WHY DOESN'T HE IMPROVE?
Why doesn't he improve?
Let's make sure we have a handle on what you consider "improvement".
You, your pet, and I will have worked some things out. Back over to you...he's different, but then....
...things aren't quite as "good" or as "improved" as you thought they were or perhaps hoped they would be. Well, you think, they seemed to be, but still something isn't sitting right with you. He's still wetting in the house, scared of the mini-blinds fluttering in the air conditioner's breeze, whatever.
There's hope! Let's examine it a bit further!
Have you ever met someone who does something which irritates you? You talk to them about it and the conversation goes alright, but they may still do that same thing. It may be intentional (done to irritate you) or it may be your own tolerance level being a bit battered. This can be the case with your pet. If he likes to chase his tail 'round and 'round when you're trying to work, so be it, no harm done, unless you have a personal beef with dogs chasing their tails around you, in which case, well, I don't know what to say! But if he barks at you and won't stop, this needs to be worked out between you. In many cases this requires the help of an "Animal Translator", but often not.
Know that I'll never say that "Your dog will never bark again!" (nor would I want to see that happen with any dog.) But if he barks incessantly and that's why you contacted me, and he and I have already had a talk and I've given you the feedback, let him know how you feel about the barking and so on, and he tries real hard to tone it down but eventually falls back into his old bad habits, not only is it probably time for a Follow-Up, but there also may be something you can do on your own. Examine things a bit. Something changed. Isolate that change and work with that. It may be....the barking happened once or twice after the Consultation, and you were able to stop it, but the third and fourth times you were too tired or busy to deal with it so "let it go". That's the change. Or he wanted a little treat every time he was a Good Boy For The Entire Evening so you implemented that, but after a week or so, you ran out of treats and instead of explaining this to him and then getting more, you let him know in no uncertain terms that you were irked with him and so on. Perhaps the girlfriend came back and you just couldn't turn her away...well, maybe your dog knows something you don't!
Some situations or problems are "breed specific" or body-driven. Without unnecessarily "profiling" (no, all Pit Bulls are not vicious nor are all Pomeranians yappers!!), I have definitely found that certain types of breeds have genetically ingrained "survival" activities that apparently "worked" for that breed for generations and kept that part of the species alive. These are not traits I will try to "get rid of" for your convenience. Training and socializing pets with other people and animals helps, but you must be aware of and heed species and breed strengths, weaknesses and quirks.
Often the small dog will yap at passers-by, to the embarrased "amusement" of their owners and the annoyance of everyone else. Well, they're frightened and threatened and it's not their fault - look at the size of the world from their literal perspective. Animals whose body type are more large and "lumbery"can get introverted about this and be more shy. Snakes are snakes, they hiss and strike. Birds want to fly. Pets who seem "slow and stupid" aren't - they are perhaps the equivalent of our "mellow", or they're bored. Heck, I've found the quiet, calm types of often having a great time fantasizing away about wild adventures, all the while casting an amused eye at the "fuss and bother" that gets carried on around them by their fellow pets and humans.
Animal personalities are as varied as ours. As a Pet Communicator, I will go over anything you want with them, including the yapping, the quietness, the "why is she shy?", the irrational fears and bad habits, and will let you know what comes up on it. As said elsewhere on this site, I will work to get to the bottom or root of things; often, just talking about it and understanding what the owner wants, and why, changes things, at least for the short run. But know that these are animals and while they try very hard to change, to please, to they have a rough time just suddenly being "different" when generations of genetic engineering dictates to that being that they must bark, snarl, overreact, hate this species, be afraid of that species, etc.
And like any other living being, animals want to do what they want to do. They need adequate freedoms, not just being hit with what they can't do, where they can't sit or lay, what noises they can't make, and so on.
Not for nothing, as they say, but If an animal can chew through something, and has a reason to (in their estimation), they will, it's just we who have the consideration that it's a "child's gate" or a "TV remote" or a "cup" or whatever. To them it's fun, revenge, protest, a barrier to something which now needs to be overcome, whatever. Heck, we do comparable things in our lives and it's called Asserting ourselves, or Overcoming barriers, or Speaking our minds.
