Monthly Archives: September 2020

A Counter-Conditioning Protocol for Nail Trimming

1. Determine the location of touch your dog can tolerate without reacting fearfully or aggressively. Perhaps it’s her shoulder, perhaps her elbow, or maybe just above her paw. She should be a little worried, but not growl or try to move away. This is “below threshold” – the emotional state where we want her to remain for all this work. 

2. With your dog on leash, touch her briefly and gently at the spot where she is slightly below threshold – aware of your touch and somewhat concerned, but not highly concerned. The instant your dog notices your touch, start feeding her bits of chicken, non-stop. After a second or two, remove the touch and stop feeding the treats.

3. Keep repeating steps 1 and 2 until touching your dog at that location for one to two seconds consistently causes your dog to look at you with a happy smile and a “Yay! Where’s my chicken?” expression. This is a conditioned emotional response (CER); your dog’s association with the brief touch at that location is now positive instead of negative. Note: Feed the treats whether or not your dog displays the desired CER. The happy CER is a product of this process, but you don’t wait for it to happen each time.

4. Now increase the intensity of the stimulus by increasing the length of time you touch her at that same location, a few seconds at a time, obtaining the desired CER at each new touch and continue to feed for the duration of the touch. Do several repetitions of two to four seconds, until you get consistent “Yay!” looks, then several repetitions for four to eight seconds, then several four eight to 12 seconds, etc., working for that consistent CER at each new duration of your touch.

5. When you can touch your dog’s body at that spot for any length of time with her in “Yay” mode, begin to increase the intensity of stimulus again, this time by increasing the duration of your touch, then the amount of pressure, before moving your hand to a new location very slightly lower than the spot you were previously touching. I suggest starting at your initial touch location and sliding your hand to the new spot, rather than just touching the new spot. Continue with repetitions until you get consistent CERs at the new location.

6. Continue gradually working your way down to your dog’s paw, an inch or two at a time, getting solid CERs at each spot before you move closer to the paw.

7. As you work your way down the leg, be sure to add duration and pressure at each step before proceeding; each is a separate step in the CC&D procedure.

8. When you can touch, grasp, and put pressure on the paw, add lifting the paw, very slightly at first, then more and more, as you achieve the desired CER with each increase in lift. Then repeat the process with each leg. The other legs probably won’t take as long, but still, go slowly and be sure to achieve the happy CER with each step.

9. Did you think we were never going to get to the nail grinding part? We’re almost there! Start the process over again, this time with the nail grinder (or clipper) in hand. Show the tool to your dog at a sub-threshold distance until you achieve consistent CERs, then gradually move it closer (CERs at each step!) until you can touch the tool to her nail. Gradually increase the duration of the contact with her nail, and feed her a treat, again and again, until the appearance of the nail trimmer elicits a “Yay!” response. Then counter-condition the sound of the grinder (or the clipper action, by squeezing the clippers), starting again at a distance and gradually moving closer as you achieve consistent CERs at each step.

10. Go through the whole touch sequence again, this time with the trimming tool in your hand, also touching her with the tool, then again while you turn on the grinder or squeeze the clipper. Remember that you are still feeding yummy treats and obtaining the desired CER throughout the whole process. When you can hold her paw and use the tool right next to her nail with a happy response, grind or clip one nail, feed lots of treats, and stop. Do one nail a day until she’s happy with that, then advance to two nails at a time, then three, until you can grind or clip all her nails in one session.

The more complex the stimulus, the more successful the dog’s avoidance or aggressive strategies have been, and the more intense the emotional response, the more challenging it is to modify a behavior. Take your time. Be patient. A few more weeks – or months – of long nails isn’t the end of the world, and the result – a dog who willingly participates in the nail trimming procedure – is well worth the effort.

Related Articles

Grinders vs. Clippers: What’s Best for your Dog’s Nails?
What’s The Best Grinding Tool For Your Dog’s Nails?

The post A Counter-Conditioning Protocol for Nail Trimming appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

 

 

read more

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keeping Your Dogs At a Healthy Weight Can Be Tricky

Over the past two years, my senior dog, Otto, has started having trouble maintaining his body mass at a healthy weight. He has had a few health issues that his veterinarians and I are monitoring, but one symptom of his issues has caused him to suffer from a bit of gastric reflux. We have been able to keep his stomach acid in check with a daily medication, but there was a period of months when he just didn’t feel like eating. During that time, I had to tempt his appetite with all sorts of foods, split into many small meals a day, to get him to eat at all. At his lowest, his weight, normally about 70 pounds, dipped all the way down to 63 pounds.  He felt ribby and definitely lost muscle mass.

