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Behavioral Therapy for Dogs



Behavioral Therapy for Dogs

Behavioral therapy for dogs consists of various components that together form a total package. To start with, an extensive intake interview takes place to get a picture of the dog itself, the history, the undesirable behavior, and the circumstances in which this presents itself. This first consultation often takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

If necessary, video recordings are made to further study the behavior and specific behavioral tests are administered. Based on this, the behavioral therapist establishes a diagnosis and a therapy that is tailored to each individual owner-dog combination. The owner is well and clearly informed and guided so that he can get started with motivation. In consultation with the owner, the progress is evaluated and further adjusted if necessary.

What is Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy, therefore, focuses primarily on the origin of the undesired behavior. Problem behavior is best solved by tackling its cause and not just treating its symptoms.

Of course, this is not always an option. Insufficient socialization cannot be undone by therapy. The therapist can try to improve the dog’s behavior in such a way that the problem becomes manageable. A behavior therapist cannot change anything about genetic predisposition, but in consultation with the owner it is possible to look for possibilities to use the property present in the dog in a different way.

The behavior is then reversed, but not trained away. With these kinds of problems, it is of course important that the owner remains constantly alert. As soon as the adjustment of the undesirable behavior is stopped, the dog will sooner or later revert to its old behavior.

Learned unwanted behavior

When there is learned undesired behavior, it is possible to permanently change this. Here too, the cause of the origin of the problem and the cause of the dog’s persistence in its behavior is again the first puzzle to be solved. It is not always easy to solve that puzzle, but that is precisely the challenge that you do not have to take on yourself; that is a challenge for the behavioral therapist.

Yet behavioral therapy for the owner is just as challenging, because it is not easy for the owner, especially in the first weeks. Suddenly a daily routine has to be completely turned around and everything that has happened so unconsciously until now has to become a thing of the past; every action towards the dog must be thought through. All this is often not easy at all. However, for the dog. He usually picks up on the changes very quickly. They are changes that are made in a language he understands all too well: dog language.

In consultation with the owner, the behavioral therapist can decide to support the therapy with aids. Many aids have now been developed, all of which have their own good qualities. For example, think of the Gentle Leader, the Follow Me or the MasterPlus; all animal-friendly aids with which good results are achieved. Sometimes a blockage has to be removed from the dog first.

Consider, for example, fear. We humans may be of the opinion that there is no reason to fear the dog, but that does not take away the fear in the dog. As a result, he may not be open to new impressions, rendering the therapy meaningless. With the support of Bach Flower Remedies, this blockage can be removed.

fear of failure

In addition, it may be that a dog only thinks it can fail, just like the owner who has already tried everything without success. In such a case it is important for both to be able to do good and to be rewarded for doing so. With the clicker – which is only used to teach things and not to unlearn things – certain problem behaviors can be retrained into new behaviors that are incompatible with the problem behavior.

The clicker quickly shows results and is therefore particularly motivating for both the boss and the dog. The interaction between the two does the rest. In some cases, you can also choose the discs. This teaches the dog that certain undesired behavior that he wants to exhibit, no reward and therefore will not produce the desired result. This removes the motivation for this behavior, so that the unwanted behavior will disappear.

Problem behavior in dogs

Despite all the good care of you as owner and despite the fact that you have indeed followed an obedience course, it is possible that the dog still shows undesirable behavior. When you, or those around you, experience this unwanted behavior as a problem, you have problem behavior.

Examples of this are:

  • Disobedience
  • Fear (of thunder, fireworks, cars, etc.)
  • Can’t be home alone
  • Chasing joggers, cyclists, cars
  • Aggressive behavior towards food or objects
  • Aggressive behavior towards other people and/or dogs

Many owners then try all sorts of things to remedy this problem behavior. Well-intentioned advice from friends and acquaintances is followed, but often without the desired result. Incorrect assessment of the seriousness of the situation often plays a major role in this. Despite all the measures taken, the dog persists in its problematic behavior. In some cases, the unwanted behavior even appears to be reinforcing. The measures taken have then in fact only led to a rewarding factor, which is generally so strong that it is perceived by the dog as more important than the punishment it has received for its behavior up to that point.

