Category: Expert Advice

12 Cat Chat: Ears and Whiskers


maine coon cat being held

Picking up where we left off in the first Cat Chat blog, the second most expressive feature (above the shoulders) that serve as a good guide to your cat’s behavior are their ears. The ears work with the whiskers – ears for sound and whiskers for space and touch. There are over 20 muscles in each ear. All these muscles enable your cat’s ears to swivel independently to pick up little sounds here and there – satellite dish style. The ears can flatten completely against the head for protection if necessary, and while the main function of the ears is…

5 Treating Separation Anxiety

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On the first few days of school, young kids may miss their parents a lot. The same thing can happen to dogs of any age when their owners leave them home alone. This difference is that, instead of just the crying and whining you may see with kids, your dog may have some additional unpleasant surprises for you when you get home, including shredded pillows, garbage on the floor, and maybe the smell or telltale stains of ‘accidents’.

It’s easy to get angry or think your dog is trying to make your life miserable, but that’s not the case. It’s…

12 Cat Chat: All About the Eyes


tabby cat with green eyes

At the tender age of 31, I got my first cat. I adopted her to keep my dog company; he had terrible separation anxiety.  A year later, I adopted a second cat as a companion for my first cat.  I fostered a litter of kittens that spring and saw how much happier and active my cat was with other cat company. I kept one of the kittens and Valerie treated him like her baby, pinning him down to give him baths and stepping out of the way when he wanted to eat her food.
We are a now a ragtag…

Solving Barking Problems

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daschund barking

If your dog has a barking problem, it can be a very stressful situation for both you and your neighbors.  First and foremost, you will need to determine what is causing your dog’s behavior.  This may prove to be more difficult if your dog is barking when you are not home.  If this is the case, ask the neighbors if they notice any probable causes, or even consider setting up a camera (video or webcam) so that you can view the situation yourself.  The solution to your dog’s barking problem will depend on the cause of his barking.

Social Isolation…

Litter Box Problems

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tabby cat in a litterbox

Some cats can be very finicky when it comes to litter boxes, so begin with an uncovered, clean litter box.  Be sure to clean the box daily and keep it stocked with enough litter for your cat to appropriately defecate and cover it with litter.  Once your cat is comfortable and using the litter box regularly, you can try other types of litter boxes, but keep an uncovered litter box available as an option for your cat just in case he is not accepting of the new type of litter box.  Cats can also be finicky when it comes to…

5 Secrets of Dog Behavior


white dog digging in the dirt

As you learned from Aimee’s pit bull blog, there was a lot of eye-opening material presented at the HSUS Animal Care Expo.  Another session we attended and thought you might find interesting, was about the five secrets every dog adopter or owner should know.  Colleen Pelar, a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, hosted the session and clarified common misconceptions with these five points:

1.    Most “bad” behavior is actually normal dog behavior.  Barking, digging, chewing, pulling on the leash – these are things that dogs do, and it’s our job as responsible pet owners to mitigate…

Transitioning From “Puppy Pads” to the Great Outdoors

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puppy in the grass

Housebreaking a new dog can be one of the most challenging aspects of bringing your new family member home. However, it is necessary and if done properly, can be learned with minimal accidents and confusion.

Starting On Puppy Pads:
Some people start house training with indoor “puppy pads” or newspapers.  There are various reasons to do this, but the most common is that a young puppy without a full set of vaccinations shouldn’t be taken outdoors in an area where he could come into contact with germs that could lead to a potentially deadly virus such as the parvovirus.  When…

4 How to Housebreak a Puppy: The Basics

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Housebreaking a puppy is not the easiest thing in the world.  It takes time, patience and perseverance; it’s not something that happens overnight.  No matter how diligent you are, accidents will happen, so arm yourself with some good cleaning products, the best housebreaking aids available and some knowledge about puppies and how their bodies work.
A puppy doesn’t have control over muscles of elimination before 4 months of age and all puppies vary in the developmental time of these muscles.   Smaller dogs have smaller bladders and will need to urinate more frequently.
Dogs are naturally hardwired not to eliminate in…

Crate Training: Introduction & Tips

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Photo By Earthworm / Flickr

Your new dog might have been housetrained at its last home, or he might never have been trained.  After having been in an animal shelter or rescue, his world has been turned upside down and he may have forgotten old habits and could use a refresher. If you have adopted a new puppy, he will need the training from scratch.  Different approaches may need to be made depending on if you have adopted a puppy or an older dog.  The best, most efficient and easiest way to house train your new puppy or dog is crate training.  Crate training will…