DOG TRAINING AND BEHAVIOR

Dear Doctor

Letters to Tufts Veterinarians - My dog scares smaller dogs; Why dog urinates indoors is a mystery; Cure for kidney failure?

Theyre Picking Up More Than You Realize

Its well established that while dogs yawn if theyre tired, youre even more apt to see them yawning when theyre under stress. With yawning, a dog is working to displace the stress, or inner conflict, with a safe, neutral behavior. People do the same thing - not necessarily yawn, but do something to cope with their feeling ill at ease in a situation they cant get out of. …

Protecting a Small Dog Against a Big Dog Attack

Perhaps youve seen the scenario played out in front of you. A large dog comes galloping toward a small one in what can only be interpreted as an attack, and the owner of the little dog picks it up to protect it from harm - which works to make the larger dog even more aggressive and tenacious. It continuously jumps up in an attempt to bite, or at least scare, the smaller one, sometimes…

Yes, Protect Your Small Dog.Dont Over-Protect Her.

Its never your fault if a larger dog attacks your smaller one. But there is something you can do to make your dog less reactive so that she might not as easily become a target for larger dogs. Dont overcompensate for her small size by constantly picking her up out of concern. If the owner of a little dog becomes anxious about her safety even without any hint of trouble, the dog might have a…

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.