the behavior of his or her own dog. Lumbao said behaviors are made, not born. Most of the time, humans are responsible for creating them.
A well socialized pet is better than a well-schooled dog. Dogs are highly social animals and we are doing them a disservice by limiting their chances for interactions. Lumbao said some people invest more on training dogs in confinement, but spend minimal time taking them outdoors. He said dog owners should give their dogs time to satisfy their social and physical needs. A 20-minute daily walk is fair, he added.
Dogs can bark. Owners shouldn't shout. Barking is a normal canine behavior and is only a problem from the human's perspective, wrote Lumbao. Barking is one of the top reasons dogs get yelled at, but the author said he doesn't recommend yelling or shouting “as many dogs become used to human words in varying degrees.”
Want to keep them dogs calmer? Let them hear classical music! The book cites a study wherein dogs barked aggressively to rock music but settled down when they heard classical pieces.
Make adjustments, employ creative tools. Howling, biting, digging, chewing and other things that get dogs into trouble could be abated with the help of positive training and tools. The book appreciates that puppies see the world as one big playground and that dogs, young or old, have a tendency to bite as part of their nature to survive.
Providing dogs with the right objects to chew such as large pig bones, coconut husks, sugar cane and cow hooves can distract them away from being destructive. A noise-maker can also do the trick of breaking up a fight and other mischiefs dogs do, especially when they are bored.
Be the dog's best friend. Often called man's best friend, dogs can also use a friend who could mold their behavior without lording it over them. When training or disciplining dogs, the book recommends “obey and be rewarded” over “disobey and be punished”. Speaking of positive reinforcement, the book made me chuckle when Lumbao wrote: “Do not use prongs or chokers, these are painful. Try putting one around your neck if you don't believe me.”
Love beyond words, after all, dogs don't talk. It's easy to fall for puppies, but the book also emphasized the need to take care of senior dogs. Senile dogs need more patience and the older the dog, the more they need to be introduced to new things, Lumbao said.
When not everyone in the family loves a dog, Lumbao suggested that it is the dog owner's task to keep them from hating the animal. Like it is also his responsibility to practice pet population control whatever the dog's breed may be.
Appreciate the reliable Bantay. Dog-Life Balance is a rare book in the sense that it has pages that talked about the Philippine native dog, commonly called Aspin (Asong Pinoy) and widely kept as Bantay (Guard), hence their popular household name. One would be hard put to find another book that mentions and even hails the strong character and spirit of aspins.
Now, for the bad part:
Where the book mightily failed, however, was in the editing and proofreading. It has one too many instances of repetitive texts on top of grammar and spelling slips that could turn off some readers.
Throughout the book, names were dropped to highlight their contributions or experiences leading, directly or indirectly, to better dog ownership. Some don't need introduction like French philosopher Rene Descartes and management guru Peter Drucker. But the rest of the names mentioned (we came across 30 names or so), with the exception of one or two, were not properly identified so it would be up to the reader to Google who they are. Such is far from the norm. It particularly becomes bad when the person cited doesn't even have a last name! “Jerry, a sporty guy in his 20s” in page 87, simply doesn't cut it. A non-fiction work requires full names for veracity.
The book wants every dog owner to appreciate the huge responsibility of keeping a dog.
“If we fall short, we not only rob dogs of their right to live to the fullest but we also contribute to the development of many behavioral problems like aggression,” he wrote.
Lumbao believes that a balanced dog owner has peace and compassion and, preferably, has no breed bias.
“Whatever the size, shape, color and character of the dog sitting next to you now, appreciate him; he is, after all, smart enough to take you as his best friend,” he added.
Dog-Life Balance: Finding the equilibrium between pet ownership and other details of life, is available in local bookstores. -- MetroPets
TIRED of the usual biscuit treat for your dog? How about giving them a rabbit ear to nibble on?
Treats that make dogs' ears stand up in excitement are inspiring one culinary student to develop not-your-usual dog snack items. From dehydrated rabbit ears to dried up cow throats, Dog-apetreat lets dogs to literally sink their teeth into something more natural and exciting.
The brainchild of 20-year-old Mikaela Dy Tecklo, Dog-apetreat offers organic homemade dog treats prepared by Mikaela herself. Only last May did she start selling her products to an informal market of friends and relatives and, from there, word quickly spread about Dog-apetreat.
“I got into this particular business because my passions are cooking and baking, plus I love dogs so I decided to make dog treats,” she said.
Mikaela first offered her dehydrated meaty treats to her own dogs whose approval encouraged her to launch Dog-apetreat. She shuns the use of preservatives even if these would make her treats last longer as she believes preservatives could upset a dog's stomach. Instead, she makes sure she dehydrates her treats really well and prepares them only when customers place an order.
“When treats are not dehydrated well, molds would form around them in just one week. I make sure our treats are something that customers will feel safe to give to their dogs. My organic treats don't have preservatives commonly present in local and international brands,” Mikaela said.
Truth be told, we kept some pieces of beef heart and beef liver strips and they're still mold-free after almost two months in the bag and beyond their expiration date.
Variety is the spice of life and Dog-apetreat works hard to make it one of its selling points. To date, it offers beef heart crisps, beef liver crisps, chicken liver crumble, sweet potato, duck jerky, and the most sought after rabbit ears and cow throats.
Based on customer feedbacks, a lot of dogs crave for Dog-apetreat's beef and rabbit treats because of their meaty flavor and great texture. Our short review of these items revealed the same thing (short because the rabbit ear and beef throat were quickly gobbled up by our dog reviewers).