Know also that part of my operating basis with an animal is to ensure that the animal is fine at the end. I work very very very hard to never leave them upset, hanging, unresolved, etc., regardless of their situation. I've had pets who, for example have not yet decided one way or the other if they were going to change something (such as inside peeing, being too aggressive with the other pet), yet circumstantially this may be as far as the Consult will go for them. They have said what they wish to say, issues have been discussed back and forth between us and the owner, but the pet may still be needing to make their own choice on this or some other subject. It's just a matter of granting them the same dignity afforded a human being: the power of choice, a chance to look at their lives newly, and to reevaluate as they see fit. I work with the owner to explain in great detail the exact ideas and facts of the matter as presented to me by the pet, give whatever intelligent input I can, and you must take it from there.
| "I just wanted to let you know that Willow is the sweetest kitty in the world now. She sits on me and purrs and purrs and hits me so that I'll pet her. I don't know what happened, but she just adores being petted now. It's strange, but really nice. She's still skittish, especially with other people, and even with me if I move too quickly, but she's completely different than she used to be." ~ Shannon J. in CA
There is the rare animal being who refuses to change. They keep attacking the other pet, they want to howl at the moon at 3 a.m. or they don't care if you'd prefer they use the litter box. These are not necessarily the ones who have been traumatized, who are irritated, etc., but who are at least trying...no, this is the very small percentage who simply will not change. You have seen this in life with humans? Well, I see it occasionally with animals. It does happen. Know that I work with them as much as possible, finding out their thoughts on this, going over the moral codes and comfort zones for all concerned in your household, and I always try to get to the bottom or root of the matter. But if they don't want to "give it up", they won't.
This is not always from anger or resentment. Some simply are not into, or up to, facing "issues". This includes very, very "minor" ones (in our opinions). That's just who they are and what they're about and often, no amount of "going over it with them" and reasoning with them will get them to open up.
These guys will come off as reasonable, caring, attentive, and "trying". They are NOT "being deceitful" or if so, not in a malicious way. They're trying. They don't need to be told to, well, Try (necessarily). They already know what you want. They can only do what they can do.
No one can "talk you out of" stage fright, tugging on your hair nervously when That Guy looks your way, sweaty palms before a job interview, being pissed off that forty-fifth time your mom tells you about how she sets the dials on her dishwasher, etc. Reactions and habits and fears and foibles are just that. With an animal, try to differentiate between the ones that won't change, can't change, and "in the middle". The last two are the easiest to work with but often for the pet owner, the most frustrating (whereas the first can be the most irritating).
(foible: a minor weakness or failing of character; slight flaw or defect)
Animal Communication can definitely be very effective when working with behavioral problems. It is a tool we can use to find out why the pet is behaving in such a manner, and to find out if there is something we can do to help facilitate a behavioral change.
However, it is important to keep in mind that animals have free will just as people do, and communication is not about control. Ultimately only the animal being can decide whether they will ~ or can ~ change their behavior. The Consultation is done when the Consultation is done ~ not when Fido stops barking at the mailman.
Some take more work
It's fantastic when we ask Mr. Kitty why he keeps peeing outside the box, we get the answer, Mommy fixes the problem that was bothering him and Kitty discontinues this behavior. Or he just stops on his own, being happy that he got to Have His Say.
Surprise! The above is rare! Some wish to change (or say so) but won't "crack". I get an email from the owner that they are simply as rascally, irritating, "bad" or whatever, as before - NO change. Now, once you have done an Aunt Julie Consultation you know how thorough I am. So it's Follow-Up time. It's simply "more hours on the case", you might say. And here's how it goes: there will be more, or there will be more of the same.
"More of the same" means we poke about, listen to them, discuss things, and hear the same rap. You'll understand when you experience it. Aunt Julie is NOT NOT NOT your "disciplinarian" but I wasn't born yesterday, either. I do know how to get across that something isn't Okay with Mommy, society, whatever, and why, and consult their understanding about these concepts, and/or help you work with them on it some more and see what happens. But if they're not going to change, they're not going to change.
"More", on the other hand, is also known as Tip of the Iceberg. And sometimes that break and this new investment of some extra time is all they need to be able to pull back for a bit, regroup, and now, this time, plow into it headlong. You'd be shocked at some of the things your dog is "sitting" on. What your cat really did. This type of thing.
They are, as we are, their own harshest judges. They are moral, caring and decent folk. So sometimes I do pick up that under the surface, they're waiting for something, sittin' on something. They cannot face this deed or incident comfortably for whatever reason, and what the owner sees is a fussy, protesty pet. Well, Virginia, they're going to talk about it, or they aren't. If the Consultation is done and they did not "out with it", and we give it a second shot and nothing more seems forthcoming, that's that.
And they will come out with it in the future, or not.
They have a right to say or not say whatever they wish.
