two cats

Shift your focus away from correcting this bad behavior. Your cat needs to defecate on fabric? You can make peace and live without poop! Tune in at 6 PM Mountain Time on Thursday, October 15 for my Facebook Live on healthy management of feline fecal soiling. I’ll be ready for questions.

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dogs dominance

You need to establish dominance over your dog so he’ll know that you’re in charge. Ah, no, you don’t. Dogs are not man’s and woman’s best friends because they fear us. In fact, they love us when our leadership inspires trust and security. Tune in at 6 PM Mountain Time on Thursday, October 1 for…

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panicked puppy

Crying, scratching at the door, chewing furniture and woodwork – these are not the behaviors you were looking for when you fell in love with that cute, wriggling puppy. You’ll need to practice kindness and patience to get through this. You also need a plan.

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photo of a cat sleeping in a bed

Yowling, urinating, maybe even some in-the-crate defecating: Are we having fun yet? The anxiety and misery our traveling cats feel, often on the way to the veterinary clinic, needs to light-up. Opting-out of medical care shortens lives. Tune in at 6 PM Mountain Time on Thursday, September 10 for my Facebook Live. I’ll be ready…

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Chronic arthritis, surgery, bad teeth, back and neck pain – lots of cats and dogs suffer. There are safe, modern treatments that can make a big difference. Know what to look for and how to help. Tune in at 6 PM Mountain Time on Thursday, September 3 for my Facebook Live. I’ll share an update…

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competing dogs

Can’t you just share some love or a snack without all the pushing, shoving, or maybe even a growl or worse? You can but your canine leadership will need some refinement. Keep your dogs in line without hurting anyone’s feelings. Tune in at 6 PM Mountain Time for my Facebook Live. I’ll be ready for…

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aging dogs video

By the time they’re reached their golden years most dogs have pretty good bathroom etiquette. If they start leaving urine and stool around the house, it’s a problem. Tune-in to my Facebook Live to find out what to do about these unplanned deposits.

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dog looking through fence

Tunneling, climbing, running off – OMG! Raise the fence? Electric wire? Let’s figure out why this is happening and help your good dog stay home and succeed. Serious anxiety needs serious care.

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Do you live in a litter pan? OK, not really – but does it feel that way when you find cat urine around the house? I feel your pain; one of my cats is prone to this odious behavior. Nobody’s happy. Let’s get serious.

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video dogs who bite

It’s so upsetting getting bitten by a dog you love. Should you punish? What happens when the trust is lost? Maybe another home would be better – or not? Don’t make a final decision until you understand the facts. I’ll share some strategies.  

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canine anxiety

Panting, pacing, licking, pesky – you’re not alone. Our dogs do the same things when they get wiggy. Anxiety is more than miserable; left uncontrolled it causes internal physical disease. A great dog who panics can become defensive. You can help both of you feel better.

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More than miserable, blistering summer days can bring dangerous hot spots and a failure of normal panting to release body heat. Keeping our dogs safe and comfortable is about more than ventilation and air conditioning. It’s not hard if you understand the problems.

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canine aggression video

A great friendship can go bad. Aggression between family dogs is common. And the person in-charge doing their best to break it up and make it work can make it worse and get hurt. We can help most of these angry dogs but not with reprimands and punishment.

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COVID19 doesn’t scare our cats but they might get wiggy when we return to work. They thought we were home for good. Finding themselves without us all day could trigger some rather stressful and messy separation behaviors.

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When dog people return to work some pets will wig-out. Anxious before stay-at-home orders they’ve now become accustomed to our secure presence. Your returning to work may cause a dog with separation distress to destabilize and lose control. You can get ahead of this now. It isn’t hard to do.  

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two cats

Cats can be cranky, pesky, and a bit snarky with other pets. Scolding and water spraying doesn’t teach them better behavior. Instead of reacting badly, kitties can have fun with their people by working for clicks and food.

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leash aggression

Out-of-control lunging, barking, and growling! OMG! You’re doing your best to control the mayhem but nothing changes. And besides, punishment is no fun for anybody. Dogs need to do something else instead – like working for their leader. They can change. And we can make it fun.

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aggression on leash video

A dog who obeys fast and reliably can overcome the urge to lunge and bark and lose its mind on leash walks. What if your dog automatically looked to you – instead of reacting aggressively to people and other dogs? Let’s get you both educated.

