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     Pet Behavior Dog and Cat Training Basics  

Many people have had pets that have had one or another behavior problems. Here are a few basics on this area.

First and foremost if your pet is displaying some bad behavior make sure there is no underlying medical condition causing it. For example, I have a cat that would swat and bite if we came close to his face. We had just adopted him as an adult from a shelter so didn't really know his history. Upon examination, he had three very sore teeth. When those were treated medically it was easier to pet him. Still, we had to be cautious as his memory is that it hurts to be touched there. Slowly, he has learned otherwise.

Another example is excessive licking. An article was written where a thorough investigation was done on a number of cats that supposedly had behavioral licking problems and almost all of them had an underlying medical condition found. Those that didn't, I suspect had one, but we don't have the technology to diagnose what was there at this time.

Secondly, prevention is always best, so train you puppy or kitten in the good behaviors you desire when they are young.

After reading an article on behavior and digging through the terminology and the headaches it created, I found the simplicities of this. Most bad behaviors have a "trigger". Something sets it off or reinforces it. If one observes closely, the trigger can usually be found. The example of my cat and coming too fast at his face is one-we pet him carefully on his head and don't ever come directly at his face.

The other basic is you get what you reward. Now remember, that any attention is better than no attention, just like with us people. In the case of a dog who jumped on the owners whenever they came home, the reward was them petting him and even yelling at him to "stop". In the case of a pet vomiting without any medical basis, the owner would coddle the pet and give it tons of attention whenever it vomited.

To stop those behaviors, the reward was taken away. Giving NO attention; good , bad, or otherwise; to either of these resolved the scene.

On the other side, do reward good behavior. If your pet is quiet and calm and that is what you want, praise and pet them. Treats are always welcomed rewards, though one must be careful with them or they will end up with a fat pet. Many dogs like those little carrots which are a low cal treat.

Regardless of the trouble , let me warn you about supposed behavior medications. There is absolutely NO test or scientific proof of a "Chemical imbalance" that can be made or used. These drugs have serious, serious side effects. There is one that is labeled purely for veterinary use and it has in its own literature the fact that 24% of dogs put on it developed digestive trouble and 1% developed seizures during testing of the drug. Without knowing anything else, that was enough for me to refuse to use it on any patient. If one consults a Physicians Desk Reference on these serotonin altering drugs, you will see horrifying side effects and warnings, many of which could never be assessed on a non-talking patient as a dog or cat.

There are more avenues to pursue if you are having trouble with a pet than listed above, but these are some basics.

SUGGESTED ENTERTAINMENT: I haven't read this myself but it was suggested by one of the newsletter readers so I am passing it on. The book 'Willi Whizkas - Tall Tales and Lost Lives' by Paws and Claws (7.99 Zymurgy Publishing ISBN 1903 506183)

The first book in the series, available on AMAZON, details the gentle early adventures of Willi Whizkas, and his feline pals Tushtots a shaved rehomed Persian, Thugsby an alley cat who knows that only cute kittens get rehomed, not old battered cats like he is, Britney Kitney, Stinker of the Yard, Rumpuss, Broozer and others. Primarily a book for adults it is being read by all ages as the tales are very funny, extremely clever and a real delight to read. It was the featured book for March /April 2006 on WWW.CFA.ORG the CFA's global website and is under consideration for the Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize for Comedy Fiction 2006. Fine accolades for a book only first published in November 2005!

REQUEST: To save our future generation in America and to alert those in other countries to see if this is going on in their areas, please check this out.

Subject: TeenScreen Petition Update

The Petition to Stop TeenScreen's Unscientific and Experimental "Mental Health Screening" of American School Children is now the #1 most active of the Top 10 Petitions at

Please sign and forward this petition to every man, woman and child on earth. :)

Or at a minimum to every person you know! Thank you for your concern and help on this.

PRODUCTS: Check out our products page on the site ( )for vitamins sold exclusively through veterinarians to help support your pets' overall health.

Until next month,

Dr. Jan

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