Just to clear this up, this was the article i originally had scheduled for today, but when an issue came up with a big sale on a product I wasn't certain of, I decided to release that post first just in case I didn't have time to get to this one. Now that I do have time, I've been doing some marketing copy for a client about amino acid supplements and I decided to put up some info I learned during research. Enjoy if interested, and I'll try to get to some more fun stories either later tonight or in the next few days.
Nutrition is important for all animals but especially important in working horses. Working horses burn energy in performing their duties, whether they are racehorses, cow horses, or hunter jumpers. Energy requirements in these animals can be two to three times that of a horse at pasture.
Three main nutrient groups provide energy to the body. These groups are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. While it is important to have a balance of all three nutrients in the diet, today we will talk about protein.
Proteins are complex structures made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are twenty-two different amino acids that combine in different chain lengths and orders to create a plethora of proteins. If it helps, just think of each amino acid like a letter of the alphabet. With the 26 letters of the English alphabet, we can create an endless variety of words. These amino acid chains are too large to be absorbed intact by the digestive tract, so enzymes break dietary protein into the amino acids for absorption.
Once they have been absorbed by the body, the amino acids can be combined to make a multitude of proteins to support body functions. Just a few of the uses for protein in the body are cell membranes, muscle fibers and a component of chemical signals throughout the body, such as hormones. Amino acids can be classified as essential or nonessential. Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized in sufficient amounts by the body, and therefore must be in the diet in order to prevent deficiencies. If a sufficient amount of an amino acid is not available, another amino acid cannot be substituted to make the proteins the body needs. This is why having a high quality balanced diet is important so that ample amounts of the essential amino acids are available for bodily functions.
Deficiencies of nutrients can appear as many different symptoms. Because hair is composed of protein, often deficient animals will have a rough, dull haircoat. This is completely different than the shaggy winter coat that animals grow during the fall. Another common sign of protein deficiencies is poor hoof quality, with the hoof wall being brittle and prone to cracking.
Working horses often have more muscle definition than nonworking horses, and protein is needed to build those additional muscle cells that allow peak performance. A quality feed will contain not only adequate amounts of protein but also carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Not all feeds are equal, and even the same type of hay that is harvested during a different time in the season will contain different amounts of nutrients. For example, more mature plants harvested later in the season will have a large quantity of fiber, but fewer vitamins and minerals than a younger plant grown in the same conditions. If you have questions about the foodstuffs you are using, you can contact your local agricultural extension agent to have a feed analysis performed. This will help you determine if any supplementation is necessary. Don’t be afraid to consult professionals to make sure that your working horse is getting the most suitable diet possible so that their performance will be the best it can be.
Today a friend told me he had heard that ecollars could be used in a proper way, but the ones they were told try try were expensive. He handed me a collar he got for a big discount and it is discounted. I'll provide a link here and it is an affiliate link, in the interest of fairness. However, I'm going to say up front that I personally would not buy this particular collar. It's called a Petrainer Shock collar which might tell you something up front and there may be a reason it's on sale at such a low price. The biggest issue I have with it is that the description is somewhat vague about how it works. I wonder if the promo code that is being pushed is to make quick sales before people realize that it isn't like a normal e-collar. I don't know for sure, but because it's a big promotional item right now, I want the word out.
I do believe in using many different tools to train dogs. That does include certain collars that use a technology that sends a vibration or sometimes an Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation at a very low level. This stimulation is delivered at a level that tingles very softly at minimum and contracts a muscle in a massage-like way at maximum. A good ecollar when used at low levels simply puts a tiny amount of pressure on a dog which gives the dog a signal that you want it to listen to a command. Some dogs need higher levels due to thick fur and some just need the smallest feeling or even just the vibration. (Subdermal or transcutaneous nerve stimulation is used by physical therapists to sooth sore muscles or help heal injuries. A "shock" is totally different, like what is given to cattle by an electrical fence and is unnecessary for dog training.)
