MARY BUCKLEY: Hello, everybody. I want to welcome you to our second Baker Pet Talks here at the Baker Institute for Animal Health. Thanks so much for coming. Once everybody has a seat, I want to introduce. My name is Mary Buckley I'm communications manager here for the Baker Institute for Animal Health and for the Cornell Feline Health Center.
And I want to introduce you to Dr. Luis Schang. He is director of our institute in the Feline Health Center. He's going to welcome you.
DR. LUIS SCHANG: Thank you very much. Thank you everybody for coming. Have a good night. I don't know how many of you have been here before for the Baker Pet Talks, but I haven't. I just start as a director in September 1. So this is going to be my first one. No pressure at all for the speaker. It's going to be very exciting one, I know.
So thank you everybody for coming. And I'm not sure how familiar you are with the Baker Institute for Animal Health. But we are basically a research institute. And as such, what we do is we find the unknown. And the unknown may be useful or not. And we don't know.
Now the Feline Health Center, and the future would be a canine health center, are the institutes that allows us to be in contact with you, the owners and lovers, or the animals themselves due to the [? genetics. ?] So we know what is needed. And we know, of what we do, what we should be trying to move forward towards an application to solve a problem.
So your presence is as important as the research that we do in the lab. Without you telling us what is happening, what we do is useless. So thank you very much for coming. And I'm looking forward to an exciting talk.
MARY BUCKLEY: Thank you, Luis. And I will now introduce our first speaker. Dr. Pam Perry is a 1989 graduate of Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. And she has a Ph.D focusing on shelter animal behavior and welfare.
Dr. Perry is a lecturer in small animal behavior at Cornell where she's completing her behavior residency. And she's also a consultant for the Cornell Feline Health Center. We have a call-in service called the Camuti Consultation Service. A fee based phone service that offers expert veterinary advice for owners and veterinarians.
And Dr. Perry is our resident behavior expert for all feline behavior problems. So we brought in the best here. Thank you, Pam, for coming, and take it away.
PAMELA PERRY: All right, thank you. And thank you all for coming.
Hopefully, I'll make it through this without my allergies kicking in.
SPEAKER 1: Two cats?
PAMELA PERRY: I have five cats. I'm not allowed to go to an animal shelter again because I came home with a liter the last time. I only got rid of one. I kept the rest. How do I get on to the presentation? Do I just--
MARY BUCKLEY: I think it should just be the next one.
PAMELA PERRY: Oh, OK.
MARY BUCKLEY: Nope. That was a bad guess.
PAMELA PERRY: Let's see. Let me try this.
MARY BUCKLEY: There you go. That's it. This one right there.
PAMELA PERRY: And poor eyesight here. Are right. There we go. OK, one of my favorite things about lecturing is I get to use my own animals in the slides because they're just so adorable. You can't really see here, but actually this is from Dr. [? Helps ?] lecture notes.
And it's a page with cat facial expressions. So Pip was demonstrating just what they really meant to her. So I'm gonna try to get through this really quickly because I want to have plenty of time for questions. But I chose two topics that I could spend about four hours on. And I'm gonna to try to do them in 20 minutes.
And the two that I chose are two of the most common reasons that cats get relinquished, or surrendered, or kicked out of the house, or euthanized, and certainly very common for veterinarians in practice who were fielding these from their client's. House soiling and urine marking fall under the category of feline elimination problems.
So any time you find urine that's not in the litter box but somewhere else in the house, then it's usually one of these two issues that's going on. People often call it inappropriate elimination. But really, elimination is a very appropriate behavior. And everyone who's done it knows that it's very appropriate.
So it's not inappropriate. It's an undesirable location. So I like to call it house soiling. So any time a cat is eliminating, voiding his or her bladder and/or bowels outside of the litter box, we call that house soiling. Urine marking is a marking type of behavior, as it says, and usually is in the form of spraying.
So a cat spraying on a vertical surface, primarily. Although, some do mark on horizontal surfaces. And we'll go through a little bit of the distinctions between these two because a lot of the treatments the same, but they are treated slightly differently. So for marking behavior, it's usually a vertical surface versus house soiling, which is true elimination behavior, which is horizontal.
Markings are usually a small amount of urine. Anybody who's ever walked a male dog knows that they can save up that last drop for that last tree. So they use a little bit of urine to make that just one little message versus voiding their bladder for house soiling so it's a large amount of urine.
The posture is even differently. Anybody that's seen a cat spray, they get a very erect posture. The tail is erect. It often quivers. They tread with their back feet, and they spurt out a fine stream of urine. Whereas, with cats who normally urinate and defecate, it's more of a normal squatting type of posture.
Although, I have been blessed with cats who like to stand up while they urinate. And as I call them, high shooters. It makes it a little bit more fun to try to keep that in the litter box, but it can happen. And with urine marking, it's typically on an upright surface. Again, vertical surfaces or something that's more socially significant.
For some reason, they liked the top on the burners of the stove. Kind of like, maybe, a heated, scented candle or something for them. Doesn't go over well with clients. I can tell you that much. Furniture, something, usually windows. The trigger for it is the presence of an outdoor cat.
House soiling can be just about anywhere. And we'll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. Again, urine marking is a marking behavior. They're marking their territory. It can be territorial. It can be hormonal. If you have an intact male cat, he will mark.
If you have an intact female cat, she may mark when she comes into heat because they are signaling to everybody that this is who I am, and I'm here. But also, if you have a cat that's stressed, that has some social anxiety issues, that cat may mark. So even if they are neutered, 10% of neutered males and 5% of neutered female cats will still mark.
And it's not an easy behavior for us, as humans, to deal with because we do not like the smell. So just, kind of, a general overview of how we address the house soiling part of this. And this part actually overlaps with urine marking. You must rule out medical issues because a lot of these cats do have medical problems.
And if you're only treating the behavior and you have an underlying medical reason why they started house soiling, you're not gonna make any progress. So you really need to make sure that there are no medical issues. Or if there are, you must treat those concurrently.
So remove the underlying cause, whether it's medical or something else, and re-establish the litter box. So we want to get the cat back in the box. And then, we want to prevent-- while we're doing that-- prevent access to the areas where they like to urinate or defecate.
So removing the cause. Again, treating the medical condition. Don't punish. This is a normal behavior. It's a self-free, rewarding behavior. Anybody who has a full bladder knows that once you relieve it, you feel a whole lot better. So punishing it doesn't make sense.
What we want to do is figure out why they are house soiling. Why are they going outside the box? We want to reduce any anxiety or social stress. We want to keep everything very consistent, predictable. We want to keep these cats happy because when they're unhappy, that's when we have these problems.
So for re-establishing litter box use, we want to make this kind of a spa bathroom. We want them to really love going in this box. So it's gonna take a little bit of detective work. And one of the ways we do it is to figure out what type of litter do they like.
Cats usually like to have fine grained, soft textured litter that's clumping, unscented, and they usually prefer deep-- not always-- but deeper litter. And they certainly like it to be clean, especially if you have multiple cats in the home. So the rule of thumb is to have one litter box for cat plus 1.
So if you have one cat, you need two boxes. If you have four cats, you need five boxes. And if you have five cats like some people, you need six. It's a lot of scooping but, you know, it's worth it. Another thing we offer is a litter cafeteria.
And what you could do, initially, is take three boxes side by side in the same location, and you put a different litter in each type. So you put one brand in one type, a different brand in another and so on. And you do a little bit detective work, and figure out which of the litters your cat likes. Always keep your original litter in one of them because we don't want to make the problem worse while we're trying to figure out what the cat's preference is.
You can also experiment with different depths in the litter box. You can make a gradient, like a swimming pool gradient. Deeper on one end and shallow on the other. But if you have five cats, they usually just get it all over the floor anyway. So it doesn't matter.
Cats usually, especially cats with intact claws, do not like plastic liners. Some will tolerate them, but the liners are for our convenience. The cats don't like them. They like clean litter. Same as if you use a communal bathroom, and especially if you're doing it with somebody you don't care for, you want them to flush in between. So the more often we scoop, the better because they're less likely to want to use a litter box if they're not getting along with the other cat who's also using the litter box.
Cats also often prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in another. And I've found that throughout my years of being a crazy cat lady that that is very true. So that's why having the extra box is really important. And remember, their sense of smell is a lot better than ours. So we want an uncovered litter box.
Otherwise, it's like going in one of those little porta johns that you see at the fairgrounds. It traps the odor in. And they really don't like that.
Other things to do is to change the behavioral function of the soiled areas to prevent their access to it. So you can put food dishes down, bedding, toys, or something that is incompatible with urinating, hopefully. So you know, feed them there. Put their food and all their beds down. This doesn't always work with urine marking because cats will mark wherever.
To make the areas undesirable, you can put scat mat, which is like a strip that has like a static charge so when they step on it they get a little bzzt-- like kind of the shock when the air is really dry and you touch somebody. You can put the plastic carpet runners. They have the little nubby feets. You put nubby side up so it's a little uncomfortable to step there. Foil, plastic, double sided sticky tape. I love the aluminum foil house.
You just really want to know why. If the problem was that bad, I hope they were referred somewhere because that's a lot of foil. So also to make the areas inaccessible, you can set up barriers. You can put the litter box where they're going.
If they're preferring one location in the corner of the room, then let's put a litter box there. It doesn't have to stay there. But let's get the cat back in the box. We have to get the box use reestablished that's the important part of this.
And I tell owners it's not permanent. We don't need to leave the litter box in the middle of the dining room. We can eventually move it out because you'll have to have dinner guests someday. Or if they're going in the bathroom, then you can certainly put water in the tub to keep them from using it.
However, I think if they're using the bathtub, it's just a lot easier to clean it there. And I just let them do it. My preference, but I guess I'm not everybody.
Cleaning the soiled areas is really important. Enzymatic bacterial combinations are the best products because they break down the organic matter so that the residual order is eliminated. My favorite primarily because of the name is Anti Icky-Poo.
And it actually is labeled for forensic use. So it claims to get rid of the odor of dead bodies. So if it's that potent, it's gonna work pretty well on cat urine and feces smells. It's always good to know. Nature's Miracle is another popular one.
Kennel Odor Eliminator. Feline Odor Neutralizer. There's Planet Urine and Zero Odor. I love these names. I want to be the person who comes up with these names in my next life. So there's a lot of different products. But the enzymatic ones, especially with the bacterial combinations, are the best to get rid of all the odor.
So that's, kind of, a really quick of feline house soiling. And I will say again that most cats prefer unscented litter, finally textured, and clumping. They prefer uncovered boxes. They want the boxes located where they're easily accessible, not hidden in the back of the basement behind the washing machine that now is because you just had twins it's going all the time.
They want it where it's private, but yet they can get to. And also an area where they have a good vantage point so they don't get ambushed coming out because if you have multiple cats, it's a really good time to pick on the other cat is when they're getting out of the litter box. And trust me, having five, they like to pounce on each other coming out of the box.
So that's the general overview of house soiling treatment. For treatment of spraying, again, identify and remove the cause. Hopefully, we can try to figure that out. A lot of times, it is some form of social anxiety. If it's a intact cat, neuter them. That will really help.
If the cat is spraying because of outside cats, then we need to block either their view of the outside cats, or try to keep something to prevent the cats from coming too close to the house and triggering this behavior. I've had to, for other reasons, pull shades every night to block visual access to outside cats. And when you have 32 windows, it's a lot of shade pulling.
If its problems with cats within the same home, then you may need to have a separation period because if they're not getting along, that may be causing the spraying. Sometimes cats who are indoors who initially were an outdoor cat and brought them in will spray. If you let them back out, they may resolve their spraying, or they just may do it outside.
However, some cats if you let them out, then they become more stimulated and will come back in and spray anyway. So that's, kind of, a careful one to recommend. It could go either way. Piddle Pants-- again, I love these names-- is a cute little product that I did finally get some clients to try. I'm kind of inept with these things.
So they essentially just have a little diaper area. And then, you just can put them on it at times when you want to let the cat out into parts of the house where you're worried that he might spray. And again, most of these are going to be males, but not always. Females will spray, as well.
I did have a client try this product. And she said when she put him on it, the cat acted like oh, OK, I can't I'm not even going to bother trying. He seemed to understand that that option was no longer available. And it was during other times of the day when he wasn't supervised, he was confined in one room where he never sprayed anyway.
So it worked really well in that situation. And cats tolerate these better than I thought they would. The more cats you have in your home, the more likely you are to have one who sprays, especially if you get over 10. Once you get to that point, somebody is going to be spraying. You can almost guarantee it.
So really, if you can, to decrease the cat population-- I just got back from a conference for the feline practitioners. And 2 of the days were focused on feline behavior. And one of the big concepts they were pushing is that you may have five cats, but you have three social groups.
So if you look at your cats and say, OK, these two hang together all the time, this ones always by herself, he's always by himself, so you have four cats. But you have three groups. So you need to treat them as individuals. And they have separate groups that need to be addressed as separate entities.
So it's important that if you have 10 cats and you have 10 social groups, you've got a problem. If they're all not getting along, then really maybe we should try to re-home some of them. Medication is often needed for spraying, especially by the time we see them because, again, these cats are stressed. They're not doing it out of spite or because they're just a bad cat. They're stressed, they're anxious, and if anti-anxiety medication that will help reduce that, then everybody's happy.
Pheromones can be certainly used as an adjunct. I think by themselves, probably not going to do a whole lot. But they are certainly a beneficial adjunct. And the theory is that the Feel Away brand-- the Feel Away regular because now they have another one for multi-cat-- is the synthetic version of the facial pheromone.
So when cats rub up against an item, you know, when they headbutt you, they're leaving their scent, their pheromones, on you. And cats are less likely to spray over areas that have been cheek rubbed. So if you have Feel Away sprayed or diffused all over the place, it's theoretically supposed to keep them from spraying around.
Although, one of my students told me their cat sprayed the diffuser. So not sure what that really means. This is just an example. Actually, these are not my litter boxes but my kitties litter boxes. And to give you an idea of what you could do for a spray panel, this is a covered litter box with a top and the front third of it cut off.
So then, I use back as a back-splash. And this is a box set inside another sweater box on its side with the lid here to act as a kind of a catch all. This I use not as a spray panel but because I have high shooters in my house. And they like to stand and urinate as high as they can against the back wall, if possible.