Thus, the dog may have dog problems which, if they are not dealt with adequately, can make it a problem dog. It is therefore a good thing, if the dog exhibits undesirable behavior that is experienced as a problem, to call in the expertise of a behavioral therapist. It is wise not to wait too long before calling in this expert, because the sooner a problem is tackled, the greater the chance of success.

Leaving your ear to the well-intentioned advice of other dog owners in your area for half a year is generally half a year of maintaining or even exacerbating the unwanted behavior, while this half year could already have been used to tackle the problems .


Even puppies, even if they come from a recognized breeder, can show behavioral problems. When the puppy is about eight weeks old, the learning process has played a major role, but not yet played a major role, so there could be a biological cause. If you, as the owner, suspect abnormalities in your puppy’s behavior, it is a good idea to call in a behavioral therapist as soon as possible.

The sooner action is taken, the better. Depending on the breeder, a puppy that is not collected until after twelve weeks may have a lack of socialization. Of course there are breeders who know their responsibilities very well and who spare themselves neither time nor effort to sufficiently socialize a dog that due to circumstances stays a little longer. Unfortunately, it also happens very often that breeders are less conscientious about their puppies.

Pups that stay a little longer are often kept a bit afterwards in the hope that a buyer will come soon. These puppies are not taken outside enough to meet different kinds of people, children and other kinds of dogs, traffic and everything they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. In addition, there are unfortunately always the so-called “bread breeders”, where the puppies stay in sheds and lofts and do not actually come out until the moment of sale.

These puppies, with a poor to very poor socialization, are not easy to convert into social family dogs; they are disabled. There may even be a kennel syndrome. In that case, the dog is no longer open to its surroundings at all and lives in a hell, as it were. Sometimes, however, it is still possible to make up for the damage step by step, but that requires a lot of patience, time and craftsmanship.

In the case of a very poor socialization, it is not always possible to guarantee in advance whether a therapy will be successful. It is then up to the owner to consider whether he can and wants to invest a lot of extra time in the dog, without guarantee of results. It is also possible that you meet a puppy out of thousands, who behaves well, but who has a traumatic experience. You will often not notice anything about the puppy at first.

Nevertheless, there is a good chance that after a few months he suddenly turns out to have a phobia. For example, if your puppy has been attacked and bitten by another dog, it is a good idea to give him therapy with a behaviorist to prevent possible problems in the future.

Adult dogs

It is often the adult dogs for which a behavior therapist is called in. Of course this includes dogs that are taken from the shelter and that have the necessary scars from dealing with their previous owner. In those cases, intensive re-education comes into play. But it also concerns dogs that have been with their owner from the start.

Sometimes it concerns dogs in whom problem behavior suddenly arises at a later age. The cause often lies in a shocking event, such as moving house or the loss of a family member to whom the dog was particularly attached. Other times, it concerns dogs that gradually developed the problem behavior. Because the owner has never really noticed certain behavior of the dog, has always ignored it, has not corrected properly or has hoped that it would go away on its own, behavior can slowly but surely arise that is experienced as a problem.

Again, the sooner action is taken, the better. This does not alter the fact that many adult dogs, even if they have been causing problems for a very long period of time, are capable of surprising improvements. When we as humans get under the skin of the dog and thus start to think like a dog, we can learn to “understand” the dog and we can adequately “tell” him what we do and do not expect from him.

Dogs generally respond quickly and positively to this. If there is more clarity for the dog, there will also be more relaxation for him. At first, the owner only comes with effort, but soon he will be rewarded for this effort when he can see the improvement in his dog’s behavior.

Of course one problem is not the other and it will often depend on the cause of the problem behavior and the way in which it has been dealt with, how quickly results can be achieved. For example, if his unwanted behavior has always brought something to the dog, you will achieve results faster than it was only once. In some cases, the behavioral therapist will also draw the owner’s attention to the fact that certain undesirable behavior will first increase in intensity, then weaken and disappear completely.

In any case, every improvement stands or falls with the efforts and possibilities of the owner. After all, he is the one who has to do it – under the expert guidance of the behavioral therapist, of course.

Older dogs

That behavior therapy for older dogs is pointless may be referred to the land of fables. Undesirable behavior in older dogs that have been showing this for many years is of course ingrained and cannot or can hardly be remedied anymore, but it is possible to look at dealing with these ingrained problems as well as possible. A behavioral therapist can give valuable tips and advice and help everything in the right direction by means of dog-friendly aids.