A collar like the Ecollar Mini Educator is used by some of the most humane (and best) trainers and dog-training YouTube influencers. I'll do a whole topic on the training methods and some of my favorite videos later on. In the meantime, though, I wanted to say that even if you can buy a "shock" collar for a very low price, I very sincerely believe that it's worth the price to get a proper tool that delivers a light stimulation over something else. Otherwise, you don't really need the ecollar anyway, as there are plenty of other training methods that work great and I've used many of them myself since before they had good ecollars on the market. Give it some thought before you buy!
One last thing in case this is not clear. I've provided links to two training collars, and I do believe one (by ecollar - see image below) is a useful tool for some trainers. I do not believe that a ecollar is right for every dog or dog owner, and I do not think one is necessary for great dog training. Feel free to agree or disagree respectfully in the comments, I'd love to hear your thoughts on ecollars and the two collars I've mentioned here. Thanks for reading!
A Humane Training Tool
There are a couple of things I wanted to share with readers today and I picked now because of a promo code offer. I usually only share affiliate links when I writing on a topic that just relates to that item, but I got two things myself on Amazon this week. They just arrived and me and the dumb dog are happy with them, so I decided to share.
I've shared before that we currently have a standard poodle puppy. She's growing VERY fast and has big dog teeth coming in. My vet doesn't like rawhide and neither do I, but I've been giving her these meat-based chewies called Oinkies and she loves them. The problem is that I've been buying the tender ones for puppies and now she just eats those like they are a small piece of chicken or a cat. I needed to get something bigger but she hates most of the things I have tried, like plastic bones or the spare tire from my car.
We've been spending a lot of time in the yard to wear off the energy, so I ordered some things that are still Oinkies but are larger and for bigger dogs. Ripley LOVES them (see pic at the bottom) and they take her a good hour or two to get through. I also found a coupon code for some outdoor lighting and it's so cute. So, I'm sharing both with you guys. (If you order here I get a small cut and you get the coupon discount if you order the lights. I appreciate it, but if you are uncomfortable with buying here you can order directly on Amazon.) The Oinkies can be found here, or you can get the tender ones for smaller dogs here. The lights are so fun too and they are portable for camping and have a remote:
The graphic above can be found on the web in varied forms, this just happens to be mine. It's not particularly original, but it's a sentiment that seems to be shared by many today.
I hear (and sometimes lament) the criticism of people who are a tad younger than I, the "Millennials", and I hear many words for the general attitude. I think these are highly stereotypical terms and not worth much. Some older people say that Millennials are shallow or too-deep, socially conscious but to a fault and they are often made fun of for wanting live live their dreams young. Granted, I do think there is such a thing as being too shallow or so socially conscious that you can lose sight of living your life. I think there can be a selfishness in trying to have it all at a young age, but mind you, only when "having it all" means you are taking it away from someone else or causing pain/harm to others. I have seen some situations like this, where a very young person gets married, has babies, gets a few rescue pets and then dumps the whole crew on their parents while they jaunt off to follow their new bliss. That's bad form at any age.
Overall, though, every person is just trying to find their way through things. It doesn't matter if you are 19 or 91, I still believe you should just be the best you that is possible today. (For me sometimes that means just not hitting anyone today and preferably not soiling the seat of a friend's car.)
Another accusation I see made a lot is that young people overshare in person or on the internet, that they give out Too Much Information or that they want to talk way too much about depressing things. It was me thinking about this than prompted today's post.
I do get the idea behind the TMI argument. Some people (no particular age) are constantly busy taking pictures with their phones, posting their lunch to Instagram or sharing their co-worker's boyfriend trouble on Facebook.
I also know that there is a kind of movement today among comedians, and the idea is to go out there and share something meaningful instead of just being funny. One comedian I watched recently didn't even do comedy, really, it was just a public rant.
Are these things bad? Should we discourage over-sharing? Should we discourage the trend to turn entertainment into a statement?
