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Recently there have been a number of threads where advice has been given that is well above and beyond people simply sharing their own experiences.........

Internet forums are great places to meet people and exchange ideas. Sometimes, however, advice is given that is just plain wrong or downright dangerous. As moderators, our job is not to ensure the quality and accuracy of the advice people give each other. As forum members, we put in our own two cents when we agree or disagree just like everyone else on the board [and try to keep the place clean-cut and polite]

That said, here are some considerations when evaluating the advice of a poster or when you give advice.

You should know your source. Everyone can be an "expert" on the internet and people are sometimes not honest about their own lack of experience or knowledge. Often, this is not intentional deception but folks simply not realizing their own limitations. We all go through phases where first we know nothing, then we know everything, then we realize we really don't know very much, and finally we realize we do know more than we thought we knew.

If someone is an excellent writer, he may confound you with his "knowledge" while taking you down a wrong and possibly dangerous path. Often the most knowledgeable folks have the least to say as they are not interested in hearing themselves talk. Often the least knowledgeable want to make sure you know just how much they know and care more about their own ego than you or your dog.

Ideally, someone giving advice (as opposed to someone sharing their own personal experiences and opinions) should have a real name and verifiable credentials and not stand as an anonymous person.

Time on the board and number of posts do not make an expert.

It is always nice when people give information to back up their assertions, such as links to journal or legitimate magazine articles. And even linked information, such as blogsites etc., can be fraught with errors.

Look for some level of consensus, particularly if an idea seems "out there". It IS true that some of the great ideas of all time are outside of the norm, but most of the paths we go down with training and feeding and caring for dogs are pretty well traveled. Just realize when something is "out there" and do more research on your own to back it up. You are responsible for deciding if the advice you have been given is credible.

When you are dealing with a medical issue, especially an urgent one, SEE A VET. When you are dealing with a serious temperament issue, GET TO A TRAINER. Use the board to help you get ideas and suggestions for selecting these folks and for questions to raise as you talk with them, but go to someone who can actually see your dog, diagnose the problem and help you fix it.

When you are giving advice, please just give it and let others give theirs. The board is not a pulpit for people to preach their ideas alone to the exclusion of others but a place for sharing of ideas. Please also don't jump on new members for not knowing everything, including how to spell "shepherd". People come here to get advice and not be insulted.

It is also very sad when a thread goes down the drain because a "war" between two posters diverts attention from the original post and becomes about the two arguing personalities.

If we can check out egos at the door, we might realize that we ALL have things we can share and things we can learn here.
 
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:thumbup:
 

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Nancy - Could you please make this post a sticky?
 

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I think that's one of the best posts I've read on here :D and I agree it should be a sticky :)
it's easy to be an "expert" on a forum!

Now lemme see if I can find that "rating" button LOL
 

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Twyla, that is a great idea.....and Nancy, thank you for such a great post~ I rated it 5 *'s!
 

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I take all advise with a grain of salt and I don't give any cause I'm new to this! However, if anyone needs advise about women, fishing, or beer ask me as I'm an expert in these fields!
 

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Recently there have been a number of threads where advice has been given that is well above and beyond people simply sharing their own experiences.........

Internet forums are great places to meet people and exchange ideas. Sometimes, however, advice is given that is just plain wrong or downright dangerous. As moderators, our job is not to ensure the quality and accuracy of the advice people give each other. As forum members, we put in our own two cents when we agree or disagree just like everyone else on the board [and try to keep the place clean-cut and polite]

That said, here are some considerations when evaluating the advice of a poster or when you give advice.

You should know your source. Everyone can be an "expert" on the internet and people are sometimes not honest about their own lack of experience or knowledge. Often, this is not intentional deception but folks simply not realizing their own limitations. We all go through phases where first we know nothing, then we know everything, then we realize we really don't know very much, and finally we realize we do know more than we thought we knew.

If someone is an excellent writer, he may confound you with his "knowledge" while taking you down a wrong and possibly dangerous path. Often the most knowledgeable folks have the least to say as they are not interested in hearing themselves talk. Often the least knowledgeable want to make sure you know just how much they know and care more about their own ego than you or your dog.

Ideally, someone giving advice (as opposed to someone sharing their own personal experiences and opinions) should have a real name and verifiable credentials and not stand as an anonymous person.

Time on the board and number of posts do not make an expert.

It is always nice when people give information to back up their assertions, such as links to journal or legitimate magazine articles. And even linked information, such as blogsites etc., can be fraught with errors.