There may also be an older dog that has to be transferred due to family circumstances, for example. Such a transfer is not easy for an older dog. His environment and routine were completely familiar to him and he will miss his previous home for a long time. If they come out of the shelter and have had to experience a lot of stress there in their old age, that also has its influence. If an older dog has difficulty with a transfer, whether or not from a shelter, and develops problem behavior as a result, it is certainly useful to call in a behavior therapist.

Just in case there is no transfer at all, we often see an older dog becoming part of the furniture. He does not immediately demand attention and sometimes gets it less and less or not at all. This can cause dogs to become depressed. They may also suddenly develop separation anxiety or show senility symptoms at a later age. This then manifests itself in asking to be let out while they have just returned, not knowing their way any more, living in a “little world of their own”.

The older dog also undergoes quite a few changes physically, which are not all equally easy. For example, they may need to be let out more often because their bladder and bowels are not functioning as well. When an older dog starts to show behavioral problems, it is therefore advisable to call in a behavior therapist. With an objective view of things, he can often put his finger on the sore spot and give advice that both the owner and the dog themselves can use.

Education versus action

When training, you gradually teach the dog something in a positive way. For every piece of an exercise that the dog performs well, he is rewarded and that way you achieve the desired result. So you teach the dog to show certain behavior when you ask for it. Parenting, on the other hand, has to do with social rules.

This applies to both dogs and humans. You can teach a child to read and write at school. Then you talk about education, but if the child then starts writing all kinds of protective words on the wallpaper, the aspect of upbringing comes up for discussion. You will have to let the child know that some things are acceptable and others are not.

The same goes for dogs. Education is therefore about setting boundaries. This is allowed and that is not allowed. In order to discover those boundaries, dogs will often first cross them once. That is the moment when the dog must be made known where exactly the boundary is. Communication is therefore of great importance. We cannot require our dogs to speak our language, but we can master their language.

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Clear Enclosures Give Your Pet Safety and a Great View



A lot of pet owners close their pets in a single room or a kennel when they’re away from home. That’s particularly true of dogs, because they can sometimes get into things while their owners are gone. Cats are less likely to do that, so they’re usually not kenneled. If you have a dog who needs its own enclosure when you’re at work or the grocery store there are options to provide your pet with comfort, security, and a good view of the world around them.

Problem: Standard Kennels Have Bars to Look Out Of

Most kennels are square or rectangular cages that keep your dog enclosed. They can be large enough to turn around comfortably in, but they don’t give your pet a lot of room beyond that. Kennel training or crate training is a common way to keep your dog in one spot when you can’t watch over them, and a lot of pet owners also use this method at night, so everyone can sleep without interruption. The lack of space inside the kennel, though, can get uncomfortable for your pet pretty quickly.

Solution: A Clear Enclosure Provides an Unobstructed View

With clear enclosures from a company like Clearly Loved Pets, your dog will be able to see everything around them without bars in the way. They also don’t have small spaces to stick their nose or paws through, so they won’t get pinched accidentally. Another bonus of clear enclosures is that they can be made to fit nearly any size or space. Your dog can have more room than it would have in a kennel, so it can enjoy playing and moving around much more freely, even if you have to be out of the house for a while.

Keeping Your Dog Safe Is Extremely Important

Your pet’s safety matters, and the right kind of enclosure will enhance that instead of taking away from it. Not only can your pet see you and the rest of its environment easily with a clear enclosure, but you can also see your pet and everything it has access to. Toys, food and water, puppy pads, and a soft place to lie down can all be put into the enclosure, and your pet will have everything it needs while you go about running errands or head off to work.

An enclosure that matches safety with aesthetics and comfort for your pet really is possible, when you can create the right size and type of space. There’s no more worrying about what your pet is up to while you’re away, when you can keep them confined to a space they can still enjoy.

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Caring for Your Furry Friends: The A-Z of Pet Care Essentials



Welcoming a pet into your family is a decision that brings joy and a sense of companionship into your home. It’s essential to consider how to ensure their well-being, primarily when regular responsibilities or travel pull them away. For those moments when you can’t be there personally, services like cat sitting services San Diego CA, provide reassurance that your pet is in caring hands. However, the need for comprehensive pet care extends beyond securing a loving pet sitter; it encompasses understanding and catering to the in-depth needs of your pet to cultivate a thriving environment for them.