Nahhh. For one thing, whether it's the teen on social media or the famous person giving a speech, if they bore people long enough they'll disappear on their own. If they aren't boring, they will grab attention for some reason. Personally, I'd rather grab attention by being either funny or meaningful or both. Both can be the BEST! (Jenny Larson AKA The Bloggess always comes to mind here. Tig Notaro is another who does. These are two different but amazing funny ladies who help others and make people laugh all at once!) There are many ways to talk about depression and mental illness and by doing so , help other people. I hope to tell some funny stories about my own mental illness on this blog, and some of them are damn funny now but were horrifying to me when they happened.
If someone manages to grab attention, even if it is because they anger people, then perhaps they are saying something that needs to be said. As long as they hold the attention of others, there must be something there of value to someone. So, I'm going to quit worrying about what I do and what other people do. I'm going to be MY real self as best I can and I hope eventually people might want to read it and find it useful or entertaining or both. If not, I'm journaling for my health! As far as what other people do, not all will be successful just because they grab attention. I can think of a couple of comedians who have just gone out of favor because they were so extreme that it went poorly for them. That's OK too, they will have to find their own way back to the limelight or off to some quiet space. Let them!
That's my rambling answer to my own question of the day. Go get some chocolate or some booze or some tea or a kale smoothie and enjoy the rest of yours! Be yourself!
Be Yourself! Be Fearless. Be Happy!
I would love to talk with other pet and animal bloggers! Contact me about guest posts or other ideas. Need help with your blog but can't afford industry rates?
Pro Ghostwriting at Low Rates
Most Professional bloggers start at .13 per word. I can help! Check out my services at Fiverr.com/fonthaunt or use this sale link that is ONLY for my blog visitors. (Clicking on the button just shows you the offer, you will be prompted again if you actually want to buy.)
I am big fan of technology and have added greatly to my understanding animals and animal training because of geek stuff. Granted, I'm also a gamer so that doesn't hurt! I've found certain tech tools very helpful while training this new puppy of ours, so I thought I'd pass them along. I will be linking to some other sites and some products. The sites are not affiliate listings but the products are, just to help me support this site, giveaways and my fur kids! I appreciate any purchases through my product links but I understand if you want to comparison shop.
The first thing you really need to know the most is that if you carry a phone or a tablet (some great cheap ones are listed below) you can use YouTube on the go to GREAT advantage. If you are having a problem with a specific dog behavior, you can pull up your favorite trainer and see some techniques. Trainers on YouTube range from very "soft" to tough and commanding. Personally, I would look for trainers in the middle and you'll see me mention specific ones in other posts, but I won't here since this is about the technology. I just want to say that YT and a small tablet are my everyday go-to's.
I am currently trying out one of these tablets but I'm not far enough along to review it honestly yet. I did look at all of these for inexpensive options in android tablets. I would have used my Kindle but I prefer the Google app store for broader apps.
Tablets to consider listed from my favorite down:
Pisen 7 Inches Tablet PC - Google Android 5.1
This one isportable for dog walks, comes with a stand to view videos while you copy what the trainer does, and it's cheap enough to not worry too much about taking it outside.
RCA Premium High Performance Voyager 7"
This one is a bit cheaper than the one at the top (as of now) but the reviews aren't quite as high in spite of it being brand name. It still looks promising for all the same reasons.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7"; 8 GB Wifi Tablet
This one is the cream of the crop on features, reviews and reliability. It also has options for accessories like cases, etc. I would just be afraid to buy this for heavy outdoor use, but otherwise I'd love to have it!
For apps, this is the site I used to find some good ones, though I still you Youtube the most! I hope this all helps:
Apps About Dogs
A "Be Yourself" True Story
My parents found the ownership of a pet shop to be quite a challenge all by itself. As a little kid, I thought it was the best world ever. I didn't care if the parrot knew how to unlock his own cage and then fly over to the mynah bird cage and unlock it. I loved it when we would walk in to find the birds loose and shouting at each other. The parrot would squawk "Canaries are cute but they caaaaaan't talk!" The mynah would call back with a wolf whistle and "Good morning, beautiful!"
