Pets have been shown to be good for seniors.  Over the past 20 years or so numerous studies have shown the benefits sharing life with a pet can have for a variety of populations, including seniors.  Pets provide constant companionship and social support that family members sometimes can’t.  They also serve as “social lubricants”, making it easier to connect with other people.  Studies have shown that people are more likely to start a conversation or approach a person with a pet, compared to a non-pet owner.  And dog owners have been shown to walk more and be more active than non-dog owners, which is a big health benefit.
So far this spring, the weather has been rough here in Colorado with tornados, thunderstorms, hail and lightning.  As we write this, yet another hailstorm is in progress.  All of this is stressful for us to endure, but it can also be hard on our canine companions.  Fear of thunderstorms is a common problem for dogs.  It’s clear many dogs are afraid of the sound of thunder, but others seem to be distressed by other elements such as wind, rain, and even cloudy skies.
You’re walking your dog on a fine spring day, enjoying the exercise and the warmer weather, when your dog spots another dog walking straight toward you.  Your dog begins to bark, pulls at the leash, lunges for the other dog, acting as though he’s ready for a fight.  What do you do?
It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about what we want to do in 2014 to accomplish our goals and make our lives better.  We have a protocol for pet parents that we know from our years of experience, both as professionals and as pet owners, will make your life with your pet better for both of you.  We’ve used our Seven Step Positive Proaction Plan © for almost 20 years to help prevent and resolve behavior problems in dogs and cats.  Suzanne’s best-selling “Pet Behavior Protocols” book is based on these seven steps, and we think our Plan is the perfect one to follow to improve your pet’s behavior and your relationship with your four-legged best friend in 2014.  This article is a bit longer than usual, but we think it’s worth it to share our exclusive Seven Step Plan© with you.
During this Thanksgiving, we thought we’d take a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at what we, as a pet owning family, have been thankful for over our lifetime of sharing our lives with our much loved dogs and cats.  For Thanksgivings both past and present, we are thankful:
If you are a pet owner, how good do you think you are at spotting distress in your dog or cat?  Do you think you are fairly good at it – and better than anyone else, because you are more familiar with your pet’s behavior than anyone?
We recently presented a webinar on “Creating and Maintaining Healthy Relationships among Family Dogs”. According to a Gallup Poll and statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 40% of dog owners have more than one dog. . Yet the quality of these relationships and the frequency of fighting or conflict among family dogs are not known.
You should walk your dog!
One of the most enjoyable parts of our day is getting outside and taking Coral for her at least daily walk. No matter how stressful our day has been, we can’t help but smile as we watch Coral’s joy at being able to stalk and point birds and bunnies, sniff who-knows-what appealing smells on every bush and pole, get her feet and belly wet in the shallow irrigation canal along our walking path, and roll on her back in the newly mowed grass in the park.
In the Colorado AARP office where Suzanne volunteers, she is privileged to work with Julie, cat rescuer and advocate extraordinaire. During Suzanne’s most recent volunteer day, Julie was considering adopting a 16 year old cat from an animal shelter and wanted to know if her two much younger resident cats would be more likely to accept an elderly female feline compared to a younger one.
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