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dog on leash

The leash walk – you’re only way of getting the heck out of the house – can be maddening and maybe even unsafe. Just seeing another creature causes your dog to growl and lurch, risking a human face plant. Jerk the leash and yell? There’s no future in it. You’re miserable, your dog is stressed,…

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anxious dog

We love our pets like little people in furry suits – that’s the way I feel about mine. But if we’re going to get the calm behavior we want we need to speak their language. That includes predictability. If your dog has an anxiety problem – like so many people do right now, that pupster…

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cat in a box

Good cats can go bad when petted. Yell at him? Hose him? Just give up on sharing affection with a kitty you love? Much better – find out why a sweet cat would do such a thing and manage the cause. It may not be behavioral – or it might.

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child with dogs

Kids and pets – What a great way of bringing out the best in children with emotional or behavioral challenges! But there may be stresses to the dog and risks to the child. You can get it right for everybody but you’ll need to recognize the clues.

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You’ve found the perfect pet for someone really special. In your mind you can already see them together! Watching the wriggling box get unwrapped and that look of astonishment and glee – well, it doesn’t get much better than that. Pets can change lives – but not every surprise goes well. Everybody’s needs matter. Let’s…

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large breed dog by the water

A twisted stomach, filling with gas is a painful medical and surgical emergency. If you have a large breed, deep chested dog you need the facts on bloat, also called gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV).

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Our pets bring us so much joy when they’re active and playful. When these characters are at peace, I am too. But if they have pain or if they struggle with anxiety when home alone something needs to be done to help them feel better. We now have what it takes – and we can…

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Cat urine on the rug (yuck), on the sofa (eewww), on your bed (OMG!!!) How about a kitty who howls and yowls when she can’t find you? Beyond the urine messes your cat may be seriously wigged-out when you’re gone. Separation anxiety is a beastly problem for cats.

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Pugs, Boston terriers, bulldogs and their short-faced brethren have strong bonds with their people. That’s a good thing for everybody in part because these dogs can face physical challenges. Give them the right care and they can breathe well and enjoy healthy skin. And they’ll still be mighty cute.

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Anxiety can be crippling. If one of us doesn’t have a major problem with intense worry we know someone who does. It’s the most common behavior disorder of humans – and pets too. Anxiety is overwhelming; it can drive a pet and its people crazy. But there is safe help. Nobody should have to live…

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Does your cat hate kids? Can you turn that around – safely? You can teach your kids how to stay safe and how to set a cat up for success. Should they approach quietly or wait for the kitty to come to them? I’ll share the do’s and don’ts.

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Adoption Isn’t for Everybody. Some dogs with feral backgrounds are so terrified that defensive aggression is easily triggered. Others try to hide or escape. There are undomesticated dogs who can learn that good things come from people they trust.

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Normal Aging? Dementia? Barking, pacing, clingy, soiling? Older dogs and cats who cry, act lost, and stare at walls are not normal. We can help but our best improvements are in early cases. Learn to notice the first signs in dogs and cats over age 10. Advanced senility can improve.

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More commonly seen in young, often female dogs, they roll onto their sides, may raise one rear leg, and dribble. You, the pet parent, are the Grand Poobah for your dog. Excitement/submissive urine soiling occurs only when you make your grand entrance.

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Snuggle Bunnies? Predators? If they’re close to losing impulse control they might actually communicate. Hissing, growling, spitting, ears back, pupils dilated – Cats in this mindset need space. Keep all interactions slow and gentle.

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They’re good listeners too Why do dogs follow commands like sit and stay if they don’t understand English? When we speak are dogs processing the words we are saying, or the tone we are using? Our dogs don’t miss anything, even though they don’t understand everything.

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You’re invited to my Facebook Live event called Holiday Worries for Jangled Pets. I’ll share valuable methods for keeping pets peaceful and avoiding hazards on Wednesday, December 19 at 6 PM MDT. You’ll have lots of time to ask me questions. Go to facebook.com/drjeffnichol   JP would scratch and bite his person anytime she tried…

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During Luna’s first weeks she missed out on gentle social exposures, causing her to be afraid when approached by anyone. Well-meaning human attempts to make friends triggered defensive lunging and snapping. You can side-step fearful encounters for your puppy by providing the kid with choices. Let your puppy choose to interact when he is ready.…

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Some dogs can be pushy, pesky, and demanding of attention. It’s an annoying problem, often related to anxiety. What begins as attention-seeking can end up as play-related aggression. This causes anxiety for some dogs; others may believe their person is just playing. If the dog has a lot of pent-up energy like this one she…

