Review: Three Pet Books for Young People

Although I don’t review books for young people anymore, I still sometimes receive requests that I can’t resist. E-versions of the following three animal books were sent to me. I am not a Skunk by Ellen Pilch Harold and the Poopy Little Puppy by Ellen Crowe Chasing the Blue Sky by William Lowrey Each of these e-books is for a different age group and has a different focus. The quality of each also differs, but one captivated me enough that I asked for a print version. Chasing the Blue Sky by William Lowrey is the story of a Toby, a … Continue reading Review: Three Pet Books for Young People

How To Modify A Pet’s Behavior, Part Two

Dr. Sophia Yin says animal training requires well-defined criteria and clear communication, the right motivators, and excellent timing along with the correct rate of reinforcement. In this second of a two-part article on behavior principles based on the text and the lectures from my Low-Stress Handling certification course, I’ll define and give examples of each principle. I’ll start with well-defined criteria. Let’s say we want to clean our pet’s teeth. It’s unlikely that our pet will let us put a toothbrush in their mouth the first time they’re exposed to one, let alone clean all their teeth in one sitting. … Continue reading How To Modify A Pet’s Behavior, Part Two

How To Modify A Pet’s Behavior, Part One

When it comes to modifying animal behavior, one can turn to behavior specific guides for answers, but the best solution lies in understanding principles behind behavior modification. In both the text and the lectures for her Low-Stress Handling certification course, Dr. Yin discusses four of them: habituation, flooding, desensitization, and counter-conditioning. In this part one of two series, I’ll define and give examples of each principle. I’ll also explain why Yin (and other experts) advises against flooding, and instead recommends a combination of desensitization and counter-conditioning. Habituation is a repeated exposure to a stimulus with no negative effects. When my … Continue reading How To Modify A Pet’s Behavior, Part One

Photo provided by Stephanie Merlin

Interview with Cat Behavior Consultant Stephanie Merlin

The first year of my cat behavior consulting business I had no clients and perhaps would have quit if not the encouragement of other cat behavior consultants such as Stephanie Merlin of The Fulfilled Feline. Like me, Stephanie feel organically … Continue reading Interview with Cat Behavior Consultant Stephanie Merlin

How To Recognize Fear in Dogs and Cats

If you have ever owned or met an aggressive dog or cat, you’re not alone.The Humane Society of United States reports that there are two million dog bites annually, while the Insurance Information Institute says that liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries cost insurance companies $797 million in 2019. As for cats, Cornell University of Veterinarian Medicine reports that 27% of cats relinquished to shelters for behavioral reasons are surrendered for aggression, while Healthy Pets says that pet owners believe aggression is the number of one behavior issue for cats. In the first module of Dr. … Continue reading How To Recognize Fear in Dogs and Cats

Review: Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel is an experience like no other. In this colorful extravaganza, Bruel elevates the picture book experience beyond the ordinary. He also takes alphabet books to a new creative height. There are movies which from the moment the first credit rolls right onto the screen to the moment that the last credit rolls off the screen are a cinematic experience. Bad Kitty offers the equivalent experience in picture book form. From the front cover, to the title page, through even the small print and the dedication, right to the back cover, pretty much every page is a visual treat. … Continue reading Review: Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

Review: Cat Vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett

Even if you already own several books about cats, you should add Cat Vs. Cat to your collection. This guide by feline behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett focuses on the specific topic of multi-cat households, along with also providing information about the territorial nature of cats. In doing so, Bennett has written an interesting and thorough handbook on how to create and maintain a peaceful household when you live with more than one cat. The feline hierarchy is important to understand because, unlike dogs who are pack animals, cats are more particular about their social structure. While they can indeed be social, … Continue reading Review: Cat Vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett

A Quick Guide to Cat & Child Interactions

A cat’s first few days in a new home are often stressful for it but exciting for any children in that home. Balance your child’s enthusiasm for spending time with your cat with your cat’s need to acclimate to their new home by allowing your cat to explore your home without your child present. Then ask your child to allow your cat to approach without paying attention to them or forcing attention on them. When your cat safely interacts with your child, reinforce with treats or toys. Observe Your Cat’s Body Language Teach your child how to read your cat’s … Continue reading A Quick Guide to Cat & Child Interactions

A Quick Guide to Cat & Toddler Interactions

Supervision between cats and toddlers is essential to keep them safe and to prevent problems. When they’re interacting, a curious toddler might unintentionally hurt a cat, or an overstimulated cat might unintentionally harm a toddler. Even when they’re not interacting, an energetic toddler can scare a cat and cause a defensive reaction such as scratching or biting. Problems are easier to prevent than to resolve, so always be ready to intervene. Observe Your Cat’s Body Language Learn how to read your cat’s body language. Signs of anxiety include crouched or tense body, fast breathing, eyes wide open, ears partially flattened, … Continue reading A Quick Guide to Cat & Toddler Interactions