OK, so on to topic number two. You still doing OK with time? OK, five minutes on scratching. Are we ready?
So scratching. Scratching is, again, a normal behavior. It's to sharpen and maintain the claws. It maintains the integrity of the claws. Cats do it as a form of communication. They have pheromones from the interdigital glands on their feet. And it also is good for stretching and exercising their muscles.
So how do we deal with cats who scratch because, I mean, again, it's normal behavior. Every cat's going to scratch. So to keep them from destroying your home, we need to take into consideration what are the functions of the scratching behavior and try to adapt to it. So for sharpening and maintaining their claws, we need to figure out, OK, what texture do they prefer for this.
So fabric. Some like a type of a carpeting fabric. Or apparently, the underside of the bed was the cambric fabric. I found it's really fun for kittens. Sisal, rope, cardboard, you know, again, there's a lot of different varieties of scratching posts. But try to figure out which ones your cats prefer.
The angle is important. Some cats like to scratch horizontally. Some cats like the vertical scratching. And some-- whoops-- like this one like the angled ones. And I also have found that my cats like to do this upside down. I'm not sure why. Head rush maybe.
So you have to do a bit of investigation. But try to find your cats preference. Or if you're like me, you just have one of each all over the house. Again, communication. This is where the cheek rubbing comes in. So if we use Feel Away, then it might encourage more of the facial rubbing rather than the scratching or spraying behavior.
Location, location, location. Cats usually scratch for communication in well-traveled, prominent areas. So that's why the corner of the couch gets targeted or the doorway, the wood frame. So that's where we need to have something that's appropriate for them to scratch.
And there are so many cool scratching ideas for do it yourselfers or products out there, every shape form, that you can get some that looks really nice. And they even have some that they're like functional. They're an end table and a scratching post with litter box underneath. Although, I wouldn't use the litter box part.
So again, you want to locate them where they're most likely to scratch. And if they're just scratching because they're using this for the exercising and the stretching, if anyone has watched a cat stretch, they go from being this big to, like, this long. I mean, it's incredible.
When they really stretch their legs and claws out, they need pretty good height on them. So these little small scratching posts aren't going to do it. And you know, this is kind of what we think of with scratching posts. You got to make sure it's sturdy enough so when they use it, it doesn't fall over on them because that doesn't serve any purpose.
I love climbing scratching walls, especially with the young ones because they get up to the top, and then they're like, how do I get down? So you need to accommodate the size, height, and sturdiness according to what your cat needs. And this is I was laid up last summer on my porch after foot surgery. So I had my miter saw next to me. And I decided to make my porch into a catio.
And I made a little stairs going up. A shelf here. Shelf there, there. I made this scratching post up here with carpet remnants and some rope. And I made this, which I think is highlighted here. And is my climbing, scratching wall.
And it's a cedar plank with one by one pieces of cedar wood wrapped with sisal rope around them. And then, just screwed to this post every nine inches. So they can either climb up it, or usually what they do is get halfway up, and they used the sisal part to scratch. And it seems to make everybody happy.
And the thing is when you do put perches up, make sure they have different exits. So it looks taller here. But they actually can jump from here to here. And so they can get down multiple ways. So they don't get up there, and somebody chase them, and then they're trapped. You don't want to trap your cats when you have more than one.
You can also use deterrents. You can put the Soft Paws on, the nail caps. Certainly reward your cat when they use the scratching post. That's always good. I don't like to actually take the pets claws and rub them on the scratching post.
Although, I have gone over and scratched it myself. And they look at me like you don't know how to do that. And sometimes, they'll try to, kind of, like all right. And they go over, and they show me how it's done.
Vertical space. Any type of enrichment so that they don't feel the need that they have to scratch every place. And remember that when they're feeling anxious, they want to make their territory more secure, more familiar. So they're more likely during those times to urine spray or to scratch up the furniture more. So it's important to add as much enrichment as you can.
Cat grass and food dispensing toys are really, really valuable things to add for enrichment. And these are some food puzzles. This is a compressed air canister that shoots out a blast of air if you get within those certain radius that you can keep them away from your brand new sofa. Although, I tend to be the one to trigger them.
This is double sided sticky tape that you can put on areas that you don't want scratched. Nail caps, food toys, and cat grass, which is really easy to grow. And vertical space, we under utilize way too much. Cats really like to use that third dimension. So the more we can offer them, the better off everybody is. And they just love it. And I think I made it.
MARY BUCKLEY: Thank you so much, Pam, for that. We now have time for questions from the audience here in person and also the people who are watching us through the live stream on our website. So anyone here in person have a question for Pam about cat behavior? I'm coming over. Gonna get you on the mic.
SPEAKER 2: OK, we've got two cats. We've got four cat boxes, one on each floor. They like to use the one on the second floor, both of them. They don't get along with each other very well, though, they both hang out when we're gone in the same room.
And it's a weird mixture where one's playing and one's fighting. And they don't seem to understand what the other one's doing. This is all on the second floor. A male and a female. The male, every few months, decides he needs to pee in the plants on the first floor.
PAMELA PERRY: Well that's just another litter box.
You know, the soil, that's a-- you have regular potting soil in there?
SPEAKER 2: Yeah.
PAMELA PERRY: OK. Yeah, I mean, that's just a normal substrate for them. So I think the best way is just to-- actually, my cat wasn't urinating in my plants but was digging. You know, just playing in the soil, is to put something. Like you can put marble chips at the base or pine cones.
Put foil over the base of the plants with just enough area for the water to get in. Something that deters them. Or one of, like, the Scat, which is a compressed air deterrent. If you have it set there, I found that what happens when a cat walks by is it gets this blast of air. And cats do not like that, except for one cat I had. But he's, kind of, quirky.
I think he was dropped on his head when he was born. But once they learn that that happens with that canister is there, you don't need to leave it turned on. All you have to do is show it to him. And they're like, OK, no. Sorry. So something like that, if it's in the corner of a room, that might be worth trying.
SPEAKER 2: You had a question to ask?
SPEAKER 3: So would you suggest just changing the soil up if it smells a little bit of [? pee. ?] Would that--
PAMELA PERRY: Oh, yeah.
SPEAKER 3: --convince them that they needed to work harder at getting through the foil or the chips or anything because it's already been established?
PAMELA PERRY: Smells like a litter box, yeah. Or I'm sure, depending on how deep the soil is, I would check with the company first. But I don't know if-- Dr. [INAUDIBLE], do you know if the Anti Icky Poo would penetrate enough or would it harm the plant?
SPEAKER 3: [INAUDIBLE].
PAMELA PERRY: I've sprayed it in a crawl space that was a wood floor. A wood floor, sorry. A dirt floor. And several times, it soaked in, and it got rid of the odor of mice who had been down there until I found the hole.
So yeah, but that's a good question. You might want to re-pot it and get fresh soil to start with. And even putting something like citrus essential oil nearby because they don't like the smell of citrus, usually. That might deter them.
MARY BUCKLEY: OK, we have a question from one of our online viewers. She asks, how can you better socialize an orphan kitten who's a singleton? Without a queen to teach bite inhibition, these kittens often grow up with biting issues. And I have an orphaned singleton who's already showing signs of bad behavior.
