What Do I Feed My Dogs?

I often get asked what I feed my dogs. If you curious to see my dogs in action head over to our YouTube channel.

In this post, I’ll share what I feed my dogs and why.

Disclaimer

I’m not a qualified nutritionist and I’m sharing what I know from my experience. I cannot be held responsible for anything if you choose to follow what I share.

I got to know about BARF from the Born Protector YouTube channel. In essence, BARF states that a dog’s diet must contain 80% meat, 10% organ meat and 10% bones.

I started feeding BARF with Chicken as the primary protein source, with the only exception of cooking the meat slightly. I kept exploring more on BARF and found that the diet can be made more balanced by switching the source of protein.

So I started feeding two types of meat in a week constantly switching between the following

  • Duck
  • Rabbit
  • Beef
  • Mutton
  • Chicken

Finding a balanced diet for your dog is a constant battle and it takes a lot of observation to settle on a suitable diet. Each dog is different and so is their diet.

Though my dogs primarily thrive on meat yet I find them showing discomfort by eating grass. That was when I realized that the way I was storing meals could have been the reason for the discomfort.

Storing and feeding meat requires freezing and thawing. The freezing part is easy. Ration the meat by meals and put them in the freezer. The meat must be stored in sub zero temperatures. Thawing is the process of defrosting the meat under 4°C by placing the meat in your refrigerator and not in the freezer. To thaw 4 Kgs of frozen meat, it may take up to 12 hours.

Never defrost the meat at room temperature. If you do so, the meat should be cooked within 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. What do you feed your dog? Let me know in the comments.

How Much Should A Puppy Cost?

Looking to get your first or your next puppy? That’s awesome! Before you scour Facebook groups for adorable puppies at a reasonable price, I would like you to put yourself in the shoes of a breeder.

For a dog to be healthy, you (a breeder) must ensure the dog’s mental and physical well-being. To be physically healthy, you (a breeder) must regularly exercise the dog spending an average of 1 hour per day per dog. Dog’s mental well being can be improved by regularly training the dog or by providing enrichment activities that stimulates the brain.

You have to spend about 1-1.5 hours per day per dog to keep the dog healthy in addition to providing good food. Nutritious meal could cost anywhere between INR 100 to INR 200 per day per dog.

Female dogs usually come into heat once every six months. A female bitch should be bred starting from the second heat skipping the first. Usually the first heat is skipped because of the potential health risks associated. You have to take care of the dogs (both male and female) for about 1 to 1.5 years before the first pregnancy.

The number of puppies in a litter would vary. On average, you can expect 5 puppies. A simple math would tell us that you have to spend about INR 1,62,000 ( 18 months x 30 days x INR 300) before you see a litter a 5 puppies, in addition to spending about 1620 hours (18 months x 30 days x 3 hours)

Assuming that you make ZERO profit, each puppy is estimated to cost INR 32,500/- (162000 / 5). This excludes the money spent on vaccination and other health care demands.

Now that you have the figures in front of you, how WOULD YOU feel when a potential customers asks your puppy for 1/3 rd of the estimated cost?

The trouble doesn’t stop here. Most Indians will only be interested in getting a male and NOT a female puppy. This again makes the situation worse. If you’re lucky your litter’s male to female ratio would be high.

If the above numbers makes sense to you, then you might ask, “how can one find a puppy for a cheaper price in the market?”. The answer is unethical breeding.

Unethical breeding takes place to keep the cost low and to make profit. Unethical breeding includes

  • feeding non nutritious meals to cut down cost,
  • not exercising the dogs mentally and physically (the intention is to make money selling puppies and not caring about the dogs well-being)
  • breeding during every heat cycle (Female dogs become physically weak)
  • weaning the puppies before the recommended 8 week period
  • chaining or caging the dogs because of limited space
  • not vaccinating the puppies on time
  • not socializing the puppies during the imprinting stage
  • not considering the temperament while breeding
  • not spaying/neutering when a hereditary disease is identified
  • not educating the buyer about the breed and its genetic demands

My intention in writing this post is to shed light on what actually goes behind breeding a dog. I do not sell puppies or breed dogs commercially.

Thirty Two

I’m grateful to the Almighty and my parents for the life I lead. I’m currently in the stage of life where everyday feels like birthday. I don’t mean that all days are fun and frolic but I’m starting to enjoy the little things in life and I’m much more content and happy because of the people around me.

My wife made a wonderful Choco Truffle cake today. I’m very thankful to her for taking time to make me feel special.

My sister surprised me with a brownie cake. I’m very thankful to her for making the day special.

My dogs are part of me and I try and involve them in my life as much as I can. Both Max and Laika behaved very well while the whole family united during cake cutting.

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Last but not the least, I spent majority of the time today learning Docker and setting up WordPress website using the official WordPress Docker image.

Like always, I don’t know what the future holds up for me but I’m ready to take on what life throws my way.

Chronicle: June 2021

Let me be honest with you. I couldn’t keep up with my monthly reviews. Setting goals and reviewing them at the end of the month isn’t working for me.

