In 1970 the 91st United States Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act or CSA. In short this legislation seeks to classify and restrict certain substances or drugs having a high potential for abuse. The list is controlled by the DEA and FDA and deals strictly with the potential abuse of listed substances by humans; it has no counterpart in the doggie world.
I’ve worked with and met many dogs in my lifetime and recognize the need for a similar controlled substances list for them. So I propose the adoption of the CCSA or Canine Controlled Substances Act. Retaining a structure similar to its human counterpart, I believe that Schedule II substances are most in need of definition. Schedule II substances are defined by the following:
- The substance or item has currently accepted uses but should be regarded as possibly addictive.
- Abuse of the drug or item can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
- Substance or item should only be dispensed by humans who understand the possible deleterious effects and can recognize signs of addiction.
The sheer number of items that need to be added to this list is daunting. To better classify items separate categories need to be created in each schedule. The first category proposed is fetched items.
Schedule II Category A: Fetched Items
Fetch can be used as an effective tool to burn off energy and provide mental and physical stimulation. It is particularly effective for use in dogs with a high play/prey drive but subject to addiction within those same dogs.
In the wild dogs would only engage in this type of activity possibly a handful of times a day. But a domestic dog can engage in this behavior over and over again. It becomes a self-reinforcing activity that can lead to a major addiction.
Symptoms of addiction include…
- Stupor: A classic sign of addiction. Often you will see the dog lying down with the item firmly held in its mouth. The eyes will be completely glazed over and fixed. There may be some form of clamping and unclamping of the object by the dog and may appear to be convulsive. The salivary response may also appear to be in overdrive as copious amounts of slobber coat the object and floor.
- Mania: Another classic sign that displays itself in many ways. Jumping, spinning, dancing, prancing, yipping, yapping, and yelping nonstop until the item is thrown. Think Richard Simmons after drinking 5 gallons of coffee and you get the picture.
- Refusal to Stop: Often the addicted dog will refuse to stop fetching. Unless the item is taken away, the dog will continually drop the item at your feet or push it into your hand to initiate the fetch. Highly addicted dogs will even go find another item for you to fetch should you take the original away.
- Sulking: Often addicts will become depressed after a session of fetch has stopped or if a fetch is refused.
Items of Concern
In order to populate this list I am asking for suggestions from the dog loving public at large. Please format your suggestions per the following example.
Item: Tennis Ball
Group at Risk: All dogs in general and retrievers in specific. Labrador Retrievers may be genetically predisposed to this addiction.
Signs of Addiction: Addicted dogs will pester mercilessly for the fetch to begin. They may dance, nudge, or continually drop the ball at your feet. Attempts to stop the fetch session are met with the same types of behavior in order to keep the fetch going. After the fetch, the addict can be seen lying on the floor in pool of slobber. A blank stare accompanied by spasmodic contractions of the jaw with the ball still in its mouth are common affectations.
Please help me by adding your suggestions to this list in the form of a comment here. By identifying these possibly addictive substances we can alert other dog owner of possible pitfalls and save them from a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome due to repetitive throwing.