Dec 14, 2011 Issue #28 Published by Sue Skiff
IN THIS ISSUE
A NOTE FROM SUE
Well, it's been two busy weeks, since I wrote. I hope that you are all well. I have been dealing with a cold for the past 5 days, or so. I haven't felt too sick, though, fortunately.
TIPS FOR PREVENTING WITH CANINE SEPARATION ANXIETY
ARE CATS TRAINABLE?
INTRODUCING HOW TO HAVE A WELL-BEHAVED DOG
ABOUT SILVER LINING PET SERVICES
I Need Your Testimonials
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow I am, and have been, hanging out with an elderly, blind-since-a-puppy, dog. He is not at his normal home, and has, therefore had a little bit of a problem being left alone. So, of course, I decided to write an article on separation anxiety. I looked at my list of articles that I had written in the past, and did not see a title indicating that I had written one, before, so I went ahead and wrote one. Then, when I went to save it, I found that I had, indeed written one, only a month ago. Wow! Doesn't say much for my memory, does it? The previous article was on curing separation anxiety, and the article that I wrote yesterday is on preventing it, so I decided to use it, anyway. There is some overlap, but oh well.
My secondary article is on cat training. I met a cat last week that responds to several words, and that gave me inspiration to write about it. Perhaps, I will write more on it, later.
I am continuing to work to make this a better and better e-zine. So, as always,
please send me
your questions, complaints, opinions, articles, comments, and stories.
Oh yeah, I also wanted to mention that, if you ever want to view a back issue of this e-zine, the link for that can always be found at the bottom of any issue.
Separation anxiety can be a really serious issue for dogs and their human guardians. When a dog cannot handle being left alone, it can manifest as incessant barking/whining while you’re away, destruction of your house and your possessions, and inappropriate elimination on the part of your dog. Dogs need to be able to trust their guardians to leave them for periods of time; and to know that those guardians will return to care for them. Here are some tips for preventing, and (in some cases) curing, separation anxiety.
TIP 1: MAKE YOUR LEAVING NO BIG DEAL
Often people feel guilty about leaving their dogs, especially if they are leaving them for an entire workday. This causes these people to give their dogs a lot of attention at the time of their leaving, in an attempt to make sure that their dogs know that they are loved and valued. Unfortunately, dogs can misread these attempts. They can interpret all of this attention as meaning that there is something wrong with their guardians’ leaving. This contributes to these dogs’ anxieties, and can therefore actually increase the likelihood that they will exhibit signs of separation anxiety. Therefore, it is best to just say “goodbye” to your dog in a matter of fact manner, as you transmit to your dog that there is no reason to be concerned about your leaving.
TIP 2: ESTABLISH A LEAVING ROUTINE
To help your dog understand that your leaving is no big deal, establish a routine that you use every time that you leave. It does not have to be anything fancy. It could be as simple as calmly telling your dog when you will be home (even though it obviously can’t tell time), and that you will see it then. At the other extreme, you can establish a routine where you leave your dog in a particular place, like a crate, a room, the garage, or the backyard, with a special treat that it only gets when you leave it. Make sure that, if you do this, you have first established that the place where you are leaving your dog is a safe, secure place that your dog likes being in. It should not be a place that your dog only goes to when you are gone, because this can add to your dog’s feelings that something is wrong when you are gone.
Whether you are just saying a simple “see you later,” or putting your dog in a particular place to be while you are gone, just make sure that you do the same thing every time that you leave, so that your dog knows that this is just part of its routine as a whole.
TIP 3: ESTABLISH A COMING HOME ROUTINE
The way you come home is as important as the way you leave. If you make a huge deal of greeting your dog, and saying “I missed you soooo much,” you can, again, telegraph to your dog that your being gone is something to be worried about. So, instead, let your dog be the exuberant greeter, while you just calmly greet it.
Even better, ignore your dog for the first few minutes after you get home, while you go about settling in to being home. Put your things down, go to the bathroom, get a drink, whatever, then greet your dog fully. If your dog greets you at the door when you get home, you can give your dog a simple greeting when you first walk in, then do your settling in, before fully greeting your dog.
However, if your dog has been put in a specific place while you are gone, then you can leave your dog there while you do your settling in, then go get your dog when you are ready to give it attention.
