Albuquerque Journal Articles

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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Cougar Still Attacks

By drjeffnichol | May 2, 2022 | Comments Off on Cougar Still Attacks
cat toy

Last in a series And Stays in His Home Mary Beth was committed to bringing out the best in “Cougar”, not to mention her vested interest in her own safety. Getting perforated on her way out the door had never been on her bucket list. On my advice she purchased some challenging food-dispensing toys that she loaded with tasty canned food. Allowing her cat to get good and hungry ahead of her departures made it easy. He attacked those simulated rodent carcasses with a vengeance, leaving his caring, calculating caretaker free to get herself gussied up for a rousing game…

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Taming the Dangerous Feline Predator

By drjeffnichol | April 25, 2022 | Comments Off on Taming the Dangerous Feline Predator
cat lurking

Third in a series Sharing stories of “Cougar’s” good behavior while living at their old house helped Mary Beth, his caring person, to relax. I told her that she really did have a good cat, despite his aggression. It was hard for him to live indoors in their new studio apartment, missing the thrill of the hunt of those furtive outdoor creatures of his previous backyard. He was struggling to adapt but I believed I could help Mary Beth tame her wild beast and get out of her apartment alive. I picked my moment and finally asked, when did Cougar…

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Your Dog Digs Where???

By drjeffnichol | April 25, 2022 | Comments Off on Your Dog Digs Where???
digging puppy

Digging dogs can damage a great yard. Don’t punish; it’s normal behavior. Instead, give that dirt dog its very own wonderful digging box. Make it attractive by loosening the dirt, misting with water, and burying tasty, challenging food-dispensing toys. Everybody wins.

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Cat Be Gone or Cat Behave?

By drjeffnichol | April 18, 2022 | Comments Off on Cat Be Gone or Cat Behave?
cat on a skateboard

Second in a series Aggression is never acceptable, especially toward the frail and vulnerable. The science of animal behavior would be central to “Cougar’s” treatment but the elderly lady on the receiving end of his assaults struggled with conflicting emotions that were every bit as important. Cougar had always been a loving kitty toward Mary Beth – until they moved into an assisted living apartment. Now, rather than just a fish out of water, this pussy cat was a predator in desperate need of a rodent. Cats are popular pets because they seem easier to manage than dogs, chimpanzees, or…

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Teaching “Down” – Step 1

By drjeffnichol | April 18, 2022 | Comments Off on Teaching “Down” – Step 1
teaching down pt 1

Dogs love to work for food. You don’t need to push a puppy to ground. Give the “Down” command as you use a treat, as a lure, to show that kid what you want. When Mick “follows the money” he earns the payoff. You’ll know when your dog is catching on because she’ll start dropping when she hears the command. Then give her the food when she’s completed the job. Take baby steps with the babies.

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Cat Attack

By drjeffnichol | April 11, 2022 | Comments Off on Cat Attack

First in a series The soft female voice on the phone told a poignant story. She wasn’t calling about her own pet but for her 83 year old mother and her cat. “Cougar”, age 10, was inflicting wounds on the person who loved and cared for him. Emotional conflicts like this always affect me. Good relationships that take a bad turn can break hearts. Cougar hadn’t always been a biter but now he was causing Mary Beth pain and putting her at risk of serious infection. When she adopted him as a kitten they had a yard where Cougar engaged…

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Tag Team at Aztec?

By drjeffnichol | April 11, 2022 | Comments Off on Tag Team at Aztec?
puppy kindergarten

Puppy kindergarten teaches healthy play during the sensitive period of socialization. Mick and his BFF (Welsh corgi) wrestle with wild abandon. A fun loving pug considers joining the fun and then says, “Ah, no. I’ll find a kinder, gentler smack down.” For all the juvenile canine fisticuffs and trash talking no one ever gets hurt. They’re all delighted to have another go next week. Aztec Animal Clinic gets it right.

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