Following is an example of someone who did not change after their Initial Consultation. Aunt Julie was not happy about that when weeks later I was apprised of this fact, so we scheduled more time and plowed in newly. I was very light about it with Bilbo (the dog), I just let him know the basic gist of things and that we wanted to see what might be up with him that kept him continuously upset and fussy. AND I did not approach it from the "Look how bad you are angle", rather I started off looking for any hidden pains, discomforts and the like which might be keeping him in a bad mood all the time. This was the "opener". But I was very direct and no-nonsence about it, and my affecting this particular attitude served to snap him right in to the "mode" of "Let's discover why Bilbo is acting this way!" about himself and guess what? He did the OUT with it thing, despite himself.
And the stuff that came out of him mouth, though private so not repeated here, could have knocked one's socks right off.
1. Where are you in all of this? On occasion, I'll do a Consult and a major part of it will have to do with some behavior issue. Why won't they stop pooping in the house? We go over it and over it and I don't get at all any real, genuine conviction on the dog(cat)'s part to stop. They say why they do it, and that's, well, basically that. The rest is lip service and we all know. it. We do what we can, and I let the owner know to keep me posted, trying the few things that we all could agree on that might help the pet's attitude or outlook. Then a few days later, whenever, I get an email from the owner saying "I couldn't take it anymore. I just told him - STOP pooping or you're outta here!" or STOP peeing on the carpet or you're banned to the spare bedroom with your food and a litter box until further notice!" or in one actual case, a new-to-the-household formerly abused cat would not pee and after a couple of days and one good Consult, he still didn't, and the owner wrote me, "He did pee later that day. I basically said "hey, its up to you. Pee today or we see the vet tomorrow"...and he peed!!!!!" Can Aunt Julie take credit for his peeing "the same day as the Consult?" I'd actually prefer to credit the fact that she said what she said to him. Yeah, we had covered the potential vet visit point with him, but I think it took her saying what she said to him to er um get the ball rolling. Look, humans have rights, too. Don't forget it. They haven't, actually, despite the fact that they'll sometimes pretend they have.
2. I often get emails that the pet started to misbehave "about a month ago" or the like. Please, please take the time to try and remember what changed. Believe it not, they don't always know. They know that's when they started hating the other dog but forget why. They can say what they're upset about but a lot of times what they're upset about, well, isn't what they're upset about.
You've been thinking about selling the house and moving for a month now. This upsets your cat who takes it out on the dog. Oblivious, I ask "What's up here about Rover?" and so get an earful about the dog. But if I know going in that that's also the same time you decided to really go through with selling the house, I can get from "Mommy says you've been upset with Rover for about a month now and she was wondering what happened at that time with him or maybe something else which might have upset you?". Boom - I hear about how unstabilized they felt when they were in the kitchen watching Mommy wipe a plate and Mommy started thinking about "moving" and kitty got scared about losing her "castle" since she's really the Queen there, didn't Mommy know?, and the dog didn't seem to care or notice! She's been "showing him" ever since!!
So please take the time to think back to the time of the change in the animal and see if you can come up with any clues (thoughts such as above, a change in their food or medications, you got a bad diagnosis from your doctor, changed jobs, changed your schedule, relocated the kitty litter box, or moved the bird's cage across the room because you were sure they'd like ithe change...).
The "Tip" aspect of this request should be obvious ~ your animal is a part of your family and needs to feel and be included or at least important in decision making in any way you can so accomplish this. This is beyond the fact that as an owner, you have taken them into account and so on. This is taking the time to "consult" with them yourself, keep it simple, be excited and encouraging (despite all!), show them the "new house" or "new job" site, tell them your doctor is "helping Mommy", or move the bird's cage back!
NOTE: Take the time to notice positive changes and improvements. It may be small to you but quite a big deal to the animal. Remember, they truly are creatures of habit and it can take the equivalent of an Act of Congress at their end sometimes for them to change long-standing behavior. They're trying - notice it, comment on it, appreciate it, gush liberally, reward them.
3. Use / reinforce common sense. For example: cats and dogs are very stimulus-response when it comes to, well, where they pee. We can talk to them 'til the cows come home but if you don't clean the heck out of their "wrong" pee area, they'll do it again, almost guaranteed. This is not a "failure" on the part of the Pet Communicator (hate ta tell you skeptics) and probably not mal-intent on Rover/Fluffy's part. It has little to do with what they "understand". We can talk to them about it, ensure they get it, and then it's up to them and to you - you as a team.