My mother found these things endearing at first, but they wore on her quickly. My Dad dealt with things fairly stoically, though he constantly worried about having a large portion of their inventory tied up in living creatures.
One night we were at home after dark when the phone rang at an hour past the "good news" time. My Dad answered the phone and found out that the hair salon next door to the pet shop had caught on fire. Something about sticky flammable hair spray in a 70's "hood style" hair dryer that had a short. The fire department was calling everyone in the shopping center to come and check on their shops.
I badly wanted to go with my Dad but he sternly insisted that I stay home. I think he was worried that he might find a very bad situation at our shop and he did not want me or Mother to see it. He called a couple of friends and left in our old yellow station wagon.
They all came to our house about two hours later. My Dad was covered in soot but he was all right, to our relief. He told us that no fire or intense heat had made it into the pet shop, but a lot of smoke had. Unfortunately some of the smaller parakeets had died quickly without plenty of air, though hopefully mercifully. I was sobbing and my mother just asked how the rest of the animals were. Dad informed her that she should lay down any plastic we had, old sheets, fill the bathtubs and get ready. He and his friends had most of the animals in the car and we would be bringing them inside!
I was still sorrowful about the lost pets, but excited about our new zoo. I went to help and soon enough, our house was filled with noise. One of our bathrooms had turtles and frogs in shallow water in the bathtub and sink. The other bathroom was filled with water and little baggies of fish were floating about individually. One large fish called an Oscar swam free under the baggies!
The utility area was the puppy room and there were kittens in my bedroom. My sister was away checking out colleges, so her room had plastic tarps on the floor and there was a cage of baby ducks there. One plastic tub on her desk held two squealing guinea pigs. A few sooty aquariums were scattered in the kitchen. Some held geckos and some had a few hamsters (which should be called HAMPSTERS) and gerbils.
It was absolute chaos and I loved it. The living room was the one room that might have been partly spared, but that was the location of the big cages for the parrot and the mynah bird who were talking up a storm and swearing a bit.
Looking back, my parents were lucky that we had really lost relatively few creatures. The next couple of days were pure madness. The birds in the living room got loose more than once, but we somehow wrangled them back into their cages safely. The house smelled of wet puppies and litter boxes, to my mother's absolute horror. She normally kept a very clean house. My sister had returned home and we were kept constantly busy trying to clean cages and soothe puppies and kittens. We were all involved together with a scrubdown and air-out of the pet shop. The people who owned the pizza shop nearby helped us out and brought us food. In turn, my parents gave them a voucher for three months of free dog grooming for their poodles.
It's a week I will never forget! It was soon rivaled by our middle-of-the-night trip to buy and transport more parakeets and gerbils. I'll try to write on that soon, plus I'd like to pop in with some thoughts about modern puppy training. Since we are raising a puppy now and it's been some time, I'm learning a lot about dog training from some great trainers on YouTube, especially Bethany from Ruff Beginnings. I highly recommend her videos. More on that next time!
Fires Suck, Poodles Rock
(The cat was fine...)
This sounds horrible, but I've got to get this out or I'll keep reliving it, so now you are giving me therapy. (Bill me.)
One of my cats is older and she doesn't love to eat, so we are always trying to get her to eat more. I worry about her and if I don't see her for a bit, I go looking. She's very quiet. Once in awhile she gets allergies and coughs. I was sitting here working on "the book" today and I heard this weird cough.
I started looking for the cat and I heard the cough become a weird wheeze. It sounded like the last breaths of life. I panicked and started calling the cat, which drowned out the sound. That failed since my cats don't come running on command even when things are normal! The wheezing got louder and I tracked it carefully.
