Dr. Emily Levine is a veterinarian who specializes in behavior problems at Animal Emergency & Referral Associates in Fairfield NJ and she will be blogging about pet behavior topics. www.animalerc.com
For dogs who are hesitant to get on the scale at the veterinary office or to get your dog started off on the right foot so he/she is easy to get onto the scale…implement the following tip:
1. Use an old yoga mat and teach you dog to go to that mat on command to get a treat or to play tug ( whatever your dog likes). Lets assume you use the word cue/command ” go to mat”
2. Once he knows the word cue “go to mat” place the mat on different floor types in the house ( wood floors, carpet, linoleum etc….) and practice the command on these floors. If he does well, take the mat outside and practice on grass, cement etc…
3. Set the yoga mat up on some bricks, books, or a somewhat elevated surface so the dog can practice stepping up onto the mat. Give the command, and reward.
4. Take the yoga mat with you to the vet clinic when you DONT have an appointment and practice getting on the scale ( make sure to give him or her the reward he is expecting!)
5. For your next real vet visit, roll up that yoga mat and take it with you and put in on the scale, give the command and reward your dog as the veterinary tech write down the weight.
If you are a veterinarian or anyone who works in a veterinary office, type this up and make a handout and give it to all of your clients!
A retrospective study looking at problematic behaviors and the age at which the puppy was taken from the litter, found that puppies taken earlier then 8 weeks displayed more behavioral problems that those who remained with the litter for the whole 8 weeks.
In addition, the authors found that puppies in pet stores exhibited more problematic behaviors than puppies from other sources even when they were kept with their litters for the 8 weeks!
Does this mean puppies should remain with their littermates for 8 weeks? It means that they should remain with their littermates for at least 8 weeks! More studies need to be done to really answer this questions but at this time it seems reasonable that no one should remove a puppy from his or her litter until at least 8 weeks and puppies should not be purchased at pet stores.
A couple in South Carolina says they were alerted to a babysitter’s abuse by the family dog, according to HLN affiliate WCSC.
Benjamin and Hope Jordan hired 22-year-old Alexis Khan to babysit their 7-month-old son. After a few months, they noticed their dog acting strangely whenever Khan came to the house. They told WCSC that they “started to notice that our dog was very protective of our son when she would come in the door. He was very aggressive towards her.”
They decided to record what happened when Khan was alone with their son — and what they found shocked them. They say they heard cursing and the sounds of slapping. They went to the authorities and the police arrested Khan. She later confessed. On Monday, Khan pleaded guilty to assault and battery and was sentenced to up to three years in prison, the station reports.
See the full story from our affiliate WCSC here.
Walking down the aisle of any pet store or pet aisle in the grocery store, you will see many different dog treats. As a society, we need to get away from these “dog treats” and start using real food to treat our pets. Rather than giving them junk food dog treats, try giving them some small pieces of fruits or veggies. ( No garlic, onions, grapes or raisins though!). These fresh whole foods are no doubt healthier for our pets than many of the average dog treats available at stores.
My dog likes cucumbers and beets:)
In humans, there is a condition known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. This is a rare disorder in which the heart stops working after an emotionally traumatic event such as loss of a loved one, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, etc…
In wildlife medicine there is a condition known as capture myopathy. This is a condition in which an animal becomes so stressed/frightened that they die after being chased or caught.
I know many of my clients have expressed concerns that their dog is so anxious at times, they fear their dog may have a heart attack. Although, the majority of dogs will not have a heart attack from being anxious, there is in fact a real physiological connection between the mind and the heart. In the conditions mentioned above, there can be a mass release of the fight, flight, freeze, or faint hormones that can have devastating affects on the heart.
Too often, we want a nice clear divide between a “medical” issue and a “behavioral” issue. In reality, there is not always a nice divide. Behavioral issues can lead to physical issues and physical issues can lead to behavioral issues. For those of us who work in the field of behavior, we are well aware that how an animal perceives things can wreak havoc on the animals physical and psychological wellbeing. We are also aware of the benefits of treating anxiety disorders in dogs who have underlying heart issues, in hopes of keeping the heart as healthy as possible for as long as possible while, of course, decreasing the anxiety simply for the welfare of the pet.
For those of you who are intrigued by the similarities between diseases (both physical and emotional) that humans and non human animals share, I would encourage you to read a book called Zoobiguity. One of the authors is a human board certified cardiologist AND psychiatrist.
The week of May 20th is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
In honor of that, I wanted to recommend a scientifically studied DVD that teaches kids how to be safe around dogs. Every parent/teacher/aunt/uncle/grandparent etc…should go to www.thebluedog.org and order the bluedog DVD which has been shown to help educate children about what they should and should not do around dogs. Children whose parents played an active role in going over the DVD with the kids, retained the information better!
Please make sure to use the link given as there are other blue dog companies with behavior information but the link given above is the one with the DVD that has been studied and proven useful.
Why all the fuss?
DID YOU KNOW THAT…….
1. The majority of dog bites to kids occur in the home with their own family dog.
2. Bites to young children often result in facial or neck injuries.
3. 55% of children suffer from PTSD following a substantial bite.
4. 400,000 children are seen in the emergency room due to dog bites per year.
A recent article in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior documented a case of brain swelling and ischemia (insufficient blood flow) in a 1-year-old German Shepherd that was held off the ground using a choke collar as part of training. The dog started to show significant neurological problems and a MRI confirmed brain swelling and ischemia. The dog was euthanized due to the extent of brain damage.
My colleague, Dr. Reisner posted this link a few weeks ago but after one of my recent consults, I can’t stop thinking about my patient. I felt it was important to repost the link. There are forms of training that can be abusive, especially in the hands of the uneducated. There are pros and cons to all training techniques. Knowing which techniques carry the least risk physically and emotionally is imperative when working with animals and in particular animals with aggression, anxiety, compulsive disorders etc….
Physical injuries should never result from ethical use of training methods. Please read the link below. This simply should never have happened. It quite literally turns my stomach.
Please share this post to educate as many people as possible.