Are Behavioral Problems Medical Problems?

I'm not going to answer this question yet, because I want to know what you think. This is an issue because the veterinary practice acts in some states have been re-written to say that only veterinarians can treat "mental conditions" in animals. The argument of some veterinarians is that 'mental conditions' include any and all behavioral problems, that behavioral problems are thus medical problems and anyone treating them who is not a vet is breaking the law. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. After you join in, I'll add my opinion to the mix. Meanwhile, back at the farm: The humidity broke for a few days, and how glorious it was. Regrettably most of the time I was stuck in a skanky-smelling hotel, but Friday evening was glorious. Saturday morning I reveled in picking strawberries at Read More

Cesar Millan and Merial

You may have heard by now that the pharmaceutical company Merial (they make Heartguard and Frontline) have teamed up with Cesar Millan to promote their products. They are offering veterinary clinics a deal this summer in which they can give any client who buys Heartguard or Frontline a free DVD from Cesar titled "Mastering Leadership!" They will even include a DVD that clinics can use to "entertain" their clinics in the waiting room (they did not use the word "educate") with segments from "Mastering Leadership with Cesar." I'm happy to say that the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and several CAABs (Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists) have written Merial to complain. The paragraph below is an excerpt from a letter by CAAB Suzanne Hetts Ph.D. "Scientific research about how Read More

Why Don’t Cat Lovers Buy Cat Books?

Here's an authentic question for you all, and I would love to hear your answers. The question in the title is based on a phenomenon that seems to be consistent across many years and in many contexts. The 'word' in the publishing industry is that, compared to dog lovers, cat lovers buy very few cat related books. I remember when Dogwise (Direct Books) started out they sold both cat and dog books, until they dropped the cat-related items because they didn't sell well and weren't worth the trouble. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's smash best seller The Hidden Life of Dogs was followed by a book, Tribe of the Tiger, that didn't sell particularly well.  I get 100 (1,000?) requests to do dog behavior-related seminars for every one cat behavior seminar I'm asked to do (I LOVE doing cat behavior Read More

Trisha on Larry Meiller Monday June 22nd

I almost forgot to mention that I get to see Larry Meiller (my co-host on the public radio show, now cancelled, Calling All Pets, for those of you who don't know him) this coming Monday. I'll be on his show from 11 to 11:45 and it'll be lovely to work with him again and talk to folks in Wisconsin about their animals. Meanwhile, back at the farm: Last night we had two house-shaking thunderstorms, no sleep for me and the dogs and hard work for the surge protector which was crying pitiously when I went downstairs at 3 am. Man it can be interesting to live in the midwest!  We got about 3 inches at the farm, no damage that I can see, except the poor flowers took a beating. Last night I took the dogs for a walk about a mile from the farm. I'd say a good time was had by all, but Willie is Read More

Feisty Fido, Prompts and Lures in Dog Training, Advanced Canine Behavior DVD

Karen London and I are revising Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash Aggressive Dog, and I find myself fascinated by how perspectives and techniques change over time. We're not changing the essence of the booklet, far from it, but there are a few things that are being modified because of our experiences and gains in knowledge since we wrote it. Most of the booklet will remain the same--especially the emphasis on teaching an incompatible behavior when a dog barks, lunges or behaves problematically toward another dog while on a walk. But we are modifying some of the advice, and I'm interested in your experiences related to our recommendations. First off, we are putting less emphasis on the importance of teaching "Watch" to mean "turn and look at me UNTIL I RELEASE YOU." For those of you not Read More