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Thunder, Lightning and Barometric Pressure

By Carolyn Kocman Owners and caretakers can almost always recognize phobia related behaviors. Shaking, drooling, panting, restlessness, pacing, clinging to owners and hiding are all fairly overt and recognizable behaviors that can be triggered by such things as loud noises or thunderstorm activity. Immediate Recommendations for Panicking Dogs There are a number of things pet owners can do to comfort an animal that is in the throes of phobia related behavior. What follows is a list of more immediate recommendations. These are not tips on modifying the behavior and should… Continued

Compulsivity and the Dog

Since humans are unable to ascertain the aspect of a disorder in an animal that deals with obsessing, animals are not generally given the diagnosis of OCD. However, it is completely possible that a pet can have a compulsive disorder. Compulsive behaviors include behaviors that are induced by conflict or frustration, behaviors that are displaced (displayed at inappropriate times), redirected behavior (acted out on a different target), vacuum activity (self-directed), and stereotypies (Landsberg, Hunthausen, and Ackerman, 1997). Abnormal behaviors often stem from an animal’s inability to adequately cope within its environment.… Continued

What New Pet Owners May Not Know

I recently came across an article in which the author spoke about why people give up exotic birds…and it got me thinking. According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner. Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5%… Continued

Cats in a Dog’s World

Cats communicate in a variety of ways. Those of us who are most familiar with canines can often have difficulty differentiating the signals that cats send in attempts to communicate their intent. While many of us prefer to work with dogs, it is often the case that the canines with whom we work come from homes with a variety of pets, including cats. Therefore, it is advantageous for even “dog people” to understand feline communication. Like dogs, cats will often communicate through the use of the position and motion of… Continued

The Importance of Socialization for the Young Animal

Humans take years to learn socialization skills. In the process of growing from infant to adulthood, the human takes more than 20 years for his or her brain to fully develop. Yet during this time there is much socialization that is taking place. How different it is for animals that have far shorter lifespans than their human counterparts. Typically smaller dogs have a greater life expectancy with some breeds living more than 15 years –and some living into their 20s. Larger dogs, however, have a shorter life expectancy. Great Danes… Continued

A Dog’s World

Do dogs see in color or black and white? How did my dog know that a thunderstorm was coming? Why does my dog bark when no one is there? How curious the dog’s world must be for them to respond so differently to their surroundings than we would often expect. Though we share the same surroundings, dogs perceive their environment quite differently than humans do. To begin to understand these creatures, we must try to wrap our heads around how they perceive their environment. Having a clear concept of the… Continued

Pet Professionals: Keeping It Objective

A dog’s behavior can many times cause the owner to experience feelings of embarrassment or even failure. Such feelings can be detrimental in the trainer/behavior consultant-client relationship and can certainly adversely affect the outcome of any training protocols that are put into place. When owners shut down or withhold information, behavior professionals will lack the necessary information with which to proceed. Yet while information obtained from an owner can be patchy, subjective, and even anthropomorphic in nature, owners are in fact the greatest source of information regarding their animal’s behavior… Continued