Pets, like humans, require consistent care that addresses health, nutrition, and emotional well-being. Their essential needs vary widely depending on the species, breed, and individual personality. By acknowledging this, pet owners can personalize their approach to pet care, ensuring their furry friends lead a comfortable, happy life.

Creating a Safe and Welcoming Home Environment

A pet’s environment significantly impacts its health and happiness. Establishing a safe and pet-friendly home is one of the first steps toward responsible pet ownership. This includes safeguarding against potential dangers such as toxic plants, household chemicals, and small objects that might pose choking hazards. However, pet-proofing doesn’t end at safety; it’s also about creating an environment that encourages your pet to learn, play, and relax. Choosing the right toys and providing various forms of enrichment cater to your pet’s instincts and can prevent boredom and associated destructive behaviors.

The Importance of Regular Exercise

Exercise plays a pivotal role in your pet’s physical and mental health. It helps control weight, improves cardiovascular health, and can reduce behavioral problems related to excess energy. However, as with humans, the type and amount of exercise appropriate for a pet can vary greatly. Dogs generally require daily walks and play sessions for physical and mental stimulation, whereas cats can benefit from interactive play to keep their predatory skills sharp. Regular exercise can reinforce the pet-owner bond and ensure your pet’s well-being regardless of its form.

Grooming and Hygiene: Beyond Aesthetics

Many people associate grooming with the visual appeal it gives their pets. However, grooming practices such as brushing, bathing, and nail trimming are not only about looking good; they are paramount to maintaining your pet’s hygiene and discovering health issues early. When integrated into a pet’s routine, grooming can become a bonding experience and an opportunity to check for abnormalities like lumps, infections, or parasites that might go unnoticed. Learning proper grooming techniques for pet owners can be challenging, but it is a gratifying part of responsible pet care.

Veterinary Visits and Preventative Care

While caring for a pet at home is vital, having a good partnership with a veterinarian is equally essential. Annual or semi-annual check-ups can help catch issues before they become severe and provide an opportunity to discuss diet, behavior, and any concerns. Preventative care, including vaccinations and regular deworming, keeps diseases at bay. Insightful information on this topic can be found within the AVMA Preventive Pet Healthcare guidelines, highlighting how regular health checks and preventive measures are crucial for a pet’s long-term wellness.

Mental Health and Emotional Well-being of Pets

Pet owners often underestimate the importance of their pet’s mental health. Like people, pets experience various emotions and can develop stress-related behaviors. Signs such as excessive barking or meowing, chewing inappropriate objects, aggression, or withdrawal can all indicate psychological distress. Therapeutic methods such as interactive play, cognitive games, or structured training can improve your pet’s mental well-being. Additionally, creating a predictable and calm environment reduces stress, making your pet feel more secure and enabling them to live a balanced, happy life.

Training and Socialization: Building Good Behaviors

Educating your pet is not just an exercise in obedience; it is about mutual respect and understanding. Practical training hinges on consistency, patience, and gentle reinforcement of desirable behaviors. Thoughtful socialization practices introduce pets to various experiences and teach them how to react to the world around them healthily and confidently. Teaching basic commands, as well as complex skills, can offer mental stimulation and problem-solving exercises that are essential for your pet’s development.

Nutritional Needs: Feeding Your Pet Right

The cornerstone for any pet’s health is appropriate nutrition. The diversity in pet dietary needs can baffle even the most seasoned pet owners. Canines might thrive on a balanced commercial diet, while felines require a diet heavy in meat proteins. Understanding your pet’s specific nutritional requirements and adapting their diet as they age is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. Pet obesity is a significant health problem, often attributed to overfeeding and lack of knowledge about species-appropriate foods. Certain foods are crucial for robust health, but others can be harmful. Items like chocolate, avocado, and certain sweeteners like xylitol are toxic for many pets.

Additionally, dietary supplements can affect your pet’s nutrition, particularly as they age or if they suffer from health conditions requiring specific vitamins or minerals. For further information on how to feed your dog appropriately, valuable insights can be gained from resources, including the ASPCA Dog Nutrition Tips, which provides comprehensive guidance on dog diets and nutritional best practices.

