Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
What is "The stubborn donkey syndrome"?

What is "The stubborn donkey syndrome"?

A weird phenomenon that can cause serious problems

If you are wondering what stubborn donkey syndrome is, I promise I will tell you, but first I would like to share a few things and three stories with you.

I have reached the end of my trip to Europe, the UK, the Czech Republic and Germany. One of the goals of the trip was to take another step in launching a European warehouse, which will allow our overseas dog lovers to get their products without the exorbitant customs fees. 

Second, travel usually allows me to reset and get out of the routine, which usually results in what I jokingly call an idea diarrhea. It seems that whenever I change the setting, my brain capacity seems to be cleared and new ideas come hurling in. While I was away, I wrote several articles, one on the 10 reasons why turmeric is good for dogs and the other one on one of the most damaging treatments in dogs.

My intention today is to talk about a problem that is not really a disease, but still seriously damages the health of millions of dogs around the world. But, before I get to dogs I want to tell you three short stories. Two about my friends and one about a dog

The first story 

This story is about a friend and his wife. Let's call them Betty and Dieter.

I knew Betty for a long time before she married Dieter and she is great friend and fun to be around, except that she is also a big complainer. For more than a decade, Betty complained about her hay fever and allergies. As a cured former hay fever sufferer, I took every opportunity to nudge my friend to what works super well - diet change, no dairy, no gluten and to go through a detox. 

Every time I started, it seemed as hopeless as trying to get over the Berlin Wall in the Cold War era. Fast forward to present, to my visit with Betty on this trip. She looked great, felt amazing and had no allergies in the middle of the pollen season!

What happened was that Betty found an herbalist who told her to guess what - change her diet, eat no dairy, no gluten and go through a detox.

We had a laugh and then Betty said: "I had to learn this all myself..."

The second story 

The next story is about a dog, let's call her Maggie. Maggie's people and I have been friends for a long time. In fact, Maggie and my previous dog, Skai, had been great friends for years. When they were little, Maggie's "parents" often complained that her coat was not as nice as Skai's and I also saw that her bone and muscle development was less than ideal. 

For several years, I tried to convince my friends to take her off kibble, put her on raw meat, vegetables and raw bones, but failed terribly. I was just about to give up completely when my friend victoriously announced: "Guess, what, I am switching Maggie to raw food, the lady that works in the magazine store said it was good!"

We both laughed. My degree and twenty years of veterinary practice weren’t enough until the magazine lady tipped the scale!

The third story

This last story is about Dieter, who you know from Betty's story. Dieter is a very successful self-made businessman. He is smart, charming and focused. A few years ago, he started getting eczema around his eyes. Doctors have been prescribing him harmful corticosteroid creams that stopped working. I proposed Skin Spray and surprisingly it relieved the symptoms. At the same time, I knew a topical spray for a skin problem is more of a band-aid than a cure. Skin problems or skin allergies are usually a sign of poor diet, diet deficiencies and nutrient imbalance and toxicity. In fact, skin is an expression of multiple factors involving the skull and spine alignment, hormonal issues and the list could go on.

However, my goal is not a lecture in dermatology. Instead, I'll let you guess what happened next.

I suggested Dieter see a human homeopath who is brilliant and could help. He booked an appointment, then he canceled it and never booked it again.

Instead, I see him, sitting every morning and evening with two round cotton pads stuck to the skin around the eyes, looking like the sequel to E.T.  His time is yet to come.

There are hundreds and thousands and millions of such stories around the world. It seems that the human species has a natural tendency to learn the hard way. Many people have the undying teenage spirit of resisting or going the other way however well meant, gentle and diplomatic the advice is.

Many people from our community tell me about their trials when trying to help their friends or family’s dogs. Kibble, vaccines, drugs and steroids often cause serious damage and when potentially life-extending or even life-saving info comes, many people act like stubborn donkeys.

I too used to be much more strong-headed than I am now. I have been very lucky because seeing how often people refuse good advice made me be aware of stubbornness and keep it at bay.

This is not to say that I do not choose what I trust and what I don’t, but if the person has experience and expertise in a particular area, I make sure to make a note and check it out. 

There is this funny joke circulating the Internet. A man is in the middle of a severe flood. He is floating down the wild river, someone offers him a life vest, a boat and helicopter tries to pick him up, but every time he refuses, saying the same thing - that God was going to save him.

When he drowned and God welcomed him at the gate, he asked God, why he didn't save him. Good replied: "Are you kidding me, I sent you a life vest, a boat and a helicopter, but you refused every time!"

I guess these stories are a lesson for all of us. If you care about a dog or a person, trying to help is not a waste of time. Some people and dog lovers may be ready to hear you and your advice will make a huge difference in their lives. 

However, if you run into the "Berlin wall" of stubbornness and resistance, do not see it as your failure. Even the fall of the iron curtain had to happen at the right, ripe time.

What you can do for certain is to be aware of your tendencies. Do you accept advice or do you often learn the hard way? 

The key to your dog's health is your open mind and continuous learning from those you trust. Oh, one more thing! Make sure that you beware of the stubborn donkey syndrome.

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.



Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping