As heard on Your Dog’s Best Friend, 5/30/13

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Well perhaps my greatest joy on tonight’s radio show was finding a name for our latest rescue, a dear two year old cat who was left for good in a dented, dilapidated crate on the side of the highway. He’s been utterly nameless for over a month as we marveled at his loving nature and tolerance of all the kids, the dogs and the chaos under our roof. Talking to David, who called into Your Dog’s Best Friend from the Halo Citytails Pop-Up Store on the corner of 47th and Lexington in NYC, the name hit me like lightning. Halo! It’s perfect as our kitty must have had a Halo around him to survive his disregard, and his personality is nothing short of heavenly.

I was delighted with the questions that came in about pool behavior, crate tension and separation anxiety. Each gave Tracey and me hot topics to banter and discuss. To dogs, pools must seem like gigantic pits, and while the water can be refreshing for those that learn to swim, seeing their loved one submerge must seem incredible frightening. I have seen this situation with clients and suggest they secure something large and white at the bottom of the pool if the pool bottom is dark or dark sheets if the bottom is light, and float large white or yellow objects to enact a contrast. If the dog is frightened to get near the pool side you can use Halo treats to lure him closer, until you’re able to float them on the surface by placing them on a piece of bread or a buoyant tray. I will discuss this topic in my June 8th article on the Huffington Post. Meanwhile Tracie and I concurred that the crate should be used to nap and sleep train a dog but not to shut a dog into to prevent mischief. Dogs are social animals and will go crazy if left in lock down or solitary confinement. If dogs do not view their crate as a safe place–like a crib to a baby, then they should not be used at all. In this case a enclosed bathroom, laundry area or kitchen can be embellished with rewards and bedding and a dog should be left in this area when you cannot watch him.

Finally, Separation Anxiety is always a hot topic and one that I’m experiencing on the home front with my youngest rescue, a dog we call Boozle. I was delighted to hear about the work at Ceva , and quickly placed my order for dog appeasing pheromone right after finishing my show. Read more about it in my forthcoming Huffington Blog, but for this caller we suggest a calm approach that involved creating a safe place for her dog, a calm reaction no matter the destruction–dogs do not respond out of spite but out of fear, panic or frustration, and find creative ways to increase healthy exercise. While many view a 5 mile leash walk as fun for the dog, dog’s often feel frustrated and trapped on short leashes and prefer and more meandering style of movement which can be better simulated by allowing freedom on a long line.

If you missed last Thursday’s show, it’s not too late.  Catch it as a podcast HERE.

Until next week!