DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

Dogs Get Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Too

For some dogs its tail chasing, or chasing lights and shadows to the point of exhaustion. For others, its running in geometric patterns, perhaps in a figure 8. Or it can be swimming. Ive seen dogs who continuously swim, seven hours a day, says the director of our Animal Behavior Clinic, Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, DACVB. Theyre whimpering all the while because they cant stop even though theyre unbelievably tired. …

A New OCD Drug Application On the Horizon?

A few years ago, Dr. Dodman of the veterinary school at Tufts and Dr. Louis Schuster at the Tufts Medical School came up with a new pharmaceutical treatment for ameliorating the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD: NMDA blockers. NMDA is an acronym for a piece of the neurochemical wiring in the brain that allows for the action of glutamate, which is the number 1 excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and is…

Dear Doctor – Rescue dog scared in new home

p>Q About three months ago Iadopted a 1-year-old Lab-terrier mix. For the first two weeks she sat like a bump on the couch. She has warmed up considerably in the apartment, but when we go for a walk she becomes very apprehensive, scared even. She cowers or tries to run from people, cars, or noises.

In the Wake of the Boston Marathon Bombings Came Dogs Who Healed

I dont consider myself an animal person, says Kat Powers. But there I was sitting on the floor, getting kissed by a mini horse and patting a very, very large Newfie. At the same time, I was looking over at very tense mental health volunteers flown in from all over who were assisting families going through their worst week ever. And for the first time since the tragedy, as they walked up to dogs…

Might You and Your Dog Make a Good Therapy Team?

Fortunately, therapy dogs almost never end up responding to a mass trauma event like the Boston Marathon Bombing or, say, the shootings in a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school. They are more likely to be involved in one-on-one situations with a hospital or nursing home patient or small group situations, say, at a home for adolescents at risk. …

Getting a Dog Past Fear

How many times have you heard people - and even many dog trainers - say that the best way to help a dog past a fear of something is to immerse her in the very thing shes afraid of - throw her into the deep end of the pool, so to speak, where shell learn to cope as quickly as possible? …

For Some Fearful Dogs, July Can Be the Cruelest Month

For you, July might represent barbecues, good times at the beach, and vacations. But for a good number of dogs, it signals the fearsome sounds of fireworks and powerful summer thunderstorms. Yet it is quite reasonable to expect that you can desensitize your dog to the booms and crackles of fireworks, says Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic Director Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, DACVB. …

Dogs Are Figuring Us Out, Too

Weve devoted a fair amount of space in Your Dog to explaining that dogs experience the world differently than we do because of differences in their senses of sight, hearing, smell, and so on. But, it turns out, dogs are busy assessing how we experience our world, too - and using it to their advantage to gain access to resources. Researcher Juliane Kaminiski of the United Kingdoms University of Portsmouth made the discovery when she observed whether dogs took food they were firmly forbidden to eat.

True or False? An Aggressive or Willful Dog Is Trying to Dominate You.

It used to be accepted as common knowledge that dogs maintain a rigid social hierarchy largely through displays of physical might by an alpha who maintains his dominant position with aggressive force. The thinking was based on studies of wolves and other species in captivity, who couldnt get away from each other and had been thrown together artificially rather than forming a family in a natural manner. That led, not surprisingly, to physically pushy…

Is Canine Dominance Dead?

I dont use the words pack, alpha, submit, submissive, dominant, or dominance - at all, ever, and havent done so for almost 20 years, says Karen Overall, VMD, PhD, a Glen Mills, Pennsylvania-based board-certified animal behaviorist. Neither do many other well-trained animal behaviorists. And for good reason. The word dominant and all the other words associated with it have entered the common lexicon in a way that inaccurately describes dogs approach to their relationships, both…

My Dog Wont Let Me Take Off His Collar

My miniature dachshund, Otto, becomes aggressive when you go to take off his collar or harness. He is fine (most of the time) putting it on, but getting it off presents a big problem. Sometimes it takes days. Please help.

Does Tug-o-War Make Dogs Aggressive?

When I first got into animal behavior, says Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic Director Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, the story was that you didnt want to play tug of war with your dog, especially if he was displaying aggression. The thinking was that it would over-build a dogs confidence and the next thing, hed be biting you. It fell into the category of games that were tough in nature, like getting down and pushing a dog…