The idea of “documenting” instead of “creating” resonated with me and I have decided to stick with it.

To steer the month of June, I’m planning to focus on the following.

  • 100 pushups a day
  • Platform training with Max
  • Personal play with Laika

Sharpen Your Sword

Working remotely is becoming the new norm in the COVID-19 pandemic. A laptop or a desktop machine with an internet connection is how many earn their bread and butter. I’m one among them.

A couple of days back, my Macbook Pro fried, out of the blue.

If you’re in Tamil Nadu, India, you would know that the curfew is in place during the time of writing this post and there is no chance that one could get a laptop serviced or purchase a new machine. Most e-commerce stores have stopped shipping to Tamil Nadu, India.

The whole situation put me under crunch. With a deadline nearing at my day job and with a dead laptop there is nothing much that I could do than worrying.

Before fretting too much I remembered my dad getting all his computer requirements met with the help of a local guy who runs a one man business. The pandemic got me thinking that he could not of much help. Boy, I was wrong.

The local computer business guy couldn’t help me with my MacBook Pro. But through his contacts he sourced me a powerful desktop machine.

I’m currently running Ubuntu on the new desktop machine. The setup I currently run is quite fast and I resumed my day job’s work. If you’re curious to know what’s behind the cabinet, here you go.

The local computer guy understood my difficult situation and acted at his best in sourcing a new machine. He had no reason to help but he did, risking his life and business.

The whole incident made me realize a couple of things

  • Small businesses care about people. We should continue to support small businesses even after the pandemic ends.
  • When your day job relies on electronic devices, ensure to have proper fallback during outages.
  • Exposure to different operating systems is good.

Amidst the chaos, I visited a nearby authorized Apple serviced provider to diagnose my MacBook Pro. I hated their service because of the way they acted while dealing with customers. Also, I was charged 2450 INR (~ 33 USD) to diagnose what went wrong. I’m not sure if this is the norm that Apple imposed.

The worst thing is I had to spend 2450 INR to find out that I have to further spend 37,500 INR to fix my MacBook Pro.

All these incidents got me thinking if I should ever return to using Apple products.

If you’re working remotely, ensure to have proper fall back. When the battle drum beats, it is too late to sharpen your sword.

Help Comes At A Cost — Be Intentful

I love and raise dogs. I started training dogs as a hobby and now I teach people to train their dogs.

I get calls from people inquiring about training dogs. Most would be interested to know what I charge and would move on after the initial discussion. A few would take the classes. Another few would say they would get back and after a few days they come back asking for “HELP”.

While asking for a help is reasonable amongst peers and family, understand that it is NOT possible for me to help everyone I talk to. I have a family to feed and a life to live. Like yours, my time is valuable to me. I’m sure nobody wants to trade their time for NOTHING.

Despite the above reasons, I take time to help answer dog training questions I get via the FREE Dog Training for Dog Parents community that I manage. When I ask people to join the community and search for or ask their dog training questions, people get back with all sorts of excuses —

  • “I don’t use Facebook.”
  • “I don’t know to use Facebook groups.”
  • “How do I search on Facebook?”

It is this apathetic behaviour that makes me NOT want to invest my time to help out. Don’t know how to use Facebook? Read their help section. Don’t know to use Facebook groups? Try to google.

If you want HELP be intentful. Be willing to show that you care before you ask.

Monthly Review: April 2021

How Did We Do In March?

I failed miserably in updating the blog. Keeping up the blog updated with videos is becoming more tedious. This is because I had to watch the videos a couple of times to edit out the portions to keep the video interesting and short. In order to speed up my editing, I’m planning to follow the following steps.

  • Watch the video the first time to edit out the unnecessary portions.
  • Speed up the balanced break portions.
  • Write any comments, improvements, suggestions beneath the video in the blog and not on the video (i.e using the video editor)

Goals For April

Max

  • Max should walk nicely on the leash.
  • Improve personal play with Max.

Laika

  • Improve personal play with Max.
  • Take Laika in the car at least once in a week.

April 05, 2021

What I like?

  1. 0:01 I’m happy that Max is associating that the eye contact is what begins the work. He offers a generous two-second eye contact to tell me that he is interested in what we’re about to do together.
  2. 0:14 I’m happy that I’m able to bring Max’s arousal up with just personal play.

What Can I Improve?

  1. As soon as Max reaches to me from his “SIT”, I should reward him outwards so his but swings in. This will help him to stay close to me.
  2. Max ran to the water bowl before I gave him the “All Done” cue. I should keep tab of his quest for water in summer and release him earlier before he opts out.

What I like?

  • 0:35 Laika leaps looking at the tug toy. This shows that she is starting to like tugging and I’m happy about that.
  • 1:22 Laika disengaged by hearing the squeaker and engaged back very quickly.
  • 1:36 Quickly she understood that the squeaker only delays her reward.

What Can I Improve?

  1. 1:18 I should only reach for the cookie after I click and not before.

April 06, 2021

What I like?

