Albuquerque Journal Articles

Lascivious Neutered Cat

By drjeffnichol | August 8, 2022 | Comments Off on Lascivious Neutered Cat

Why? Fix it! Question: What do you do about a cat acting out sexually? We’ve had Sebastian “Basti”, 20 months old, for a year. He was neutered at 8 months. He’s very sweet but recently he has started humping my bedding, my clothes, and he attempts to hump me. He bites the object on its surrogate neck and does pelvic thrusts and butt flutters. Frankly, it’s off-putting. Basti gets along with our other 2 cats. They climb trees and play in our large yard. Dr. Nichol: Butt flutters, eh? Ahem. A delicate subject indeed, although not for Basti. He is…

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Unruly Young Dog can Learn to Behave

By drjeffnichol | July 5, 2022 | Comments Off on Unruly Young Dog can Learn to Behave
Australian shepherd

A Head Halter is a Great Leadership tool Question: I read the post on your facebook page about the Pyrenees/Anatolian shepherd and felt an instant kinship! Our 1 year old Aussie shepherd is driving us nuts. In addition to nuisance barking at everything that moves, tearing around the house and the yard like a crazy bull in a china shop, she barks and lunges at strangers when I take her for walks. People cross the street to avoid her. She has not bitten anyone, but jumped on and scratched a lady, and now I’m worried about taking her to a…

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Weathering the storm

By drjeffnichol | June 13, 2022 | Comments Off on Weathering the storm

Second in a series Cheryl contacted me as soon as she and Michael were hit by the first wave of bad news. I learned long ago that what people in this fragile state need most is a brief sympathetic remark like, “Oh, gee”. They don’t need assurances that life will go on, platitudes like, “it’s better to have loved and lost”, or even, “tell me how you’re feeling”. They need us to shut up and listen – with kindness and empathy. My job was to support these folks as the bottom fell out of their life with Poupon, the pet…

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Puppy Heebie Jeebies

By drjeffnichol | May 30, 2022 | Comments Off on Puppy Heebie Jeebies
Baby Mick

Last in a series Be ready for your excellent new pupster’s grand entrance. Have a covered crate for nighttime sleeping, food-dispensing toys, and a drag line (6 foot leash the kid will drag from her collar). Puppy food and a water bowl will also come in handy. These little tykes are not born knowing how stay safe or come when called, so bring a leash and a collar (no prongs or chokers, please) on adoption day. Just like people enduring a stressful time, canine babies need gentle handling and connectedness when facing the overwhelming changes of leaving the only lives…

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Mick & his Chick

By drjeffnichol | May 30, 2022 | Comments Off on Mick & his Chick
Mick and his Chick

We picked our boy Mick, in part because he has a social nature. It turns out that he’s never met a stranger. Mick visits this hen on a daily basis. Maybe she’s his chick. We shouldn’t ask; it’s really none of our business.

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The short list of applicants. Who looks best?

By drjeffnichol | May 23, 2022 | Comments Off on The short list of applicants. Who looks best?
Puppy litter

Third in a series Have you chosen your own spouse or life partner? How about your friends? Me too. These relationships are imperfect but, gee, I would still never allow someone else to assign my friends to me. Don’t let anybody ask questions about your life and personality and then tell you which puppy should be your best friend. Just say, “Thank you. Have a nice day.” And then move on to a puppy source that will stand back and stay out of your way. You will be more than your dog’s reliable friend; you will be its leader. This…

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So Many Cute Puppies – Where Do You Start?

By drjeffnichol | May 16, 2022 | Comments Off on So Many Cute Puppies – Where Do You Start?
Puppy litter photo

Many puppies are gifted with perfect homes. We love that. Sadly, some are the wrong fit from the get-go. When planning to puppy pick start with common sense. If you are not a robust physical specimen or if you have a small yard, get a small dog. A human couch potato and a mountain climber should be looking for different sizes and personalities. Puppy temperament testing is supported by science but it’s controversial, including among veterinary behaviorists. A lot can change in those developing, immature canine brains. Who knows what behaviors may lurk now and appear later? There are no…

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Doing Down – How Much Better?

By drjeffnichol | May 16, 2022 | Comments Off on Doing Down – How Much Better?
Down step 2 thumbnail

Mick is getting clear on the concept of “Down” on command but he still needs a little hint so he can succeed every time. There’s no point in putting an early skill to a test too soon. After a canine student of any age has the idea, the food lure can be a partial movement. After a dog gets that right, you can repeat with just a tiny movement of the treat toward the ground. His enthusiasm shows that he has no anxiety about this. Mick will be ready for the command without the food next. One baby step at-a-time,…

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Puppies are Cool & Complicated

By drjeffnichol | May 9, 2022 | Comments Off on Puppies are Cool & Complicated

First in a series Adopting a baby dog isn’t the only way to bring a member of this excellent species into your life but if you decide to take this path you’ll need to be prepared. Raising youngsters, canine or human, is not for the faint of heart. We dog leaders (call us dog owners or pet parents if you prefer) have a whole lot of influence on how our puppies develop and who they turn out to be. They are not, however, a blank slate on the day they ride home with us. Just like the color of their…

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Wild & Exuberant – Punish? Yell? A New Skill?

By drjeffnichol | May 9, 2022 | Comments Off on Wild & Exuberant – Punish? Yell? A New Skill?
Target training

Out-of-control behavior in a dog of any age can drive you crazy. Reprimands and physical corrections teach nothing, except more intense agitation. Instead, you can “redirect” your kid to earn an immediate reinforcer (a click) and a food reward. She’d much work for you than annoy you anyway. Here is step 1 of target and clicker training.

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