PAMELA PERRY: Me too. This little orange cutie upside down here, he was a singleton. Came to me-- that was the first of my kitten spree-- at six weeks of age and had absolutely no bite or scratch inhibition. And he really was a little monster.
These three cuties are the three of the four of the litter that I had fostered and then kept. And once they were through their initial health isolation phase, within two days, it turned him into a completely different cat. He went from biting and attacking anything that moved, especially me, to being the sweetest, most gentle, well-behaved cat that I think I've had.
So certainly getting that kitten with other kittens is really important. Hand-reared animals of any species tend to have behavior problems because they don't learn those social skills from us. We don't teach them very well. So it's very important for them to have that social contact.
MARY BUCKLEY: And we have a question here, this gentleman.
PAMELA PERRY: Yes.
SPEAKER 4: Thank you. So we have a adult singleton who's an occasional biter and scratcher. He's otherwise very affectionate and a wonderful cat. But when he wants to play, biting is part of what he does. So would you recommend introducing a second cat with a 9-year-old?
PAMELA PERRY: How old is he?
SPEAKER 4: 9.
PAMELA PERRY: No.
No. No, only as a kitten I would do that.
SPEAKER 4: OK.
PAMELA PERRY: At that age, no, it probably would not go over very well, especially if he's been by himself.
SPEAKER 4: He has.
PAMELA PERRY: The thing is it's really hard to deal with these because that's the way they've always interacted. And so what they're doing is they're usually biting you because they want your attention, primarily, or want to play. Sometimes they bite you when you've petted them for too long, but that's a whole other issue.
So if they're biting for attention, then you need to stop giving them any attention for that behavior. However, biting hurts. So we usually give them attention whether we intend to or not. So usually, if you watch their body signals, you can tell that they're going to bite.
The ears may turn out in back. The tail will start twitching. Their body tenses. Their skin might ripple. If you see any of those signs, then you just stand up, you walk, and you just end the interaction. Try to preempt it, or you throw a toy, and try to redirect the cat.
But if the cat starts to bite, then that's it. No, you're not going to interact. You withdraw all your attention so that they have to learn that biting is not going to work.
SPEAKER 4: Thank you.
MARY BUCKLEY: Questions here in the audience? All right. Sorry. [INAUDIBLE].
SPEAKER 5: We have a cat that is otherwise very sweet and cuddly and everything. But she hates to be picked up. And that's really tough getting her in the cat carrier to get off to the vet. Do you have any ideas for getting a cat used to being picked up?
PAMELA PERRY: Yeah. You know, some cats, like people, just don't like to be touched. They don't enjoy it. Did you have her as a kitten? Or did she come to you as an adult?
SPEAKER 5: She was a year and a half old.
PAMELA PERRY: OK. You know, she just may have never had that type of contact during her early development period, which is what is really important between about the ages of 2 and seven weeks is when they're most amenable to forming social attachments. So if they don't have that experience, then it might seem a little bizarre to them.
This little cutie on the end here, even though they're all handled all the time, they've been together, she doesn't like to be picked up. She doesn't like touch. She has a really difficult time sitting still for it. If she approaches on me and gets on my lap, that's fine. But I can't go and pick her up. Like, I could. But I'm not gonna force it on her.
So what you can do is, does she get on your lap when you're sitting down? Sometimes? So when she's on your lap, then you can give her a treat. And you can pet her a couple of times, and give her a treat so that she gets rewarded every time she's on your lap.
And if you are on the floor with her petting, then you can try to just put your arm around a little bit. And then, pull it right back. And usually, if you go very slowly, and as soon as she starts to tense you back off, then you can make more progress. It's when you force the issue on her that it becomes a problem.
In terms of getting her in the cat carrier, you might want to try wrapping her in a towel or something so that she's wrapped up in the bundle. And then, you can put the whole bundle. And that way it, kind of, separates her from you in that whole process.
I had one cat I used to take to my clinic in a pillow case. And he loved it. You know, he was a snuggler anyway. Then, he'd peek his head out and go, oh no, we're not home yet.
MARY BUCKLEY: OK, I think we have time for one more question. So I'll take this one right here.
SPEAKER 6: What's the best way to introduce a cat to a dog? I've had a dog that I adopted from rescue almost a year ago. And I keep them separated and it's a pain. I have two dogs and a cat. And the cat gets along-- she's three-- she gets along with the one dog. And she won't protect herself.
Like, the other dog that I'm trying to introduce her to-- she'll roll on her belly. And he'll chase her. He's chasing her up the cat tree and everything. I don't know. It's not going very well. I mean, I don't want to re-home either one of them.
PAMELA PERRY: Will the cat approach the dog if you have the dog on a leash?
SPEAKER 6: Yeah, but then the dog has, like, barrier aggression. Like, he just wants to-- I don't know. Like, any kind of a restraint, like a gate-- I've tried different ways-- like a gate or being in a crate or whatever, he just flips out at me. He looks like the most aggressive dog ever.
PAMELA PERRY: Even on leash?
SPEAKER 6: Yeah, he'll just go and chase her.
PAMELA PERRY: You know, unless you can control the dog, it's not gonna be too easy to introduce them. But usually, what I have people do is keep the dog on leash, and let the cat come up to the dog at will, but not to force the issue.
SPEAKER 6: OK.
PAMELA PERRY: If he's gonna, you know, chase the cat every time, then either you need to make sure the cat has gazillion escape routes, or you just keep them separated.
SPEAKER 6: That's what I'm doing right now. I have a trainer with the dog.
PAMELA PERRY: And work more with the dog part of it before you try introducing with the cat.
SPEAKER 6: OK, thank you.
PAMELA PERRY: So sure. It can be tough, I know.
MARY BUCKLEY: Great, thank you so much, Pam.
PAMELA PERRY: Thank you.
MARY BUCKLEY: That was great. Now I will introduce our next speaker. Dr. Michelle Bamberger is here.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Thank you. Got it.
MARY BUCKLEY: Dr. Bamberger is also a graduate, surprise, of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. She's a researcher, author, and veterinarian, and private practice here in Ithaca at Vet Behavior Consults. After graduating from Cornell, Dr. Bamberger studied at Oxford University and practiced small animal, and exotic medicine, and surgery in both Massachusetts and here in New York State.
She returned to Cornell for training in behavior medicine as a visiting fellow. Thank you for coming, Dr. Bamberger. Please, come on up. I've got a placeholder slide here. There.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: [INAUDIBLE] testing. So is this--
MARY BUCKLEY: Testing, testing.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Testing. Can everyone hear me?
MARY BUCKLEY: Sound good.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Great. OK, fantastic.
MARY BUCKLEY: Thank you.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Thank you. So I don't have any slides tonight. So we don't have to worry about that. So I'd like to thank Bruce [? Cornreich ?] for inviting me to speak tonight and for everyone who showed up. Special shout-out to the Finger Lakes Kennel Club that I've heard has come out and is also, hopefully, online. Ask some questions later.
So usually for talks like this, I direct the lecture to a specific behavior problem and the treatment of that behavior problem. That's what I've done in the past. But this time, I decided to do something different by approaching prevention versus a problem to talk about.
And the reason for that is that more than 14 years now of just behavior practice. And I'm still amazed by the number of clients who don't know basic concepts of prevention or don't know how to implement those ideas of prevention. So that's why I decided to talk about this tonight.