All of the above are effective in preventing separation anxiety, and can help dogs who are just starting to exhibit mild separation anxiety. However, if your dog is really having problems with this issue, you will have to put some work in to help it get over this problem. If you need help with this matter, feel free to contact me. You can also check out the article I wrote on curing it in the Nov 1 issue of this e-zine. In addition, there is a whole chapter in my book How to Have a Well-Behaved Dog on separation anxiety, which gives detailed instructions for how to work with your dog to stop separation anxiety.
I recently had a behavior consult with a woman about her cat. This isn’t the first time that I have been consulted with about a cat’s behavior, but I do believe that I could count the number of times this has happened on one hand. What was interesting about this cat that I met last week was that he responds to a number of human words, such as “wait.”
Now, if you have been keeping up with my previous e-zine issues, you have seen a couple of articles that I wrote about what I did to stop specific behavior issues that I had with my cat Ahwahnee. What I haven’t told you about is that Ahwahnee has had training. Specifically, Ahwahnee was once clicker trained.
When I was studying clicker training, I saw a video of a cat that had been clicker trained to do agility. This was, of course, before the internet age, where you can see videos of cats doing all sorts of things. So, of course, I had to try clicker training on Ahwahnee. And, I do have to say that Ahwahnee loved it! Well, this is partly because Ahwahnee is something like a dog in that she will eat quite a wide variety of foods, is always interested when there is food around, and she therefore goes quite readily for treats. At that time, I was using mostly freeze-dried liver for dog treats, and Awhahnee was crazy for them.
The thing is, though, that Ahwahnee really got clicker training. I mean, she would get excited when she saw me pull out a clicker. She was right there, wanting to know what it was that she was going to need to do to hear that click that meant that liver was on the way. There was a time when she was more interested in her training than my dogs were in theirs. So, Ahwahnee learned to come instantly when called, and she learned to sit patiently. Unfortunately, other activities took precedence in my life, and her training ended there.
So, cats are trainable, and cats can enjoy being trained. So, why don’t we train them? Is it because part of what we love about cats is their independence, and we think that we’ll ruin that independence if we train them? Is it because we don’t feel that we need to, because they don’t cause the problems that untrained dogs cause? Is it that we don’t think that they can be trained? Or, is it just because, as with me, we just get too busy with other things in our lives?
Whatever the case, I think that we are missing out on a great way to increase our relationships with our cats. As the only one of my three cats that I ever did any formal training with, Ahwahnee is unique in certain ways. First, she will work harder to figure out things when faced with something getting in the way of her getting to something that she wants. Also, in many ways, she is bolder than my other cats. But, perhaps these have more to do with the fact that she was once feral, and had to make it on her own. I don’t know. I just regret that I stopped her training. Perhaps, I’ll pick it up, again, one of these days.
Do you enjoy reading the articles on dog training in this e-zine? Want to know more? Then, check out my e-book, How to Have a Well-Behaved Dog. In How to Have a Well-Behaved Dog, you can find more detailed articles on dog training, complete with pictures. There is also advice on dealing with many dog behavior problems.
You can purchase How to Have a Well-Behaved Dog directly from me in pdf format. If you order directly from me, you get the added bonus of getting a free 1/2-hour Skype consult with me, which can be used at any time in the next year. To get your pdf copy,
How to Have a Well Behaved Dog is also available for the Kindle at Amazon.com. You won't get my free Skype training, but if this is your preferred way of reading an e-book, then
here' s the link
for the Kindle edition.
And, guess what? You can also get How to Have a Well Behaved Dog for the Nook! So, if you prefer to get your e-books from Barnes and Noble,
then click here.
Silver Lining Pet Services is the business owned by Sue Skiff. It provides both dog training and pet sitting services.
If you own a dog, then look to Sue to alleviate any fears and frustrations that you have over your dog's behavior. Sue will come to your home, and set up a training program that is customized to your, and your dog's, needs. You can even have Sue do the training for you, in your home, while you go about your business. If you don't live within Sue's service area, you can contact Sue about setting up a Skype appointment.
As for pet sitting services, Silver Lining Pet Services endeavors to give traveling pet owners peace of mind that their pets will be well cared for while they are away.
For further information on the services provided by Silver Lining Pet Services, please
visit our website.
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Silver Linings is a publication of Silver Linings Pet Services, and is published for the purpose of marketing services. The current address of Silver Linings Pet Services is:
5555 Merritt Drive