Guest Post: Behavior Problems Require Behavior Counseling, Not Training

We live in a fast paced, do-it-now, society and our pets live there right with us. We are stressed out, running around, trying to meet deadlines, both at work and in our lives. Our animals sense our stress. They are so in-tune with us. Think about it, we are their world, so anything that stresses us out, stresses them out. No wonder we see more behavior problems in our pets than ever before. Throw in the indiscriminate breeding practices that are rampant in our country and you can get some pretty messed up pets.

Behavior ProblemsOur society is also one in which we want the quick and easy fix for our pet’s behavior problems but, alas, there is no panacea. It often takes a combination of behavior counseling and drugs, just like in people. Notice I did not say behavior training, because training is NOT behavior counseling. This is a problem I see often. This is a very important point. No shock or pronged collars have ever cured a behavioral issue. They often make things worse and I have seen it happen way too many times. Trainers do a fantastic job at training your dog in obedience and manners. Thank god we have them, but behavior counseling is a whole different beast.

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Podcast: Addressing Problem Behaviors by Dr. Patrick Mahaney

Today’s podcast issue is well, just that...behavioral issues. We’re looking at behavioral modification from both the medical and training angles.

Some of the common concerns Dr. Patrick Mahaney and I tackle are:

  1. Separation anxiety: Separation anxiety is frustrating and there's often no easy fix. What really works? What are the current medication recommendations when training and other behavioral methods don't work. Are there really more anxious pets or are pet anxiety issues just more often diagnosed than they were 10 years ago?
  2. Litterbox issues: With inappropriate urination and defecation being the leading causes of cats being surrendered to shelters, any special tips or tricks you can recommend to owners struggling with litterbox problems?
  3. Canine inappropriate behaviors: What trends are you finding helpful in the management or correction of inappropriate canine behaviors like excessive barking, chewing, digging, scratching, etc?
  4. Finding a trainer: Do you have any "must-have" recommendations for pet parents that are looking for a trainer or behaviorist? What sorts of professionals do you recommend and who should we avoid? (link mentioned: American College of Veterinary Behaviorists)

 

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August is Solving Problem Behavior Month

It wasn’t until we started talking about the idea of “problem behaviors” here in the office that I realized I’ve chalked a lot of my dog Kayden’s behavior issues up to personality quirks. From fear-motivated barking to submissive urination, I’d just shrugged these issues off as “eh, could be worse. Not worth worrying about.”

Kayden Problem Dog BehaviorA “wanted” poster was made by a fellow Embracer after Kayden peed on our office yoga instructor. That’s the definition of embarrassing behavior.

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With a little help from my friends...

Embracer lea with her dogsAs they say, it takes a village to raise a baby, or in this case, a blog. My good friend, Embracer Lea, is going to help out with the Embrace blog so you'll be seeing more of her excellent posts here to keep our content fresh and relevant.

I can't think of anyone more qualified at Embrace to help out with the blog than Lea. She was hired at my kitchen table back in early 2006 when we didn't have an office to speak of (I'm pretty sure my cat Barnes sat on her lap to give encouragement during the interview). She then started off in the Contact Center selling many of you early Embrace family your policies - she really knows our policies from the ground up.

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Podcast: Considering Pet Safety by Dr Patrick Mahaney

Today’s podcast topic is pet safety, which can cover a multitude of areas. Safety in the home, safety interacting with other people and dogs, safety in different environments.

The questions Dr Patrick Mahaney and I tackle are:

  1. Recently a friend told me that it was OK to leave his dog in the car if it was in the shade with the windows down a crack. Can you give us some facts on internal/external temperatures of a car so show that’s just not going to help
  2. Can you talk about the Yellow Dog Project? It’s big out in Colorado
  3. Any suggestions on important first aid type items to keep on hand for your pets? [link mentioned http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pet_first_aid_kit.html] Can you do the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog?
  4. Where’s an official place to get alerted about pet food recalls? Often the press releases are put out late Friday afternoon and I might miss an important one (fda site) [link mentioned www.thetruthaboutpetfood.com]
  5. I have big dogs so don’t crate them in the car. What do you suggest for car safety while traveling? [link mentioned

    http://fidoseofreality.com/car-restraints-dogs-big-lie/]

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