But aside from that, why should we talk about prevention? There are a lot of good reasons to talk about prevention when it comes to behavior in general. And that's because these cases can be really, really difficult. That's not to say that medicine cases can't be difficult to treat also.
But with behavior, you're really dealing with many, many, many different factors that can be very, very difficult to manage and to treat. And unfortunately, the cases that we do see most of, which are aggression and separation anxiety in dogs, sometimes end up in, unfortunately again, euthanasia where the dogs cannot be managed in the home or cannot be re-homed.
So for all these reasons, it's really good to think to yourself when you get a dog, how can I prevent some of these down the road so it's not going to make it a lot harder to deal with? Because once a behavior becomes ingrained over months and years, it can be really difficult to reverse not only for the dog, but also for the owner because I'll be talking in a minute or so about the owner. A big part of this is the owner changing their behavior.
But suppose you do everything perfect. You follow all the rules. You've researched your puppy. You've researched the breeder. You've researched the shelter, the rescue. You've done everything right.
You're gonna do everything I talk about tonight, plus more. And you still end up with a behavior problem. I think the really important take home from my lecture tonight, if you don't remember anything else, is to jump on a behavior problem. Don't wait for it to get worse.
You want to go right away to your veterinarian. Make sure you rule out medical causes of behavior problems. And then, if you get that straightened out, go ahead and get behavior treatment or a referral. But the worst thing to do is to wait.
So many people wait for the behavior to get worse. They wait for a bite to happen. And sometimes, they wait to be sued. So you don't want to wait that long. Really jump on it. OK, so let's start talking about some of these really basic, simple concepts.
I'm gonna be talking, again, for a short while tonight and leave plenty of time for questions. The first one seems very simple and obvious. But I feel like all of us don't do it enough. And that is to reward good behavior.
So what does that mean? That means let your dog know when they're there doing the right thing. That can be as simple as a pet or praise when the dog isn't barking in a situation where the dog would be normally barking in. Or if you're walking your dog and a dog is not lunging or trying to do something else, you really want to just make sure the dog knows that, at that specific moment, that the dog is doing the right thing.
So the flip side of that is make sure your dog knows when the behavior is not a good behavior. It's not acceptable. How do we do that? And this is where I get so many different answers from people about this sort of situation. But what you really want to be here is consistent and have structure.
So when you've tried to interrupt the behavior and you can't interrupt the behavior, your dog should have a consequence. And one of the best consequences for a dog is a time out. And so by a time-out, I mean remove the dog physically from its pack. So people and other animals, other dogs, and put the dog in isolation.
So what do I mean by isolation? That could be a room, such as a bathroom. It could be a laundry room. It should be a room that the dog doesn't particularly like for just five minutes. Now if the room is a room where you think the dog might destroy something in the room, then you can use a crate in the room.
But the crate should not be the dog's regular crate. It should be a different crate, what I call a punishment crate, that that is the only reason that crate is used. You don't want to confuse a good crate where you put your dog into the crate when you leave for the day or leave for a few hours versus this punishment crate.
So five minutes, the dog comes out. The situation that the dog goes back into may be exactly the same as when the dog left. If the situation arises again where the dog starts to misbehave and you cannot interrupt the behavior, the dog goes back into time-out.
So you almost get to be like a jack in the box. You have to be persistent and consistent, or the dog's just gonna wear you down. Dogs are really, really smart. They're really good at this. And people will tell me they just give up.
But if you stick with it, I promise you your dog will get the idea. Most dogs get it within two weeks. So that's a good way to make sure your dog learns what unacceptable behavior is. The other thing to have in your home is a safe place or more than one safe place.
And that's a place that a dog can go to where the dog feels really comfortable and at home, where it can be left alone. If there are small children in the home, the dog can be left alone there. The dog won't be bothered. And it's a place that the dog can feel comfortable at. So it might be the place where the dog rests or sleeps.
You can also train your dog to go to these places. And safe places become really important for dogs that might be fearful or anxious. It's really good that they have these in the home, especially in areas where maybe the family gathers, but it's off to the corner or off to the side. So you can see the dog, the dog can see you, but the dog's not in the middle of all the commotion. So it's good to have those.
The next thing that I like to talk about, this is particularly good with separation anxiety, but also actually with aggression. And that's don't sleep with your dog. So many people tell me that they love to sleep with their dog. Their dog snuggles under the covers, and they love it, and they love it.
But every once in a while, the dog may bite them. But that's OK. They still love it. Or I get a case of separation anxiety. And I try to tell people it's better if you ever get another dog, start right from the get go.
Don't have your dog sleep in the bedroom. Don't have your dog sleep in the bed. Why is that? The reason for that is that the dog gets used to you being in the home. They're in the home with you, but they're not right with you.
So they can be in another room, and they can be comfortable and calm with you being in the home. And that's sort of like a transition to you actually leaving the home and them being home. Now this separation anxiety is a problem with older dogs especially.
The incidents and the risk of that really goes up with age. But I have seen young dogs develop that too. This is a horrible problem for behaviors to manage and treat. It's a very, very difficult problem. So that simple issue of where the dog sleeps. Right from the get-go, have the dog sleep in a different place, a different room.
I saved the most important tool for last, and that's leadership. So probably everyone in this room has heard of nothing in life is free. No free lunch. A leadership protocol. It sounds really good on paper, but it's not that easy to implement.
So there are two main ideas with the leadership protocol. And the one is that your dog always does something for you before you do something for your dog. And the second one is you initiate all interactions. So let's put those two together for some examples. And you can see how that will work.
So first example would be your dog comes up to you, like most of our dogs do, for a pet. And the first thing we do as owners is reach down to pet our dog because this is what's good. A dog wants to be petted. We want to pet our dogs.
But actually, in that example, who initiated that interaction? It's actually the dog. And in most homes, the dogs are the leaders. So what you should do in that situation is ignore your dog. Wait for your dog to walk away. Call your dog back to you, ask your dog to sit, and then give your dog a pet.
Now that sounds very structured and very severe. But it's a great way to establish yourself as a leader. The second example is with toys. So our dog brings a toy to our feet. Normally, we reach down, pick the toy up, toss the toy, the dog goes and gets it, brings it back or not.
But again, who initiated the play in that? And that is the dog. So if we take this, and flip it again, and make ourselves the leader, what we're gonna do when the dog brings the toy is just ignore that. Wait for the dog to go away and forget about the toy.
Then, we pick the toy up. We throw the toy. And then, the dog comes back. And then, we end the play. So we are the leader in that situation. And these two things I just mentioned seem like they're really easy to do. But actually, they're not because what we're trying to do here is change the owner's behavior and that's probably the hardest thing we do as behavior is this trying to change the people's behavior. And the dog, that's a little bit easier. But I always think it's harder to change a person's behavior. Some people will tell me, you know, I just can't do that. And I'll say, well, this is really what you have to do if you're gonna get success and we're gonna see success in these cases.
So that's actually my-- my talk, what I'll do right now is just, sort of, summarize a little bit here. This is just a few basic ideas for prevention. There's a lot more out there that you can look up and that you can read about. But these few basic things, again, what I find is that most people either haven't heard of them or, again, don't know how to use them if they have heard of them.
