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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Why are Dogs such Animals? I’ve tried Everything!

By drjeffnichol | August 14, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Why are Dogs such Animals? I’ve tried Everything!

Over my career there has been a person as an essential component of every pet I’ve treated. It has been a rare four-legged creature who has walked into my office alone, requesting treatment for diabetes, a fracture, a nasty case of diarrhea, or a serious behavior disorder. They show up with a flesh and blood human in tow, with an emotional, vested interest in their well-being. Many of these pet parents seek help early but some have to dabble in trying to solve it themselves. But that’s just water under the bridge. A veterinarian can only be truly helpful if…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Puppy Planning: Preventing Panic

By drjeffnichol | July 24, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Puppy Planning: Preventing Panic
puppy panic

Reactive Adult Dogs can still Learn Luna’s life with Hope and Brian began with great promise. This busy couple wasn’t ready to start a human family but they loved pets. Apartment living made a small dog a good choice. They’re socially conscious people who wanted to make a difference so off they went to the local shelter in search of a pint-sized canine companion. That’s where a 6 month old Papillion-looking waif stole their hearts. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Well, relationships can be challenging, even with man’s and woman’s best friend. It wasn’t long before Luna’s freak-out moments began to…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Considering a Second Cat? Think Twice

By drjeffnichol | July 3, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Considering a Second Cat? Think Twice
Cats fighting

Cats are a unique species. They’re not 10# people in furry suits and they’re certainly not dogs with short ears. Despite those differences, or maybe because of them, their presence is essential to my wellbeing and maybe to yours too. In fact, I love cats so much I’d adopt more of them but I know how things can go wrong. Does your cat seem lonely? Maybe he’s the sweetest, most playful creature you’ve ever met. And he lives inside and he acts bored sometimes. He would love to have a friend for cuddling and a bit of good-natured rough-housing, right?…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Canine misbehavior is all around us. Everybody needs relief.

By drjeffnichol | June 12, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Canine misbehavior is all around us. Everybody needs relief.
Boston Terrier

Visiting the Grahams was always exciting although, in retrospect, it was usually pretty ordinary. Kenny Graham was a very funny kid, about the same age as my big sister Martha and I were. His family had a dog, a black and white Boston terrier named Buster. I loved that dog and I was sure that he loved me back. Our family didn’t have a dog. I wished we had one – just like Buster. Our visits to Kenny’s family were always on Sunday afternoons. His parents were like June and Ward Cleaver; Kenny was like Beaver. Life was pretty simple.…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals

By drjeffnichol | May 29, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals
dog

This concept would seem to make sense in driving down behaviors we don’t want but it is a truly rare dog who tries to dominate its human leader. In our relationships with our pets, competition for resources (the reason for dominance relationships in a canine social group) is not the issue. While our dogs don’t really challenge us they can certainly get confused. There are sound methods for recognizing the true cause of unhealthy behaviors in pets and for bringing out their best. Leadership should be attained by positive means – rewarding appropriate behaviors and using desired resources as immediate…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Missed the Litter Pan Again? Oh No!

By drjeffnichol | May 15, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Missed the Litter Pan Again? Oh No!
Cat in box

Avoid the Struggle by Setting your Cats Up for Success —     Please raise your paw if you’re OK with cat urine in your house. I didn’t think so. We don’t want it and our kitties don’t either. They don’t stink up our homes because they secretly hate our guts. They’re not spiting their people as retribution for some off-color joke made at their expense. They don’t care that much about what we think anyway. The truth is that most cats who are guilty of this crime suffer serious stress. The scent and presence of urine in the wrong places furthers…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Living Gracefully, Together in a Crowd

By drjeffnichol | April 24, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Living Gracefully, Together in a Crowd

A peaceful existence is difficult for a lot of us in today’s world. There is so much conflict, office politics, lack of acceptance, isolation. It’s almost everywhere you look. Aren’t we considered a “developed” nation? Maybe not. It’s a good thing we have pets. I know a place where strife and acrimony are rare. I’ve been there. Oh, sure, there is the occasional harsh word but it’s over quickly. The inhabitants give each other space. They are like us and they are different. Maybe there is something to be learned. Grace is getting up in years. Actually, getting up and…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Stranded and Alone in the Night

By drjeffnichol | April 3, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Stranded and Alone in the Night
kitten

Lifelines come when they are needed the most Gaston had already been watching us when he called out for help. Rather than panicking and running toward us with abandon he held back a bit, knowing it was a gamble. Still, he had to take a chance. Frank and I and our relaxed but active dog might be his only shot at survival, especially in his current state: wet, cold, thirsty, hungry, and a potential coyote snack. The hike we enjoy most evenings in our semi-rural corner of Albuquerque’s North Valley is equal parts neighborly, agrarian, and, well, a bit wild.…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Use of Punishment in Pet Training

By drjeffnichol | March 20, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Use of Punishment in Pet Training
prong collar

Download a .pdf version of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) position statement on The Use of Punishment. Giving dogs and other creatures a clear reason not to engage in bad behavior would seem like a quick and simple way of solving a problem. But when a dog or cat gets a painful consequence for doing the wrong thing their unmet behavioral needs can be manifest in other, even more unhealthy ways. Punishment is rarely used as part of evidence-based behavior modification in part because it can easily lead to unintended consequences. This position statement, on The Use…

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Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Puppy Housetraining

By drjeffnichol | March 6, 2018 | Comments Off on Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Puppy Housetraining
Puppy on a leash

Puppies are great fun. They run and play and live in the moment, completely uninhibited – including when they get the urge to eliminate. Housetraining can feel like such a challenge that many people just give up and mop up. Others, so completely flummoxed and frustrated that they lose their patience, have resorted to yelling or punishment. We have research-based methods to get this chore accomplished that will do more than keep the stool and urine outside where it belongs. While your shiny new puppy learns where to find the dog bathroom you can also be teaching him that all…

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