what's up doc?

Shiny Happy Pets Issue

What’s up, Doc? Dr. Nicholas Dodman was a child when his love for animals was born — but he had a very special first guide on his path to a veterinary career: his mother. Growing up in London, Dodman learned from her example, nurturing and appreciating the furry and feathered friends around him. Starting young seemed to suit him, and at 26 he became the youngest veterinary faculty member in Britain. Today, he is a world-renowned veterinary behaviorist, currently serving as the director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, which he founded in 1986. Up close and personal with the country’s leading veterinarians by peter leonowitz nicholas h. dodman dr. bvmmrscvs dacva So pets can suffer from emotional conditions similar to people? Yes. What often causes disorders like these are breakdowns in the early stages of an animal’s development. During this time in an animal’s life, it’s possible to “engineer” love and trust between different species. The pets that are introduced to other animals, people, objects and settings during this sensitive period of development will become accepting of what they are introduced to and better adjusted because they’re able to deal with things that come along later with life. In your opinion, can medication effectively treat those types of conditions? Yes — absolutely. Smart drug therapy targets very specific behaviors with the goal of improving the behavioral issue in question with minimal “collateral damage” in terms of side effects. Behavior problems that are treatable using this approach include aggression, separation anxiety, thunderstorm anxiety and urine marking. What is your best advice on how to train a pet? I believe in positive training methods, which basically involve rewarding desired behaviors and ignoring unacceptable ones. I do not recommend punishment as most people understand the term, but do use “negative” punishment, which involves withholding rewards when desired behaviors are not offered. The opposite of reward is not punishment — it’s no reward! What led you to devote your life to caring for animals? I became fascinated with animals very early in life, thanks to my mother. I recall raising an injured Speckled Thrush together in our home and eventually releasing it back into the wild. It returned to our backyard a few months later to raise a family of its own. Things like that had a tremendous impact on me — but so did my realization at that young age of the horrors of animal abuse. Becoming a veterinarian struck me as something that would fit in with my belief system, while studying animal behaviorism satisfies my insatiable desire to help animals. What are the different types of animal behaviorists? It’s a broad term, but generally speaking, there are veterinary behaviorists who have the capacity to diagnose medical conditions that underlie behavioral issues, and often prescribe medications as part of their treatment. Nonveterinary behaviorists deal with straightforward behavioral issues and rely on specific behavior modification therapy to treat them. Are there any common misunderstandings about animal behaviors? It’s a popular belief that aggression in dogs comes from a need to dominate and be the alpha in “the pack.” This is a passé thought. What is most often the case is that anxiety or fear is at the root of the problem. The true cause of the behavior must be ascertained for treatment to be effective as opposed to simply attributing the behavior to pack mentality. Best wa ys to keep YOUR PET mental y healt hy exercise them A tired dog is a good dog! Serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer, is generated in the brain during exercise. keep things interesting Hold boredom or stress at bay by setting up pets’ environments, both indoors and outdoors, in ways that keep them fulfilled, occupied and challenged. speak their language We rely on spoken words, but pets can decipher body signals like they’re reading a book! To talk to them, keep command words short and sweet and be aware of the body language cues you are communicating! 22 the shiny happy pets issue


Shiny Happy Pets Issue
To see the actual publication please follow the link above