Does City Living “Stress Dogs Out”?

  It may be harder to be a dog today than at most any other time throughout the 15,000 years dogs have lived with humans.   If that sounds like a surprising statement, let us tell you about a recent experience that led us to arrive at that opinion. We visited Suzanne’s cousin and his family,…

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Simple Principles for Litterboxes

Inconsistent litterbox use by cats is an extremely common problem and in our experience one that is usually – although not always – resolvable.  Because we had so many questions about these sorts of problems in our “Most Burning Question” box, we thought it would be helpful to once again describe 5 guidelines for creating…

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Instinct, Drive and Other Causes of Dog Attacks

There was a news article* a few months back about a 4 year old girl killed by the family’s Rottweilers.  It was a truly sad situation and our hearts go out to the parents and family of this young child.  Dogs kill between 10 and 20 people a year in the U.S. and most of…

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Is Socialization a “Sacred Cow”?

Anyone who has ever had a puppy has been told about the importance of “socializing” the pup.  To most, this implies taking the puppy out and about and allowing her to meet people, other dogs, and experience a variety of environmental settings.  These outings are supposed to prevent fears of unfamiliar people, animals, and places…

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“Contagious” Behavior in Dogs?

All of us who have been around dogs have encountered the following: The dog down the street begins to bark at who knows what, and within seconds, every other dog within hearing is barking his head off as well; Two dogs begin to play chase at the local dog park and soon half a dozen…

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Cats and Personal Space

Our good friend Mel sent us a sequence of photos of her four cats that are both interesting and enlightening.  The first one – shown here  – shows her four cats spread out on her bed enjoying the sunshine pouring through the windows.  They’re all quietly co-existing, each in a different part of the bed.      …

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Put a Stop to Off-leash Dogs in On-leash Areas

In Denver, off-leash dogs in on-leash areas are becoming more and more of a problem.  Since our dogs were attacked by an off-leash dog we’ve become quite sensitive to this issue. Too many dog owners seem to be operating under the false assumption that there is nothing wrong with allowing their dogs to run off…

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What The Heck is Parsimony?

A friend remarked to us recently that every time she goes out of town and leaves her dog, Mason, with Sarah, a close friend, Mason always defecates overnight in one particular spot in Sarah’s house.  Mason will occasionally do this at home, but not on a regular basis, and the dog is quite familiar with…

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Supervising Pets and Children

At a recent professional meeting, Jennifer Shryock, CPDT and Ellen Mahurin, M.A., ACAAB described Jennifer’s parent education programs for dog owners expecting a new baby (Dogs and Storks™) and those for toddlers and dogs (Dog & Baby Connection).  Elements of those programs are common to others, including Our own “Preparing Fido.”  One of the critical elements of…

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Are Dogs Ruled by Their Drives and Instincts?

It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about instincts and drives in animals. So you might hear statements like “Pit bulls are just instinctively aggressive” or “If you want a dog to really learn something well, you have to switch him out of prey drive and into pack drive.” The idea is that animals are…

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