  • 0:06 Max initiated the work by offering eye contact for a second and that made me engage with him.
  • 0:36 We engaged in personal play before we began the actual work. The highlight of the personal play is his jump which is my personal favourite.
  • 1:46 I like how he positions himself on my right. This behaviour is becoming reliable and I’m yet to name this behaviour.
  • 1:52 I’m happy that I’m intentional about my hand positions.
  • 2:26 I’m rewarding him outwards so his butt swings in. This was in my yesterday’s improvement list. Do you remember?

What Can I Improve?

  • 0:18 Each time I try to induce the opposition reflex, I distress Max a bit. I should find a way to do so without hurting him.
  • 1:40 I don’t mind Max stealing the toy here. I’m sure this behaviour of his will fade away eventually.
  • 2:57 I should reward Max outwards on my left. That way I can avoid him swinging outside on my left.

Session 01
  • 0:37 I let Laika acclimate before beginning the session. She initiated the session by offering eye contact and I engage back using personal play.
  • 0:42 But the crows cawing seem to be her highest distraction in this habitat. So I stopped engaging with here and let her acclimate.
  • 0:50 She disengages from the distraction and offers a two second eye contact. I then engage back wit her and again she quickly disengages.
  • This back and forth engagement and disengagement tells me that she is so bothered with the environment and no learning can take place. So I stopped the training.
  • I’m sure the habitat isn’t the problem but the crows cawing is bothering Laika. I would desensitise Laika to crows cawing if this repeats often in the future.

Session 02

What I like?

  • 0:42 I let Laika acclimate and initiate the training session when she is ready by offering eye contact.
  • I liked how she re-engaged each time after taking a treat.

What Can I Improve?

  • I wish I had taken the clicker.

April 07, 2021

Though loose leash walking is our focus, yet we are training for building focus outdoors. I don’t have a yard at my place and I had to train with what I have. Note that the structure (“Down” cue on a raised bed) is to allow Max to take in information from the environment in a limited manner.

What I like?

  • The down time between repetitions is very less. This is good because Max is finding value for focusing on me.
  • 2:42 Max likes to use his nose a lot. I was quickly able to change training directions without much frustration as a trainer along with not upsetting the dog.
  • 3:49 The placement of the bed away from the car allowed Max to focus more what we were doing together.
  • 4:50 Usually I forget to end the session with the “All Done” cue. However, I managed to remember this time.

What Can I Improve?

  • I could have paused for a few micro seconds after I mark each time.

Personal play with Laika is very challenging. That is because I’m yet to identify what she likes. From the recorded video, I could see there are two things that seem to get her amped up — a visual cue asking to spin her and a bit of back and forth running.

Monthly Review: March 2021

Note:

This post will shall be updated every day the entire March.

The monthly review is keeping me and my dogs accountable. Starting March, I decided to differ things slightly. Since I’m focussing on one behaviour an entire month, I thought of including the videos from our daily training sessions.

The goal for this month with Max is to improve the hold and include distraction and duration.

March 01, 2021

I want Max to drop the toy once he hears the click. Only after watching this video I noted a problem. Max drops the toy as soon as he brings and picks the toy again and waits. The whole time I had been reinforcing this behaviour without realizing my mistake. I must iron this out before I move any further.

March 02, 2021

Oops, I didn’t train Max today.

March 03, 2021

Today, I shall be helping Max succeed by marking a bit earlier so he doesn’t drop the the toy.

There are two problems that I noted after watching “Session 01” video — the retrieve isn’t straight and Max is finding not much value in bringing the toy back to me.

I began “Session 02” by building value for bringing the toy back to me. I fall back to using the clicker once I find Max understanding my expectation.

March 04, 2021

Max again falls back to the dropping the toy. The bringing back skill has to be refined before moving further.

March 05, 2021

My goal today is to get Max used to bring what ever I ask. So I will use two to three different objects today.

While he brought the Orange squeaky toy, he didn’t bring the TV remote and the plastic container that I used. The good thing is I wasn’t upset about his failures. Indeed, I was so proud that he gave his best.

March 06, 2021 & March 07, 2021

During the weekends, I don’t train my dogs. I tend to walk my dogs longer than usual and let them do things they love — Sniffari, digging around, etc., essentially letting them be dogs.

One of the golden moments in our life together.

Monthly Review: February 2021

The very thought of writing a monthly review held me accountable during the entire month of January.

What Went Well?

Training Max

In my last review, I mentioned that the retrieving wasn’t great. So the entire month of February I focussed on teaching Max to bring the item back to the hand. Max can now bring any non-reinforcing object to my hand.

Training Laika

I originally planned to desensitise Laika to the sound of crackers and bus honks. But I deviated from the plan and focussed on improving Laika’s tugging and retrieval.

Miscellaneous

Laika, begin an independent dog, sees little to no value in me me when I don’t have food rewards. I want to build value for engaging with me.

Also, Laika whines when she finds puppies in sight during our walks. This is because she is too excited. This has to be counter conditioned.

Goals For March 2021

Training Max

  • I want to improve the hold with Max. I should add both duration and distraction.

Training Laika

  • I want to Laika to tug in five unfamiliar locations in and around the house.
  • I want to desensitise Laika around puppies.