They are really important. The idea of rewarding good behavior, again, sounds so simple. But it's something we just don't usually think about. We're more keyed in on what is the bad behavior.
So again, let your dog know what the good behavior is. And then the reverse, what is the unacceptable behavior? And then, there's always a consequence for that. Having said that, I don't think I mentioned when I talked about time-out that that's easy to do at home.
But when you get into a situation where you're outside, then how do you do that? So that's a lot harder. So what I would say to that is if you are in a situation with your dog, and your dog is playing, and there's something that happens, and you would normally put the dog in a timeout if you were home, then what I would do in that situation is to just stop the play and take the dog home because that's a consequence right there.
Whether the dog gets that or not, maybe yes, maybe no. But you've stopped that interaction. So again, safe places are really good to institute to have your dog have a safe place to go to. And the sleeping with the dog, again, is something that everybody likes to have their dog sleep with them. And also cats, and I understand that.
But again, it's really good to have the dog sleep in another place outside the room. Somebody will say, well, it sleeps in my bedroom, not in my bed. No, that's not good enough. Outside the bedroom so the dog is not with you for all those hours at night.
And then, of course, the last thing we talked about is the leadership thing, which is really, really important with dogs. But don't forget to take home. If you do have a behavior problem, make sure to go to your veterinarian. Make sure we get the medical causes ruled out. Then, deal with the behavior if there are no medical issues involved. OK, thank you, and I'll take questions.
MARY BUCKLEY: Thank you, Michele. That was a great rundown on ways to stop problems before they start. But I have a feeling we have some people in the audience who already have problems on their hands.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: I'm sure.
MARY BUCKLEY: Anybody have a question? OK. We have some repeats up here. Sir?
SPEAKER 7: OK, we have a dog. I bring it to work. I usually tie up near my desk so that the dog can be around me. And the dog does the usual thing. If she comes up, and she puts her nose on my lap and, kind of, pushes around and says I want attention. And so what I'm trying to understand is how much of a separation I have to have between the dog saying pay attention to me and paying attention to the dog.
Is making the dog sit and just stand for a moment? A minute? What's that separation that gets the dog to realize it's--
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: If you would rather not have that dog be attention seeking like she's being--
SPEAKER 7: Yes.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: --the best thing to do is completely ignore her.
SPEAKER 7: For how long? I mean, I [INAUDIBLE].
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Until she stops and gives up. Some dogs will not. I've seen dogs who will actually say, oh, you didn't get it? No, I've actually seen them bite the owner. We cannot tolerate bites. We can't ignore bites. But you want to try to ignore it as much as possible.
As soon as she's ignored it, then you can call her to you. Have her sit, and give her a pat. Now that might be hard at work if it's a small space and she's right there with you all the time. That could be very difficult.
SPEAKER 7: Would me getting up and walking away.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Well you're actually doing something. You want to try to ignore her.
SPEAKER 7: No, if I just get up as she's doing this, not paying attention, or just get up and walk to the other side of the room?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Sure, yeah. And even eye contact. No eye contact. No looking. Nothing. You don't want to give her anything.
SPEAKER 7: I get up. How about barking? How do I deal with that?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: That's in your office?
SPEAKER 7: Sometimes.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Ooh, that's--
SPEAKER 7: How do I--
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: What about your other co-workers?
SPEAKER 7: It's a store. So it's a whole different story there.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: OK. OK.
SPEAKER 7: How do I not pay attention to the dog. I mean, she's gonna sit there and bark, and bark, and bark.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: That's a really tough one. Is there another place in the store where you can bring her? Into a room? You've asked her to stop barking. Could you put her in a timeout in another place?
SPEAKER 7: So you're saying timeout is really the way.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: If you could.
SPEAKER 7: Bark. Put her in a timeout.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: If you bring her to work, I would try to establish a place where you could do a timeout, especially if you're there all day.
SPEAKER 7: OK.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: And I just want to say one thing about bringing a dog to work is if-- this is your store.
SPEAKER 7: It's my store.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: OK. But in general, I don't know what kind of dog she is or if people come up to her and want to interact with her. I've had a case where the dog looked very nice. The person was with the guy in his office.
A coworker walked up to the dog to give the dog a hug. That dog exploded and bit the woman all over her face. It ended up in a $3 million lawsuit. So you know, the thing about it is watch out who interacts with your dog because your dog may look fine.
People are not always aware to say, even if you say, you know what, don't go near her. People will just do what they're gonna do. So that's a liability right there. So watch out for that.
SPEAKER 7: I hear you. She loves the attention from people.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: OK. OK.
MARY BUCKLEY: Any questions?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: You're welcome.
SPEAKER 8: I have a weird behavior that my dog started doing like about two months ago. I adopted a rottweiler from Mount [? Rainy ?] Rescue at 11 months of age. And he's gonna be two in January. About two months ago, my husband started putting on his coat.
And when he was leaving for work, he runs after my husband to the door like he's gonna bite him. He hasn't done that. It's only when I'm home. When I'm not home, and my husband goes to leave or whatever, he's fine. So this is really weird. It's been happening for the last two months.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: So you're saying this happens when you are home.
SPEAKER 8: When I'm home.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: He puts on his coat, and the dog goes over.
SPEAKER 8: Yeah.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Is he snarling, and barking, and growling?
SPEAKER 8: Yeah, he looks evil.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: OK, can you interrupt that behavior? Have you tried to interrupt it or stop him?
SPEAKER 8: I would have to have a prong and a leash on him, probably, to stop it.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: So he's not responsive to your voice.
SPEAKER 8: No.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: So that's what I would say to you is you've got to get him responsive to your voice. If he's not going to respond to your voice, that's the timeout thing we talked about.
SPEAKER 8: OK.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: And that reminds me of one thing I didn't add about timeout. But it's really good to have a trailing lead on your dog for a timeout. It's easier to catch them. They'll know they're going to go into timeout. And they'll run away.
But your situation especially, your dog has to know this is not acceptable behavior. And there should be a timeout. So as long as your dog's not going to turn on you and be aggressive. But you've got to get to the point where you can get eye contact on command, where you can stop that, say his name, get him to look at you, have him come to you, and put him into timeout if he doesn't do that.
MARY BUCKLEY: Great. Now we have a question online from Selena. I know we've talked about how to introduce a grown-up cat and a grown-up dog. But she's asking specifically, how do you introduce a dog to a kitten? Do you have any advice on that?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Yeah. So that's a hard one. And I had heard the question with Pam. Those are always hard cases because there's a lot of unpredictability there. But if you can get two people-- one to hold the kitten and one to hold the dog-- stay at a certain distance, and get closer, and closer, and closer, that's good. See how close you can get.
The other thing to do is exchange scents. So get the scent of the cat, the scent of the dog, and exchange those so each one has the scent of each.
MARY BUCKLEY: Maybe show them one another's bed or toy or something?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Absolutely. Have those scents stay with them wherever they are so they get used to the animal that way. That that's sometimes a good thing to do even before the new animal shows up. But then, be very, very careful and very safe because you don't want one of those animals to get hurt.
MARY BUCKLEY: OK, great. Any questions here in our live audience? All right. I feel like Bob Barker.
Come on down!