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Avoid the Mess: Set your Cats Up for Success – The scent of urine in all the wrong places is a drag on everybody’s wellbeing – your cats’ and yours too. They need easy access to clean litter pans because they really hate stepping around in a stinky soggy mess, holding their little noses to…

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dogs

A peaceful existence is difficult for a lot of us in today’s world. Strife and acrimony should be rare. For a canine senior called Grace, getting up and around is becoming increasingly difficult; she has a bad back and structurally incorrect knees. But she runs and sniffs and eats and plays with the other free-ranging…

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puppy house training video

Housetraining can feel like such a challenge that many people just give up and mop up. You can get so completely flummoxed and frustrated that you lose their patience. You can teach your spiffy new puppy – in just one day – where to find the dog bathroom. He’ll learn that all good things come…

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So what can you do if the dog who’s stolen your heart damages your house while you’re away-often? If you have a dog like this you can feel desperate. Dogs with separation anxiety can actually look forward to their alone time because that will be their chance to engage their innate survival instincts. I hope…

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Cats scratching furniture

It would seem logical to correct or punish a destructive cat but these apparently nefarious acts are actually part of the normal feline behavioral repertoire. Feliscratch is a synthetic analogue of the scratching pheromone that cats feel compelled to spread around their territories. Applying liquid Feliscratch, where you want your cat to scratch, will communicate…

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Teach her that good things come from the man in her life Some dogs are genetically programmed with low-status personalities. They can lose the heebie jeebies if a man ignores them as he drops a few small bits of tasty food. After he repeats this dozens of times he can reach down with a tender…

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Aggressive cat in veterinary clinic

This is the story of Sherman, a well-loved cat with long-standing defensive-aggression in veterinary clinics. It was so bad that his people quit taking him for routine wellness exams. As a result his kidney failure wasn’t diagnosed until its advanced stage. It wasn’t that Sherman’s people didn’t feel that medical care was important; he just…

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Dogs Lightening Phobia

Dogs who freak-out during storms, fireworks, and airborne events like the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta have true phobias. There’s nothing logical about these fears. Just like humans with unfounded anxieties, these pets need special consideration. Hiding, trembling, and nervous panting indicate serious misery. Kindness is called for in big doses. These poor dogs are in survival…

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Sharing your life with a great dog is a lot like any important relationship. Social skills matter.  Behavioral research understands this. Puppies do better in life if they stay with their mothers and litter mates until the age of 5-7 weeks. Picking the right breed is important too but remember that everybody is a unique…

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Our dogs are special to us. None of us wants there to be any problem. They need to stay well and enjoy a great long life with us. If you learn to examine your own dog at home and you’ll be able to uncover concerns early so they can be checked out by your veterinarian.…

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This is the story of a cat I named Faith. She was important not just because we loved her but because she taught some important lessons. A box was pushed into the arms of Martha, our front office manager. Inside was a shorthaired brown tabby cat with a mangled and bleeding lower jaw. When Martha…

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Pets who eat nonfood items can pay a big price for their curiosity. Swallowed linear foreign material, like yarn, ribbon, or dental floss, can saw holes in the intestinal wall leading to septic peritonitis. We can protect these little guys by cat–proofing the house. Keep an eye out for innocent but potentially harmful household items.…

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Pets who age gracefully bring comfort to their doting pet parents. But not all of them do well in their golden years. Some get dementia that their families mistake for normal aging. Alzheimer’s disease is pretty common in older people. The symptoms of dementia and the unhealthy brain changes seen in some older dogs are…

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There are important reasons to keep a close eye on our cats. They tend to hide their illnesses and injuries. It’s just who they are. Their genetically programmed reality puts the responsibility for their well-being on their people. Cats are wonderful pets but in many respects they are very different than we are. Unlike people…

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Jumping up can be an annoying behavior. It can also be dangerous if a big dog jumps up on children or elderly people. You can punish, reprimand, or correct a dog who does this but you can damage the relationship. And some dogs think that people are playing with them when they are pushed off.…

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I know that this is a rather lofty title but, heck, I really love dogs. The dog in my family’s life is an absolutely wonderful, but imperfect, Border Collie named Peter Rabbit. The only thing that is perfect about this dog is that he is perfectly goofy and for a family that includes two barbarians,…

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Is this possible? Can you choose the great feline friend who will be the faithful excellent companion you have always wanted? I think you can but there are many “ifs” involved. This is an issue that is both simple and rather complicated all at once. I’d like to start by asking whether you are a…

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