Mikaela said dogs can gnaw at the beef throat so they don't destroy slippers and other objects around the house. It is also big enough to keep them busy while their owners are away. We tried to break it into pieces, but it's really tough and will need a strong pair of scissors, or FANGS, to do it!
The rabbit ear, on the other hand, is not only packed with flavors but also fiber from the fur.
“My brand's vision is to be original and unique. I know that there will be companies that will have the same treats as I do, and some that will try to copy our ideas or what we have. But they will never be the same as Dog-apetreat's variants because the methods, technique and quality ingredients that we use are different. Also, because I make the treats myself, even the packaging, I can control the quality of treats that I sell,” Mikaela said.
Next year will see Dog-apetreat releasing more unique dog treats in the market. They will also be cheap, safe and nutritious, Mikaela said.
“We have so much more treats coming! We are already on the way to make dehydrated dog food,” she added.
Dog-apetreats are available online and in select partner pet shops and veterinary clinics in Metro Manila. For more information on where and how to buy, visit Dog-apetreat in Facebook and Instagram. -- MetroPets
TV DINNER. That's what came to mind when packs of frozen dog food from Canine Chow PH arrived at our doorstep.
The individual packs contain cooked meat and vegetables that looked ghoulish brown and green. They were also modestly labeled, so it was immediately obvious this brand of dog grub is not big on appearances.
People eat with their eyes, but dogs don't. Visually appealing food is not their thing. Flavor is. Fortunately, the Canine Chow meals proved to be the opposite of TV dinners as they tasted better than they looked (according to our dog reviewers).
Canine Chow PH offers Meat and Veggie Mixes (beef, pork, chicken, or fish only) and Meat Kibble Toppers: (beef, pork, chicken, or fish only). We put four dogs to “work” to see how Canine Chow meals would fare based on palatability and digestibility. Here's how it went down:
The black Labrador tends to eat anything and everything with gusto, but from time to time he rejects some food and treats that are new to him.
The Beagle is a snob and likes to study her food and that of others' first before deciding to eat or not.
The Aspin is a moody eater. He likes flavors that are familiar to him. He used to be a stray.
The Pomeranian (a rescue with health issues) is a tough nut to crack. A real picky eater and not a fan of carbs.
All four are regularly fed either kibble or meals specifically cooked for them.
To cut the review short, let us just say it went very well for Canine Chow in the palatability test. The moment we put down the bowls of Canine Chow, the dogs simply demolished them. The only one who wasn't too happy was the photographer who saw the dog food disappear before taking enough good shots.
The dogs didn't dilly-dally as they tend to do when presented with a new kind of food. Why? Was it because the taste was close to their home-prepared food? But the texture was different as Canine Chow were all finely chopped. It also had more veggies (the Beagle hates greens). Certainly, they must KNOW that it's not their usual food, but there they were—mopping up their bowls like they always do.
They say the best compliment you can pay a chef is to send a clean plate back. Judging by the way our esteemed pack finished their Canine Chow on first try, its makers deserve a pat in the back!
But that's only half the test. The proof is in the “pudding” (catch the drift?). Canine Chow meals are no way oily, but they smell quite herby. For everyone's good, we hope things went down well in the digestibility department, too. The next day, with bated breath we walked up to the scene of the crime and Aha!! All's well that ends well!
COOKIN' UP CANINE CHOW
Cybele Manlapaz, a marketing consultant, and Jed Mesina a BPO executive, run the business. Together with their own dogs Tony and Tuco (Golden Retrievers) and Cooper (Boston Terrier) serving as product testers, they created Canine Chow PH three years ago. They believe what helped their dogs become healthier should be shared with others.
Cooked dog meals also proved a boon to busy dog owners who don't have time to cook for their dogs but can now simply thaw or reheat Canine Chow meals. They require very little preparation, just like those TV dinners, but are probably healthier if not tastier.
“Really, what we provide is more of a service than a product. Our goal is to help our clients provide as much fresh food for their dogs as they can in the most convenient way possible,” said Cybele.
True enough, their slogan “Giving your dogs real good food has never been this easy” was made with dog owners in mind.
Made from food-grade meats, nutritious offals and vegetables cooked over low heat, Canine Chow supports a dog's carnivorous diet. The finished product is made of 75 percent meat (in the case of the meat and vegetable mix) and safe enough for a person to eat (Cybele said she did).
“I have tried my dog’s food. It just doesn’t taste so good to me because it doesn’t have any seasoning, not even salt! We don't use any preservatives, vegetable oil or seasonings,” added Cybele.
Diligent research on dog nutrition and discussions with clients and veterinarians help them improve Canine Chow's suitability for pet dogs. They're looking at adding duck and goat to their offerings, and lamb as well if things go as planned.
From producing 15 to 20 kilos a week, Canine Chow is now cooking up a storm, averaging 90 kilos or more a week. Cybele said they don't keep a lot on stock because they prefer to make their deliveries as freshly cooked as possible.
“Currently, we are strictly a weekly made-to-order business. We are only available online. Orders are placed every Monday, ingredients are bought on Tuesdays then deliveries are from Friday to Sunday,” she said.
Packed in microwavables, Canine Chow meals stay good up to four days when refrigerated and up to a month when frozen. But if dogs could speak, they'll probably tell you these best before dates are inconsequential and instead you should soon schedule your next order of Canine Chow.
* Water hyacinths: the new cat's cradle!