SPEAKER 9: Thanks for the great talk, Michelle.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Oh, thanks Bruce.
SPEAKER 9: I have a kooky pitbull who's an awesome dog. And my wife and I always have arguments about how to deal with this particular issue. So we have some property. And she will, if she ever gets out of the house off a leash, she'll kind of run around. She won't run away.
And ultimately, when she comes back, I presume you want to reward that behavior for coming back. Although, she's already done something.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: How does she get loose? And how does she get away from you guys?
SPEAKER 9: Maybe, occasionally, the door will open. The wind will blow the door open. And she's not constantly trying to get out. But when she does get out, it's when we don't want her to. So she's done something that we don't like. But if she eventually comes back, do you reward her?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Well that's a really hard one because she's you've called her, and she's come back. So that's a good thing. So my take on this is let's step back from the beginning. And you really have to try to stop her from getting out. And if you see her get out right away to call her to have her come back. That's just a hard one. And I know your dog so.
SPEAKER 9: [INAUDIBLE].
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Yep.
SPEAKER 9: Thank you.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: You're welcome.
MARY BUCKLEY: [INAUDIBLE].
SPEAKER 10: Actually, I'd like to respond to that, if I might.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Oh, sure.
SPEAKER 10: I'm a trainer. And I would say absolutely to reward coming back because come is one of the greatest behaviors we can get from a dog. And even though the dog has done something wrong in terms of getting out, when that dog comes back, you always want that dog to come back.
You always want that dog to be happy to come to see you wherever you are, whatever has happened. That if you call, you want that dog to be elated to come to see you. So yeah, I would definitely reward that no matter what has happened prior to that because you want that to be a wonderful thing to come to you.
SPEAKER 9: Wonderful. [INAUDIBLE].
SPEAKER 10: So if she comes back, you know, throw a party. Have a good time. And lots of treats.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: And he will.
SPEAKER 10: So yeah.
SPEAKER 9: [INAUDIBLE].
SPEAKER 10: I would go for [? that. ?]
SPEAKER 11: [INAUDIBLE]. And one of them is [INAUDIBLE] doesn't go anywhere. [INAUDIBLE] call him back. He comes back. He has to have the option of making a decision by himself whether he wants to go [INAUDIBLE] or he doesn't go very far away [? when I call him. ?] [INAUDIBLE]
MARY BUCKLEY: An independent-minded dog.
SPEAKER 11: And maybe a [INAUDIBLE]. They do have a special personality [INAUDIBLE].
MARY BUCKLEY: Do we have any more questions in the audience? All right.
SPEAKER 12: I have a dog that's about 15 months old now. We found him on the side of the road when he was about nine, 10 weeks old. And we know he came from a really bad situation. We kept him. And he has developed, I would say, eight months ago, he started having fear aggression. He is afraid of people he does not know.
And we're trying to do the make him sit. Treat, treat, treat when he notices the thing. And then, go a little closer.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right, yep.
SPEAKER 12: And if he does not want to calm down, we walk away with him.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right.
SPEAKER 12: Is there anything else that you can recommend?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: That is the thing to do. Counter conditioning. Desensitization. And it would be good if you could get somebody to, sort of, practice with you. And you always want to be at that distance to start where there's no reaction. Of course, you know all this already.
And then very, very, very slowly, get closer. Keep doing the sit down, stay, or whatever you can while that thing that might be causing the fear is out there. Gradually get closer. But you can't cross the line where he starts showing the fear because then you've gone too far. So you want to just go very, very slowly. That can take a long time.
SPEAKER 12: And usually, it's people. But then, there's a certain kind of truck. If it's a suburban that goes by, that triggers it.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right, yeah.
SPEAKER 12: Airplane contrail, the smoking, he goes nuts.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: So those sort of things are really hard to do. Of course, you can't really work with those very well. But you can if you got somebody who you can work with people. Or you can set that up where you can go. And the whole key there is patience and slowness. And it will work over time. It's just it takes an incredibly long time.
SPEAKER 12: OK.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: In the meantime, to decrease your liability, always have him on a flat lead very close to you.
SPEAKER 12: He's always on a leash.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Yeah, good.
SPEAKER 12: And the vet did just prescribe Prozac to try to calm him.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Sometimes that'll help decrease arousal to help the training. So that's great if that'll work.
SPEAKER 12: OK. Thank you.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Oh, you're welcome.
SPEAKER 13: What if they're not fully [? driven? ?]
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Yep, that's hard. But if there's a toy, or a ball, or any sort of thing that you can help with the reward like that, then that's great.
SPEAKER 13: Hotdogs.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Hotdogs.
MARY BUCKLEY: Hot dogs.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: There's another question right here.
MARY BUCKLEY: All right. Another question. If you could--
SPEAKER 14: [INAUDIBLE].
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: I can hear you.
MARY BUCKLEY: Well the people online can't hear you. So we want to deliver the mic to you, Mark. You're being broadcast all over the world.
SPEAKER 14: OK, so this is something for people in a multi-dog household.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right.
SPEAKER 14: And you've had two dogs that have lived together for years and years and suddenly decide to hate each other. And they get along with everybody else in the household. And you know, it starts off only an occasional fight. And then, it increases.
And so then, the people end up having to separate. And they don't want to give up either dog. And usually, my advice has always been if they've tried, seen a behaviorist, you know, and ruled out any health issues just like you said, is to find a new home for one of the dogs.
And guess what? It usually works. It's fine because they get one dog out of the house, and everything goes back sweetness and nice. And the other dog is very happy to be an only dog. But is there anything else that you can suggest?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Yeah, that's a really hard one. Sometimes I recommend trying to reintroduce the dogs. But again, that's the sort of thing we talked about here with the counter conditioning desensitization very, very, very, very, very slowly over time.
And it all depends how bad the dog fights are. Dogs will fight to the death, especially to females. Female, female fights are the worst. And that's the thing about whether you get two dogs or not. If you can get a male and female, you're probably gonna be better off down the road than two females.
But sometimes the best option is just what you said at first is to look at the dogs. Sometimes people will say, you know, this is the first dog I had. I feel a loyalty to this dog. I'll try to find another home for the other dog.
Sometimes it's the other way around where it's the dog that's maybe the younger dog that they keep because that's the more troublesome dog, has other behaviors, and the older dog is the one that's easier. So they'll find a home for that one. But that can be hard.
SPEAKER 14: Well then I had the anxious owner who is about-- they gave away one dog, and it's worked out really well for the new owner who needed an adult dog. But the dog she kept is very anxious and has, perhaps, I don't know whether it's separation anxiety or what. But in her description to me, it appears to be that.
She's about to adopt a rescue puppy of some sort. And she's already anticipating that she's going to have problems. And I said, your anxiety is going to feed on this.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Absolutely.
SPEAKER 14: Because she says that when they board this dog, the dog is allowed to interact with other dogs at the boarding kennel. They have supervised play areas. And the dog is fine. So I said don't anticipate.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Well the other thing is if she gets a puppy, wherever she gets it from, if she can return that puppy if it doesn't work.
SPEAKER 14: I think she can. But I also told her that remember the adult dog who has had puppies herself is going to tell the puppy it is down, it is dirt, and treat it like a puppy. And the puppy should respond appropriately.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: It should.