Where does a Communicator fit in? I don't know what exactly you want me to do here. They're all different. For example - and he's a good kid! - nothing works with Danny my cat re: trying to bolt out the front door when he's got his mind set on it. He wants to go out like the Rest Of The Family and that's that! When he's agro about it, HE doesn't get to go out when I take the dog, HIS brother, Fox out for a walk - etc etc....nothing will stop him except a shpritz with a spray bottle like when I'm coming back in, he comes to greet us at the door and I still have to tell him pretty much every single time, Danneeee, NO. MOVE. and 8 out of 10 times, I'd say, I automatically shove him with my foot. I mean, nicely, yeah, but SHOVE him away zooooop! or he'll stand there going Meowl! Meowl!! and then zing! out the door, jumping over my foot. I can't run after him nor bend to pick him up too easily; fortunately, the times he's gotten out, Mom ***happened** to be over and she knows how to wallllllk behind him to not spook him and then she picks him up and brings him back. Once he's had his fix, I find that he loses interest for some time in jumping out. He'll still look longingly out the door and have his face in the window as soon as I leave. And part of that is because as soon as he does get out, he gets all weirded out and disoriented (but HE wouldn't remember that, if we talked about it - HE'd recall it as being Fun! Primal! Wheeeee!) so part of that is, I think I won't er um try to go out! BUT still, when I'm coming back into the apartment, he's by the door, needing to be pushed away with my foot and told NO. When Mom comes over, he so loves her that he can't stand that she ever leaves and I often have to hold him or he'll try to go home with her (when, of course, we tried this, if he does go over there just to have Grandma Time, he sits by the door waiting to go home as he can't stand to be without Fox, my dog. He freaks out - he loves and needs him so much, just to know they're in the same household, even if he doesn't interact with him for literally hours on end). We've gone over it and over it, and he "knows" he's not street smart and he'll get lost and he'll get killed and he'll this and he'll that and he just gets this circuit going in his head Go Go Go and it overrides "logic" and that's just the way it is. Pretty much every time, like a broken record. Animals, esp youngin's, get that way, very impulse driven. Little Kids, all of 'em. So it there's some thing he just has to learn, get over, or ? because the point here is that often times they obviously KNOW it's "not okay" with you but they choose to do it anyway or cannot overcome the irresponsible kid-like Whee!!! factor.
A Consult may help. Maybe. It's worth a shot, if for no other reason to go over the points so that yo uknow they've been covered, and to try and gain insight as to the thinking process of the household dog. Cat. Ferret.
Compare it to an addiction. The guy "kicks" his habit, then promptly goes right back into the same environment where all he smells are the same drugs and all he sees are the same druggie friends injecting substances anywhere they can. Sooner or alter he'll (most likely) give in. With an animal, it's almost guaranteed. Remember, peeing is not just bladder relief. It's an instinctive message system, territory marking, whatever. Primitive? Well, humans have doors they lock, alarm systems, dogs to bark for them, window blinds to pull down, fences and border lines and map lines and national borders. We know our turf! And communicating? We wear the latest whatever outfit to show what We're About. We IM and text message each other furiously to make sure Our voice is heard. So why should we deny this to an animal, who if in their natural terrain would communicate however they felt they needed to?
Well, ok, so we have an artificial environment for them and they need to live within it. You'd be surprised how many pets have let me/the owner know that they completely understand that humans do not like the smell of dog (cat) urine. They get it. But they are also living in an altered "world", so to speak, so you need to just realize that. Most of you do; many of you say you do but actually don't.
When you do, and when we've talked with them (including seeing if they're aware of any trigger, stimulus, upset or protest, and/or physical condition causing the "errant" behavior - and note I say Aware Of), ensured they get it, and worked with them, chances are excellent they will try very hard to change. They'll stop peeing in the wrong place for - that day, a few days, a week. Maybe they'll do it once and the rest of the time not. Maybe they'll consider if for a few seconds, hover by the litter box, then wander over to their "secret place" and pee away. Whatever. From YOUR end, you'd better be on top of things. REINFORCE their stated good intentions by
1. cleaning the bleep out of anywhere they've peed, pooped (in case they also peed even a little bit there), sprayed, or may have. Use "they enzyme cleaner" - all the pet stores have them and/or get them in catalogs or online. It isn't about whether you can smell it, it's about whether they can smell it. It's fine to use vinegar or bleach or ammonia or Simple Green or whatever you use - but don't forget the enzyme spray. It matters. It's designed to take care of that other smell they leave for each other / themself that is a bigtime trigger to "pee here!"
