Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pearls for Pet Lovers

Portland is lucky. Not only because my sister and her beautiful family now reside there, but it is also where Veterinary Behaviorist Jacqueline Neilson practices. Dr. Neilson recently lectured at a Veterinary Medicine Continuing Education seminar that I frequent. I have heard her speak before and she is quite dynamic but approachable and extremely knowledgeable. Her focus is solving behavior problems in pets so that fewer are relinquished to shelters. Her motto is "animate over inanimate", meaning living beings trump possessions (ie. couches, carpets, shoes) every time.
She had some great advice on solving problems with cats urinating/defecating outside of the litterbox. See your veterinarian, we do have ways to help!
The other topic she presented on was Updates on Clinical Research. There have been some great studies performed that can be useful for the typical dog owner.

For instance:
  • Dogs respond better to visual cues than vocal cues. When training your dog use both a word and a motion, but understand that they are following your actions more than your words. They also don't care what action or word you use as long as you are consistent with the meaning.
  • Puppies who attended puppy classes with their owners before they reached 6 months of age had lower behavioral problems than those starting training classes later in life and those who were trained solely at home. Make sure that the training center uses a positive reinforcement model and does not condone punishing dogs.
  • Dogs who were punished physically were more likely to show aggression towards their owners than those who were not. No matter how tempting it is and how amazing his results seem, Cesar Millan's methods are not recommended by most veterinary behaviorists.

Hope this helps!

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