Eventually, the tide turned and Otto started eating again, although it was a challenge to get him back up to his “college” weight of 70 pounds. I can’t give him huge meals – he won’t eat a ton in one sitting – so I often give him three meals a day. He also gets canned food mixed into his dry food at each meal, and eats more than a can a day.  I also mix some warm water into his food and stir the canned food in, so he doesn’t pick out the canned food and leave any kibble behind.

One unfortunate side effect of the campaign to get Otto to gain and hold his weight: My younger dog Woody has gained too much weight! Because when he sees the canned food come out, he (quite understandably) wants some, too. I don’t have to, of course, but I stir about a teaspoonful of the canned food into Woody’s kibble, and add warm water to it, so he feels like he’s getting special treatment, too. So, of course, I’ve had to cut back the amount of kibble he gets, just a little bit, to make up for the addition of the fattier canned food.

At age 5, Woody is in the prime of his life. He is carrying a few more pounds than I would like, even though it is hard to see given his deep chest and narrow waist. But his ribs are more padded than what is ideal. He is such an active dog that carrying extra weight stresses his joints more than is good for him.

It’s nuts: Both dogs used to weigh the same amount. To get and keep Otto at 70 pounds,  I’ve added nearly an entire can of food to what he gets each day, and have had to reduce Woody’s portion of dry food to make up for the addition of only a teaspoon of canned food, and yet Woody is up to about 73 or 74 pounds.

It’s hard to get two dogs to stand with their backs to you while you hover over them, but I did my best. As you can see, both dogs look okay – but Otto’s waist is a bit more pronounced, and Woody’s is less defined than ever before.

I know it’s silly to feel as though Woody would judge me for failing to add anything “nice” to his kibble at each meal, and yet, I absolutely see him watching me carefully when I prepare both dogs’ meals. I actually fork the wet food from the cans into the dogs’ bowls with my back blocking his view, so he can’t see how much of the delicious pâté goes  into each bowl, and I deliver the food to them separately. Otto eats outside, with his bowl on a stair that’s one step higher than the deck; Woody eats in the house.

Another wrinkle: Since Coronavirus has changed the world, we definitely have been going out less. The lack of walks has likely contributed both to Otto’s loss of muscle mass and Woody’s weight gain.

Also, I give Otto a pill each day hidden in a piece of cheese. Woody, too, lines up and sits politely, looking for his cheese.  Those extra calories, too, aren’t helping me maintain his figure!

Have you had this problem before? Trying to keep one dog thin and helping another dog gain weight? Do you have any tips for us?

The post Keeping Your Dogs At a Healthy Weight Can Be Tricky appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

The post Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episode 829 – Advocating for Animals with Peter Egan

In this episode Victoria and Holly are joined by actor and animal activist Pete Egan. Peter is a beloved British actor noted for his long and distinguished acting career in films and television shows such as Chariots of Fire, Ever Decreasing Circles, Downtown Abbey and the hit Netflix show, After Life by Ricky Gervais.

Peter’s advocacy and activism for animal causes spans the globe and he works tirelessly to make the world a better place for animals and their people, highlighting the cruelty of bile bear farming and the dog meat trade in Asia as well as the puppy farm industries in the UK and USA.   

The post Episode 829 – Advocating for Animals with Peter Egan first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Huskies—Dire Wolf Fans Create Glut of Abandoned Dogs

How the popular media mystique of wolf-dogs results in overcrowded shelters
Husky popularity has increased—not a good thing for the breed.

Shelters and rescue groups have seen dramatic increases in the number of homeless Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and other wolfy-looking dogs coming through their doors. Inspired in part by a popular television series, people buy one of these fluffy puppies on impulse (often online) and find themselves in way over their heads. Here, we look at how media popularity has affected these dogs and provide a primer on what Huskies—the breed that’s been most dramatically affected—are and are not.

Originally, people living in the far north bred dogs to, among other things, pull heavily loaded sleds long distances across some of the world’s coldest landscapes. Today, these northern-breed dogs—Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Akitas and other Spitz-type dogs—spend most of their time as companions in a world where pulling a sled for a living is pretty much never required.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

The post Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Forget About Stress & Anxiety

POSITIONING THEMSELVES FOR REINFORCEMENT First off, sorry. The title was designed to get your attention. We cannot forget about stress and anxiety but rather than focus on those conditions we assume a dog is experiencing, let’s get down to the business of behavior. It has been important that people have been encouraged to […]

The post Forget About Stress & Anxiety appeared first on Fearful Dogs.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

The post Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Penicillium camemberti: A history of domestication on cheese

The white, fluffy layer that covers Camembert is made of a mold resulting from human selection, similar to the way dogs were domesticated from wolves. Scientists have shown that the mold Penicillium camemberti is the result of a domestication process.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment