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Posted on 01-26-2015

 Unwanted behaviors in our dogs and cats result in euthanasia or surrendering to a shelter.   I have seen toileting and aggression issues being a common category in both dogs and cats.  Often the behavior has been allowed to go on for so long that training or medical therapy is not successful.  At the first puppy visit we discuss potty training, kennel training and positive discipline methods.  So called aggression is actually fear and anxiety in a puppy and the first four months of a pup’s life is crucial.  Our new puppy class, Puppy Right Start Preschool, focuses on socialization to new environments, sounds, people and other dogs.  It also covers crate and potty training, good manners and clicker training.  The training techniques stress positive interaction, not the outdated, heavy-handed, fearful training.  The class is based on the book “Puppy Start Right: Foundation Training for the Companion Dog”.  Regan Kopp, one of our CVTs, has taken the training required to lead the class.  She says the puppies are having a blast and the owners are receptive to the weekly homework.  Visit www.veterinarybehavior.com to learn more about the author or call us for information on the class.
Cats need appropriate interaction at a young age as well.  They benefit from a calm household where they have access to their own “things” Some cats do not live in groups easily.  They need plenty of space, their own climbing area and their own litter box and food.   They like a wide open litter box in a quiet area so they can get away if threatened by a kid, dog or other cat.  They typically do not like deodorized litter.  Remember, they would chose a child’s sand box outside if given the chance.  Cat stress shows itself as hissing, batting and poor litter box habits.  Please do not hesitate to call us about cat behavior AS SOON as it starts.  We first diagnose any medical conditions and then investigate causes of stress.  Our cats are trying to tell us what they need.  It is up to us to figure it out.  My saddest calls are “I need to put my cat to sleep because he is peeing outside the box.  It started infrequently, now it is all of the time” Please visit www.catvets.com for additional information

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