Look for some level of consensus, particularly if an idea seems "out there". It IS true that some of the great ideas of all time are outside of the norm, but most of the paths we go down with training and feeding and caring for dogs are pretty well traveled. Just realize when something is "out there" and do more research on your own to back it up. You are responsible for deciding if the advice you have been given is credible.

When you are dealing with a medical issue, especially an urgent one, SEE A VET. When you are dealing with a serious temperament issue, GET TO A TRAINER. Use the board to help you get ideas and suggestions for selecting these folks and for questions to raise as you talk with them, but go to someone who can actually see your dog, diagnose the problem and help you fix it.

When you are giving advice, please just give it and let others give theirs. The board is not a pulpit for people to preach their ideas alone to the exclusion of others but a place for sharing of ideas. Please also don't jump on new members for not knowing everything, including how to spell "shepherd". People come here to get advice and not be insulted.

It is also very sad when a thread goes down the drain because a "war" between two posters diverts attention from the original post and becomes about the two arguing personalities.

If we can check out egos at the door, we might realize that we ALL have things we can share and things we can learn here.
:thumbup:
This thread should be a "sticky".
 

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Also, it should be common sense to ask for evidence when someone makes a claim.

For example, if someone said 95% of all Purple Sable German Shepherds have heart disease I would be asking to SEE where they got that number. Statistics, studies, etc.
 

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lol Lauri...I'd get stuck on the PURPLE and just ask for pictures!
 
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I was just discussing this very important matter with our technician intern yesterday. The internet is DANGEROUS. Especially with the younger generation, we are WEAKENED by the internet. We no longer know reliable sources - text books, written studies, etc... And even some recent "knowledgeable" sources are dangerous! Peer review studies are thrown around constantly because they sum up numerous articles into one paper. But you have to check sources, because I've seen some HORRIBLE peer review papers that don't even say the same thing the original article did.

I've seen blogs from "people who use to work in a vets office", one that really comes to mind. A blog about common ways to help with diarrhea. She recommended, because she "use to work in a vets office" 10 years ago (most likely kennels or front desk because a TECHNICIAN would call themselves such), that a dog with diarrhea and/or vomiting be given no food OR WATER for 24 hours. Yes, dogs with diarrhea or vomiting may be directed to fast by a vet, but RARELY not given water, as dehydration is a HUGE concern! And in some cases, like parvo, you WANT them to eat! Because you want them to shed intestinal lining that is harboring the virus!

I'm a CVT that works largely emergency medicine, so I like to look at the medical health questions and see if I can offer some advice. Just like if I were to answer a phone at work, I'm not ALWAYS just going to tell you to come in. I will talk with you about potential causes, things to watch for, etc...

But 9 times out of 10, I WILL tell you to go see a vet! Because you NEED to! and that's not just a "money hungry" statement. So many symptoms can be so many causes, not only is it impossible to give you a rough diagnosis without seeing your pet, it's ILLEGAL!
 

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I think this thread needs to be bumped up again. I see many people giving advice in an absolute manner. The only way to be sure of what is wrong with your pet is to have a vet actually physically examine the animal! Nobody can give a diagnosis over the internet! When in doubt, call your vet!
 

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I'll repeat again too, it is ILLEGAL to give veterinary advice over the phone or Internet without a patient/Dr relationship
 

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I didn't know you were a lawyer. Guess lawyer + GSD = cool
Ok....

It is illegal. Especially people that recommend medications. Like the string of diarrhea threads recently and the recommendation to give something like pepto, which is not safe for dogs and for which there are many safer alternatives.

I can't tell you to give your dog medications over the phone if you call my clinic. A stranger on the Internet definitely can't recommend medications or treatments

And it's illegal for a reason. Not the fact that "you shouldn't do it because it's not allowed". You need to be careful about doing it because it's DANGEROUS. so when your dog comes in with hemorrhagic diarrhea because the pepto Bismol ate a hole through it's stomach, I can't be held liable because I didn't tell a random stranger to give their dog an off label medication with higher risks over the phone.

Or (and trust me I've seen this within the last 2 months) when you call me and tell me that you have a golden retriever mix with mites, and I tell you to give it ivermectin over the phone, and then you bring it in when it can't walk and I look at the dog and instantly see AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD mix, and it's got the mdr1 gene mutation like 50% of aussies do and now it's got a severe toxicosis from the ivermectin....

I've seen people on here throw out horrible recommendations for symptoms that in my professional experience I would call very concerning, just because once upon a time they had a dog that kinda almost did that so it's ok. And very few people on here are professionals therefor very few should be making any kind of medical recommendation
 
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