Bringing out the best in a cat or dog is a hands-on task. Seeing it in a video is often better than reading it. My goal with these videos is to make behavior management easier to understand and implement.

Friendly porcupine? Uh – oh

By drjeffnichol | January 30, 2023 | Comments Off on Friendly porcupine? Uh – oh

There’s a reason these slow creatures with their prickly personalities are seldom seen. They’re mostly active at night, normally spending the day in trees. They may forage for food during the day but are generally shy around humans. If they get their dander up, their quills show it. Nobody should get away with close contact. So why was this relaxed porcupine moving in my direction? We worry about wild animals that aren’t afraid of us. A behavior change can suggest rabies. Another good reason to keep your distance.

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Bored dog? Barking? Chewing? Digging? What’s his Sport?

By drjeffnichol | January 23, 2023 | Comments Off on Bored dog? Barking? Chewing? Digging? What’s his Sport?
Kick ball still

Dogs in the wild survive by their wits. But as our pets they may live lives of quiet desperation because they can’t engage their natural brains and bodies. I tried fetch games with Mick but he wasn’t interested. Then it occurred to me (Doh!) – he’s a herding dog. We could call this game soccer but it’s all about Mick so he makes the rules. Well, I have one rule. I only kick the ball when he brings it to me. There is much more to Mick’s life. He practices agility and obedience, he runs on the irrigation ditches and…

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Goats: roamers, climbers, and butters

By drjeffnichol | January 9, 2023 | Comments Off on Goats: roamers, climbers, and butters
goats video thumbnail

It was a laid back herd of wild goats who crossed our path, and the road, on St. John island. There was no professional goat herder present; Heidi and her grandfather were nowhere to be found. These critters are not pets but they are safe to be around as long as you don’t bend over. They will butt any unsuspecting head or rear end or climb any vehicle. Nothing is sacred.

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Iguana for breakfast?

By drjeffnichol | January 2, 2023 | Comments Off on Iguana for breakfast?

This tropical creature on the island of St. John camped out in the almond tree next to our bed & breakfast porch while we ate – breakfast. It gathered it’s meal of almonds, starting its day WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF COFFEE!!! Never one to offer unsolicited advise I accepted our differences.

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Grazing on the Fly

By drjeffnichol | January 2, 2023 | Comments Off on Grazing on the Fly
peacock thumbnail

Peacocks on St. John island are somewhat leery of people, well, those of us with a pulse anyway. Folks in this gorgeous Caribbean land of manana bury their departed above ground. None of the colorful wild creatures think this is unusual.

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Barking & Instigating Mayhem

By drjeffnichol | November 28, 2022 | Comments Off on Barking & Instigating Mayhem
Barking and instigating thumbnail

OMG! Yell, swat, yell some more? Samantha, a sweet basset hound, was the highest-ranking dog in her home but she was not a stable leader. Her pushy, overbearing behavior toward her subordinates was caused by her anxiety not some desire to drive her people crazy. She often lost her impulse control and lashed out aggressively at her canine housemates. Safe antianxiety medication reduced this hound dog’s anxiety, her impulsiveness, and her aggression. Applying frosted window film to the lower portions of the front windows (available at home improvement stores) helped a lot by preventing Samantha and the other dogs from…

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Go Ahead – Challenge that Puppy

By drjeffnichol | November 7, 2022 | Comments Off on Go Ahead – Challenge that Puppy
river crossing

Are there any helicopter pet parents out there? Well, of course there are. There is such a thing as healthy stress. Moderate risk is essential to confidence building. And so, at age10 months, Mick Nichol, shouldering his backpack, was faced with a stream crossing. With the encouragement of his family, all of us ready to step in and rescue the situation if necessary, our boy mustered his courage and made it across. We repeated the same crossing the next day. Mick is happily building his backcountry skills.

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Bones are Normal for Canine Scavengers

By drjeffnichol | October 31, 2022 | Comments Off on Bones are Normal for Canine Scavengers
Bone in Pecos

It was rainy in the Pecos Wilderness for Mick’s first hike wearing his backpack. While carrying my water and snacks, he found bones from a deer’s front leg. Under good supervision we let the little guy be a dog, scavenging for his survival. It wasn’t long before he dropped the bone for more sniffing and investigating the natural world. Nature is beautiful, even when it’s wet.

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A Predictor of an Excellent Walk

By drjeffnichol | October 24, 2022 | Comments Off on A Predictor of an Excellent Walk
leash walk video

Mick is learning to earn the privilege of a walk. He wants to wear his new Gentle Leader head halter because he knows he’ll have a good time. He’s not quite ready to walk long distances with it. He’s still getting used to the feel of it on his face but he doesn’t have to think about it much because he’s busy working to earn reinforcers. We want him to forget it’s there. One step at a time.

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Better, Funner Leash Walks

By drjeffnichol | October 17, 2022 | Comments Off on Better, Funner Leash Walks
head halter training

Head halter training – Start slow and positive Lurching, jumping, growling, barking – are we having fun yet? Ah, no. A head halter, like this Gentle Leader, makes it easy to derail a dog’s attention on people and other dogs so you can have a more peaceful walk. First, that wild child needs to learn that only good things happen when he wears this contraption. Here is the first baby step.

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