SPEAKER 14: If the puppy is aggressive back, then the puppy has inappropriate behavior.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: It should, but she should have that out that she could return the puppy if it doesn't work out.
SPEAKER 14: Yes.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: For sure so she [INAUDIBLE].
SPEAKER 14: I will tell her that. OK, thank you.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: You're welcome.
MARY BUCKLEY: You have a question from the gentleman down here again. Sorry folks.
SPEAKER 15: Two questions. Are these seminars archived online if people want to refer to them again?
MARY BUCKLEY: It will be available online probably later this week or next week.
SPEAKER 15: At the Baker Institute [INAUDIBLE]?
MARY BUCKLEY: Yes.
SPEAKER 15: OK. We have a dog that barks hysterically when he sees other dogs when we're walking or coming into a situation like a vets office that has dogs. I'm guessing you'll say that the time out or turn around 180 degrees is one thing. Any other ideas?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: So have you tried to interrupt that behavior [INAUDIBLE] having the dog look at you and do sit? Or just can you get the dog's attention away from the thing that it's barking at?
SPEAKER 15: Mm-hm. As a distraction you mean?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Yeah, so can you do that?
SPEAKER 15: I believe so.
SPEAKER 16: No.
SPEAKER 15: No.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Oh.
There's the truth.
SPEAKER 15: One dog. Two owners.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: No. So you cannot get the dogs attention away from that object.
SPEAKER 16: No. If I'm walking him and I try to get him to sit and look at me, I cannot get him to sit and look at me. Maybe he can, but I can't. I have done the turn around, walk the other direction, and he'll stop. But as soon as I turn around again to continue going wherever I'm going, he gets hysterical.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: So it's only when you're passing and, like, you're walking, and you have another dog coming toward you?
SPEAKER 16: No, the dog could be way down the road. Or sometimes we go to the SPCA for a play time. And his anticipation that he's getting into that ring where all the dogs are. Once he sees the other dog, he's fine.
He's very happy. He plays well with other dogs. He has appropriate behavior. But it's this hysterical barking. And people are afraid. You know, and I don't blame them.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right. And so how long will he keep doing that barking?
SPEAKER 16: Until he doesn't see the other dog. Or if we're going someplace, when he gets to wherever it is that we're going.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right. So you know, the best thing would be to be able to interrupt it. It doesn't sound like you can do that. Have you ever tried a citronella bark collar? OK, so that is aversive. And citronella is-- Pam mentioned it with the cats-- lemon, lime, citrusy things. Animals don't usually like that.
So it would be a squirt of citronella in his face. It might just be enough to stop him. On the other hand, some dogs seem to know how many barks are in the canister.
And they will empty that darn thing. And they'll keep barking. So you know, I would start with the citronella maybe. But ultimately, I would keep working on trying to get his attention to you to look and stop. The other thing I just want to mention is when you said or somebody said dogs can pick up our our-- somebody here-- behavior.
So you may not realize it, but when you see that situation coming where you know he's barked before, the first thing we do is, oh my god, and we tense up on the leash, right. And then, the dog will start. So the thing is something called a jolly routine where you flip that 180 degrees.
And you're like, oh, look at that. There's that situation we hate. And you become very, very happy and jolly. And go around that. But it's really hard. They can read us so well. And that's all the evolution thing.
MARY BUCKLEY: OK, we have time for one last question.
SPEAKER 17: Uh oh.
MARY BUCKLEY: Make it a good one.
SPEAKER 17: Oh, I will.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: OK.
SPEAKER 17: Aggression. We've got dog that was gonna be-- closer-- put to the SPCA. We got him a day before. He was a little over two years old. Two years and three months. It's a Cocker, male.
And his cage, we were warned about not reaching into his cage once he was in there. I tried it just on the side [INAUDIBLE]. And he wanted to go for the hand. And toys, we had to take his toys away from him. He was aggressive over that.
Whatever. And our veterinarian said take the toys away. But we think the couple that had the dog, we know they traveled six months out of the year. They would give that dog to her sister or something like that.
Don't know if somebody poked at him through the cage. There's something wrong with him. And we want to know if he can be brought back to normal. How do we train him or get away from this aggression?
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: So his aggression is when you go in to get him out of the cage?
SPEAKER 17: Not so much. He'll come out on his own. But you just don't reach in there.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right.
SPEAKER 17: So you know better.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right. So it sounds like it's fear. And a fearful dog, you want to, basically, let come to you. Even reaching down, it's a very scary thing. So for a dog like that, you want to avoid those situations that will cause him to become fearful and bite, if possible.
SPEAKER 17: And he was never let loose before. Always on a leash or one of those pins that's got a 15 foot lead on it.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right.
SPEAKER 17: And so I let him lose where we walk. And you know, that's been good so far. But he likes to chase motorcycles if they're around. We have a cottage. And it's, kind of, desolate to a point.
He'll follow a car even. And you know, you have to contain him somehow. And I don't know whether a training collar will help this. Or I don't like the idea of shocking him. But I will eventually try to hunt the dog.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: OK. So I guess the first thing I would say is always have him on lead whenever possible. And if you wanting to have him run for a little further, you can use a retractable lead. But a flat lead is gonna be your best control.
SPEAKER 17: I just started that.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: You're just starting that.
SPEAKER 17: Yeah.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Yep. But I would say, again, I don't know how many people live around you, but a dog should not be running loose.
SPEAKER 17: True.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: You know, as far as hunting and training him, then maybe our friend here who is a trainer can help you with the hunting and training a dog for hunting. But in general, I'm looking at it for liability, especially with a fear biter, possibly. Your dog loose could run up to the wrong person, and bite that person.
SPEAKER 17: OK. He loves children. He loves people, like everybody does. But I mean, I know that one time could be [INAUDIBLE].
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right. If a child reaches for him or the person. Wrong person, wrong time. With a fear biter, it's easy.
SPEAKER 17: I Never had a dog before with this aggression. [INAUDIBLE]. Oh, food too. If you walk by him at certain times when he's eating, not touching him, walking by--
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right.
SPEAKER 17: --especially my wife, but he growls.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Right.
SPEAKER 17: He'll stop eating and gives you that warning sign.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: So with him, with food, give him his food. Let him eat it. Then, when he walks away, pick up his food dish. Put it up high.
SPEAKER 17: We do that.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: And avoid any situations to make him growl or become aggressive over his food.
SPEAKER 17: I think it's that confined area where he's [INAUDIBLE].
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: He's guarding, yeah.
SPEAKER 17: Thank you.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Well, you have your work cut out for you.
SPEAKER 17: My wife does.
MARY BUCKLEY: He's a lucky dog to have you. Thank you, Michelle. I think that's all the time we have for questions. And thank you everyone.
MICHELLE BAMBERGER: Thank you.
We've received your request
You will be notified by email when the transcript and captions are available. The process may take up to 5 business days. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions about this request.
In this special session of Baker Pet Talks held Nov. 9, 2016, Cornell animal behavior specialists focus on some commonly experienced canine and feline behavioral problems. Topics include: feline house soiling, feline destructive behavior, canine aggression, canine separation anxiety, and preventing problems before they start. Co-sponsored by the Baker Institute for Animal Health and the Cornell Feline Health Center.