Monday, July 10, 2017

Understanding Your Pet Part 2: How to overcome these top 3 destructive behaviors..

Whenever you bring home a new furry family member, or even if you have an established animal companion - destructive behaviors and accidents can happen. In today’s post - I’ll review the top three destructive behaviors, their potential causes and what you can do to fix them.

Pet has accidents in the house: If you have adopted a rescue of any age is you will have to housebreak them. They are entering a new house and a new routine - so there may be some accidents. It’s up to you to show them where it is appropriate to go potty and to learn what your pets cue is. If your pet has been with you for years and accidents are happening - make sure the pet doesn’t have a medical cause (such as a urinary tract infection or kidney stones etc). The other thing you want to look at is how often is your pet getting exercise or play? Letting them out in the back yard isn’t enough. Ideally, taking your dog(s) on a brisk or long walk (something where they can get a good sniff at the different surroundings) will help with inappropriate elimination. For cats - make sure the litter box is clean, the cat can access it easily and it’s in a well ventilated area.

Pet is chewing things: The act of chewing can stem from a variety of reasons. If the pet is young, they could be teething. Your pet could also be bored. If your pet is bored, then get creative with the games you play - or change up the route you go on when walking. In the moment you can offer your pet something appropriate to chew and keep the things you don’t want to be chewed out of your pets reach (ex: keep shoes in bins on a high shelf or behind a closed door).

Pet is aggressive: This one is a little tricky. Is the pet guarding a resource like toys? Is the pet food aggressive? Is the aggression coming from fear? In all of these cases - if other dogs or small children are involved you need to manage the situation. If you have multiple dogs - every dog should have their own space to eat away from the other dogs. Fear can be lessened by building up your pets confidence (basic obedience training with positive reinforcement is a great start). Sometimes an aggression issue requires more in-depth work with a specialist.

Once you are in a place of understanding about your furry family member (whether they are a rescue or not) - you and your beloved pet(s) will have a long and happy life together!

Do you need help with any of the above behaviors? Schedule a free strategy session today!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Keep Bonded Pairs Together

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Picture this situation. You have made the decision to adopt a pet (Congratulations!). As you research the animal rescue or shelter website, or even as you attend an adoption day – you come across a pet that you feel is the ONE. However, the pet is part of “A bonded pair”. What do you do – since you were only looking for one. You only have two options in this scenario..

Option 1: You adopt the pair and you have one more pet than what you initially planned for.

Option 2: You look for another one that is not part of a bonded pair.

Here’s why. Pets who are considered “Bonded Pairs” means that they have formed an intense emotional bond with each other. This can also mean that one pet is the eyes or ears of the other who is blind or deaf. It is critical for the well being of the pets and even for the household, that they remain together. To separate a bonded pair is asking for destructive behaviors to not only furniture – but also to themselves. In some cases, when one pet is taken away from the other – you have a lot of nervous behaviors like panting, howling, barking, searching. For my own dogs, one would get very nervous when we had both of them at the vet and one would be taken to a different room to get their shots, even if it was only for about 6 minutes.

In more extreme cases (especially when one pet is a guide for the other), the pet that was dependent on the other will inevitably be lost. One of my colleagues fosters cats for a local rescue. There was a pair of cats – one was deaf (Charlie) the other was not (Sam). Sam got adopted – but Charlie did not. So my colleague took on Charlie. My colleague did everything in her power to make Charlie feel at home. My colleague is a well seasoned cat owner and the cats that live there have an amazing home with an abundance of cuddles, playtime and attention . Yet despite all of this - plus communication that was given to this kitty – she was still profoundly sad and very heartbroken. She was grieving for her Sam – her ears to the world. Charlie was an older cat with a poor physical condition and my colleague tried everything to help her improve. After a year of Charlie being without Sam, and her physical condition not getting better – the painful but most loving decision was made to send Charlie to the Rainbow Bridge and ease her suffering.

Remember – animals are thinking, feeling, sentient beings that form emotional bonds – just like we do. To separate a bonded pair is to invite an inconsolable grief on the part of the pet and health issues that cannot be healed. Not to mention the frustration and worry that will be incurred on the part of the owner.

Bonded pairs need to remain together. They have bonded for a reason.

If you have questions about your bonded pair (or if you think you might have a bonded pair) e-mail me

*Charlie and Sam’s names are used with permission*
*Taz and Denali appear with Permission from Zehavit Kabak

Monday, May 15, 2017

Does your pet know that you’re moving?

Have you ever noticed that when you are packing to leave you have that feeling of “I think my pet knows I’m going somewhere.” Think about it – if you only bring out your suitcases/duffle or weekend bags etc when you leave for a trip – of course your pets are going to know you’re leaving. Does your dog or cat hop into your suitcase every time you pull it out to start packing? While it’s a great photo opp and it’s cute to think they’re “helping”, they don’t know where you’re going and why. In this case of a vacation – the pet is left at home but you come back.

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Now let me give you this scenario..

You are talking about moving. It doesn’t matter if it’s across town or across country, you are picking up everything and moving. As soon as you begin to even think about the process – your pets will pick up on your intent. In addition to talking about moving – you are of course, thinking about it. You visualize where you are going and what everything is going to look like. There’s just one small problem…

You never told your pets about the move or the intention of going anywhere.

