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Educational Articles

Behavior

  • Fears and phobias can develop from a single experience (one event learning) or from continued exposure to the fearful stimulus. Although some dogs react with a mild fear response of panting and pacing, others get extremely agitated and may panic and/or become destructive.

  • A growling dog can be frightening. But the dog may be growling because he is frightened of you. This begs the question: is the scary dog truly aggressive or just scared stiff?

  • There are many reasons that dogs can develop a fear of people or the other animals. Firstly, there may have been limited or minimal exposure to people and/or other animals when the dog was young.

  • Fear is a physiological, behavioral, and emotional reaction to stimuli that an animal encounters. The physiological reaction results in an increase in heart rate, increased respiratory rate (panting), sweating, trembling, pacing, and possibly urination and defecation. Behaviorally, an animal will exhibit changes in body posture and activity when afraid.

  • Feather loss is as much of a concern to bird owners as hair loss is to dog and cat owners. The feathers of a bird provide protection, insulation, flight, and visual signals to other pets.

  • Once a cat becomes overweight or obese, they have had the opportunity to develop a habit of overeating. This unsurprisingly leads to food inhalation, counter surfing, and constant begging.

  • Because cat foods are so palatable now, it is not as common to find a feline picky eater, but it can happen. It appears that for some cats, providing lots of variety—different flavors, styles, and textures—can overwhelm a cat with choices. For some cats, too much of a good thing (e.g. lots of food variety) is not necessarily a good thing!

  • Cats are nosy creatures, sniffing at anything of interest. Since felines find insects interesting, they sniff at them, and if they stick their nose where it doesn't belong, they may get a quick reprimand that could be fatal.

  • Some dogs continue to guard their food aggressively even after being worked with as puppies (see Handling and Food Bowl Exercises). Punitive attempts to change them, such as making the dog wait and perform numerous tasks for food, or factors that cause increased hunger might tend to exacerbate rather than diminish the behavior.

  • Getting a second dog can definitely enrich your family, but before you do, consider the consequences of adding another canine to your household.