I finally realized it was the DUMB DOG. OK, the dog is not dumb, she's really smart, but she's a baby and acts pretty dumb at 4 months. She was perfectly healthy and fine. She had fallen asleep in her crate with her nose and mouth stuffed into her towel/bed. Apparently it restricted her breathing just enough to make her wheeze like a dying cat, but not enough to make her wake up and STOP.
I sat down and let the relief wash over me as the not dying cat walked in and glanced at me, clearly laughing her ass off. Jerk. i was worried! Ok, now I can sleep. Thanks!
P.S. Speaking of cats, I have to recommend a product that I just tried and plan to use again. If you have anyone in your house with allergies, I haven't tried this on other pets but on cats, it reduces the chances of allergic reactions like crazy. You can buy it through my affiliate link (which I greatly appreciate) or you can buy it on Amazon or at other stores if you prefer to get it on your own. It really does work, though.
We use Allerpet on our cats!
I promise I haven't forgotten about telling you about the hairspray fire, but I forgot I wanted to mention the Giant Green Grass Monster. This happened a few days ago and I just happened to catch it on video, so here is the violent attack: (no critters were harmed)
Heads Up for Grass Monsters!
A "Be Yourself" Story
When I was about 8 or 10 years old, my Mom needed to bring in more income and jobs were scarce in our small town. Mom always had an entrepreneurial streak, it runs in the family. She apprenticed for a dog groomer and my Dad built her a cool tall table and the best clippers. She started her own grooming business in the garage. I remember hair everywhere! We had a poodle of our own, Mr. French, and you'll hear of him in other posts I'm sure. He was a good practice dog in that he didn't bite like that monkey. That's another story.
Anyway, my parents weren't major pet people but they liked our dog and somehow that formed the basis for the plan to buy a pet store and make a profit. We didn't have the internet back then or they probably would have googled it and learned how seldom animals are profitable investments. I think my parents envisioned a quaint shop, something like this:
They bought a store that was already up and running in town. I'm not sure how successful it was, but even though I was young, I remember petstoreacolypse. Things didn't go great from the beginning.
My Mom especially did not like snakes, rats, mice, monkeys or birds except parakeets and finches. The store came with a lovely selection of cute puppies and kittens (it wasn't considered that evil in the 70's) and a wide variety of snakes, rodents, one very loud monkey and a couple of large birds that shit constantly. To my recollection, it was something like this:
Perhaps the reality was more like your typical 1970's strip mall shop with a selection of reasonably healthy but messy critters. One of my earliest memories is my immediate fondness for the snakes, rats, mice, and two talking birds. I didn't much like the monkey any more than my mother did, mainly because it bit like a mofo and it threw poop at the glass front of it's pen. I don't recall having serious OCD back then, perhaps even the opposite, but it's possible that the amount of monkey shit I was exposed to caused a brain infection that resulted in madness. (Probably not, but who really knows?) After this, I keep only one kind of monkey personally and I have about 10 or 12 of them. Here is one of mine and if you want to buy one like it, it would be AWESOME if you get it here and help me pay for pet food.
Even though I didn't care for the real monkey, I was quite pleased at coming to the shop after school during Grand Opening week and seeing the other furry and scaly things. My Mom promptly put up a sign on the front of the shop that said "FREE SNAKES AND RATS DURING GRAND OPENING!"
There were surprisingly few takers. In a strange coincidence, though, my Mother explained to me on day 8 that a burglar had sneaked into the shop and stolen all the reptiles and rodents except for the little green turtles. It was baffling. I am over 50 now and my mother lives down the street. I still don't dare ask her what really happened to her animal nemeses. What I am pretty sure of is that the combination of snake/rat burglar and monkey poop trauma helped my mental illness along. Today it is a well documented phenomenon called SRBMONKPOO Traumatic Disorder. (Avoid disorder by keeping these monkeys only. Note for full disclosure - the links in this blog posts are affiliate links to help with our giveaways and costs. We appreciate any sales on those!)
Then came the hairspray fire. I'll cover that next time!
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