If your pets don’t know (or don’t think they are included) about the move – then you’ll begin to see erratic behaviors. They’ll hide, they won’t act like themselves or they just seem like they are nervous. Here’s an example. Recently, I was speaking with a client who has two cats. She asked me about the one’s erratic behavior. He was racing around the house (more so than normal) and wasn’t finishing his food. My client told me she had spoken with a real estate agent that week about moving out from her current house. When I spoke to the cat in question, he felt he would be left behind (which is something of course my client would never do!). I told my client to tell him why the move was necessary and yes - he, along with the other kitty would absolutely be coming with her to the new place. He has since returned to his normal playful self of chasing his mouse toys and unceremoniously pouncing on his sister.

Cats especially tend to lay down energetic “anchors” in their territory. When they are uprooted without understanding why – you may see behaviors like eliminating outside of the litter box, or being “standoffish” when you go to give them attention.

Remember, our pets are thinking, feeling, sentient beings who understand us on a much deeper level than most people give them credit for. When you not only talk to your animal companions, but are completely honest with them in what you are talking about – they truly get it. When you communicate with your pets on this level – you will have a happier, less destructive and even stressed out pet.

Are you moving soon and need some help having your pet or pets understand why? Click here to schedule your complimentary Strategy Session

(Photo courtesy of Patty Hankins of Beautiful Flowers Pictures - Kitty Pixel is posted with permission)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Be Genuine and Authentic - even with your pets

“A dog can tell when a person is lying” is the phrase. That is true to a point. An animal companion can tell when you are not being genuine. What do I mean by that? You need to be genuine with who you are as well as being honest and authentic in how you feel about what you are saying. When what is coming out of your mouth is not matching with what/who you are on the inside, your pets can tell and they have a problem with this (kids can tell this as well). If you don’t even believe what you are saying, how do you expect your pets to believe you? Have any of you ever noticed that your pet may not want to deal with you if you’re not telling the truth or at the very least dealing with it? They will either get away from you, do something that is aggressive (growl, hiss, scratch, peck) or become destructive to the furnishings in the house.

If something has changed in the house or with you, the best thing you can do to help resolve these issues (if you notice your pet has become aggressive or destructive) is to be honest and talk to them and tell them what is going on – just as if you were talking with your best friend. Our animal companions understand our intent, our tone and our overall demeanor. Has there been a big change at home? Is something throwing you off and have you emotionally unsettled? If something has - you can talk to your pet about it, since they will get it once you admit to them that something is wrong.

I should also mention that not every instance of destructive behavior or aggression is necessarily linked to the owner not being authentic. If these behaviors have appeared “out of nowhere” or have been there and are getting progressively worse, there can be a much deeper (and varied) cause.

Don’t believe me? TRY IT and see what happens! E-mail Me! I’d love to hear from you when you do!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Moving Beyond the Breed - Understanding is Everything

Recently, I had the distinct honor and privilege to have a communication consultation with a colleague who had just adopted a Shar Pei. My colleague and her spouse are experienced pet owners and they wanted me to check in with the new furbaby to check on his background. He had a lot to say.

He was placed in the rescue system since he was 9 months old (he is now 2 years old) from his breeder because, as he saw it he wasn’t desirable out of his litter. He was rescued by another rescue organization and was adopted out to his first family who unfortunately, were not experienced dog owners. They called the rescue constantly asking for advice, and ultimately returned this pup because he was “aggressive”. From this dog’s point of view - he wants to learn and his first family didn’t understand him - at all. He was confused in terms of what his first family was asking of him. So, he didn’t understand and would wind up not doing as he was asked because they weren’t asking in a way that he could understand. So, his family spent more time and energy being in distress. Plus, Shar Pei’s snort when they breathe - so the former owners could have misconstrued that as a growl.

This dog is one of the sweetest, kindest beings I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He went on to tell me that while he will not start a fight, he will finish it if he must.

When this pup came to my colleague, he knew that these folks knew what they were doing and he was so much more comfortable with them. He knew he was home. They know how to guide and teach him about the world around him (his formative years were spent in a shelter, so he’s got some catching up to do). They also know and understand how to train a potentially “stubborn” dog with positive reinforcement and solid leadership.

Shar Peis tend to have the reputation of being a steadfast guard dog. Which they are - they are fiercely loyal to their people. This is their natural instinct. This reputation is also misunderstood and translated into being “aggressive” or “mean”. In the hands of an owner who is fully present and understanding of what they have, a natural guard dog can be socialized successfully and not only be a good canine citizen, but an active member of their community.

When you adopt a pet, understand what you are getting into. If you are rescuing a pure breed, do your research on what their natural instincts are. If you adopt a mixed breed - pay attention and be present to what the dog does naturally. Ask yourself what you can do to help nurture those instincts. And don’t get caught up in the idea of a specific dog breed. As an example, the majority of Pit Bulls are sweethearts, not every Labrador Retriever likes to swim, and German Shepherds may take a lot more work than you might think.

Understanding all aspects in all things, goes a long, long way. If you have adopted a pet and would like to learn more about their past history contact us.

To follow the adventures of my colleague and her new pup click here.