The Lifelong Commitment to Pet Care

Pet ownership is a long-term commitment that doesn’t end as your pet ages – in many ways, it deepens. Understanding the specific care requirements of senior pets, such as modifying diets for decreased activity levels or managing chronic health issues, is part of this commitment. This stage of life may require frequent vet visits and changes to your home environment to accommodate decreased mobility. Being attuned to these shifts in your pet’s needs ensures that you continue to provide the highest level of care throughout their lifetime.

Being Prepared: Emergency Care and First Aid

Preparedness for potential emergencies can be the difference between life and death for a pet. Familiarizing yourself with basic first aid procedures and having supplies on hand can help stabilize your pet until professional medical help is available. An important aspect of preparedness is knowing who you can trust with your pet if you need more time to reach them.

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The Impact of Animal Welfare Organizations on Communities



Animal rescue efforts are essential for local communities because they help save animals’ lives and promote policies that prevent animal cruelty. They can also provide educational opportunities to community members.

Stakeholder networks must be resilient to the disturbances that inevitably affect their work. Ideally, they can adapt to these disturbances without losing their identity or purpose.


Animal welfare organizations frequently advocate to champion policies benefiting animals and humans. Examples include collaborating with lawmakers to promote responsible pet ownership, eliminate breed-discriminatory laws, and develop more humane housing options for pets. Some organizations, such as The Humane Society of New York (HSNY), a non-profit dedicated to animal welfare, extend their efforts beyond advocacy. HSNY provides essential and emergency medical services for cats and dogs, offering shelter and day-to-day care for rescued animals until suitable owners can be found. Additionally, animal welfare organizations undertake community programs, such as hosting low-cost spay/neuter clinics, organizing adoption fairs, and implementing no-kill initiatives to achieve shelter save rates of 90% or higher.

Some of the most successful advocates work in countries with established farmed animal movements that are more willing to accept and support activist tactics like street protests and other high-profile campaigns that generate media attention. However, talented and well-prepared individuals can get involved with farmed animal advocacy even in countries where these strategies could be more effective. This could include working as a volunteer or offering to act in a temporary care role, such as a foster home for a farm animal.

Educating the Community

Many animal control and field services officers believed community outreach was essential to their organizations. These officers felt that a focus on providing events for the public to interact with them personally increased community trust and led to positive outcomes for animals and people alike.

Officers also identified a need to continue outreach programs such as pet food pantries and community cats. Other resources that could be added included community veterinary clinics, free or low-cost spay/neuter services, and training for animal behaviorists.

These programs can address human inequities that limit access to pet care and veterinary services, contributing to the risk of shelter relinquishment. In addition, research has shown that community stressors such as economic disadvantage, poverty, crime, crowded housing, and high percentages of female-headed households are related to higher levels of reported animal cruelty. Providing pet support services may be an effective strategy for addressing these social stressors. This study’s findings can help these organizations establish and manage programs that benefit their communities and the animals within them.

Volunteer Management

The ability to recruit, train, and manage volunteers is a critical component of an animal welfare organization. A thriving volunteer program helps reduce staffing shortages and overwork, which can lead to burnout among animal shelter personnel and volunteers.

Although there are many books on general volunteer management, there needs to be more specific information available for animal care and control organizations on how to recruit and retain volunteers. This specialized manual fills that gap.

Community engagement is essential to addressing the root causes of animal cruelty and neglect. Research shows that areas with higher levels of human economic stress have higher rates of stray intake and euthanasia. Providing pet support services, such as food and supplies, low-cost veterinary care, training assistance, fences, and crates, in communities with financial distress is a critical way to improve access to the resources needed to keep pets healthy and thriving.


Animal welfare organizations depend on donors to fund their operations, and these supporters can be a crucial resource for helping animals. Faunalytics has researched how people support animal-focused causes and found that donating to an organization with a clear mission is associated with higher satisfaction levels for the donor.

Officers also discussed community engagement and how it related to their work. Many officers described the need for a more collaborative approach with their community. Some pointed out that there is a need for more resources to help with outreach and education and to allow officers the opportunity to interact with the public.

Other officers noted that “trap neuter return” (TNR) programs have positively impacted trust in the community and reduced the number of healthy cats euthanized. However, some officers indicated that they struggle to get support from their supervisors and leadership (“they should do more”) and from other local animal control and field service organizations and governments (“wish they had a different perspective”). This is an area where partnerships can be beneficial.

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