2. helping them using discipline. By discipline I mean both senses of the word ~ how you respond when they're "bad", and a "discipline" or a routine, habit pattern, schedule. The latter is probably already in place, but just keep an eye on it. Try to walk them the same time, keep the same dog walker, the same water schedule, the same kitty litter, whatever matters to them in your household. If Kitty doesn't like it when little Johnny is crying while he's trying to pee in the litter box, take the time to go pick Little Johnny up and shove a bottle in his mouth for a few minutes. HELP your pet.
The former has to do with whatever you do when your pet is "bad". That's your household, your own parameters.
One more note: I've got a few things on my Good Links page which may be of assistance, such as the enzyme cleaner mentioned above. At some point in time browse that page and see if there are any products or ideas which may be of use to you or others in assisting along a better mutual environment for humans and pets, be it for health, behavioral issues, or just plain ol' fun!
Commonest causes of misbehavior I've found:
Protest about something
Protest about something
Protest about something
Protest about something!
Something or someone new introduced into the scene
Protective of your mutual home
Protective of own space, bed
Protective of another (you, a child, another animal)
Hungry & Tired
Hungry (commonly ignored or mis-utilized for own amusement by humans)
Tired (commonly overlooked)
Thirsty (commonly overlooked)
Being an imp (a good thing!!!)
Pettiness (very very very rare in animals)
Jealousy (common but usually easy to address)
Doesn't feel well (acutely or long-term) - aware of it or not (them, I mean)
Environmental (cleaning solution smells, cooped up, etc.)
Needing a job, a purpose, is feeling purposeless, purpose blunted by owner
Abused (in the past or currently, in their estimation or in reality)
You keep intervening when the pet(s) feel it's not needed ("I'm sure kitty can't stand it when Fido dog chases her!")
In pain (acute or chronic) and/or a health problem, whether or not known by the owner (or the pet!)
They're picking up on something you don't think they know about
You didn't get what they tried to tell you
You said something about them that they did not like / was not true / embarrased, irritated, degraded or humilated them
They asked for a favor / had a request and you thought that was reeeeeal cute...and did nothing about it
They simply Need To Be Heard!
And let's not forget
They did change and you didn't notice
They did change but it wasn't what you wanted, how you wanted, as much as you wanted, what others think your pet should be like, what you saw on a tv show about how pets are supposed to be, how you think pets are supposed to be
REAL LIFE EXAMPLES OF THE ABOVE - NOTHING SAYS IT BETTER THAN YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES
(BUT THESE COME CLOSE)
Pet not feeling well? Marked change in behavior?
Two important notes re: "Behavior"
1. A pet's behavior is usually defined by what the owner thinks is correct or incorrect behavior for a person, modified to some degree for the Animal Kingdom. Also, behavior issues are not always "aggressive vs. non-aggressive", that is, things like "My dog bites me" is "behavior", but so is the more subtle "My pet doesn't share my 'think' on things and does things which are offensive to me".
The average pet owner does take into account that a "pet" is different than an "animal", per se, that is, both are animals but a "pet" is a domesticated animal, one which has been taken into or born into the human society. This artificial upbringing and environ demands adjustment at both ends. Most of this "adjustment" occurs seamlessly as pets are by and far good natured, and try to appease or fit in, or even just want to not be noticed while they "hide" in your safe haven. In any case, take into account what's natural for them and do not try so hard to make them be human, to conform to human ideologies and moral codes.
Good word to know / concept to grasp: anthropomorphism
an·thro·po·mor·phism (nthr-p-môrfzm) n. The attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to nonhuman organisms or inanimate objects.
We do this with our pets all the time. TRY to catch others doing it, just as a learning drill. You don't have to say anything to them, just learn from it. Catch yourself doing it as well.
NOT to be confused wtih communicating with your pet, confiding in your animal friend, crying on your dog, telling your bird about your day at work - or doing Pet Communication!
You'll see the difference when you start to sort through the matter.
One person wanted their cat to realize that sitting on the table at dinnertime was "rude" and therefore to stop doing it. "Rude" was completely "what wall!?" to the cat and understandably so. I knew we couldn't just let it go at that; this needed a little bit of 'splaining. Plus, the cat was allowed on the table at other times, which made this seemingly arbitrary rule even more confusing. When food was introduced - yum! - they suddenly weren't allowed up there...during the most attractive time to be there! I pointed out the cat's confusion, and the owner saw the cat's point of view and dilemma. Knowing that many "rules" and moral codes and ideas are based on something which was logical at some point in time, and then people often glibly made broad rules, I figured this "no sitting on the table while the humans are eating" had something to do with either sanitary issues, or just not wanting someone to stare at you and/or paw at you and/or meow at you (etc.) while you're trying to have your own safe, relaxed, food enjoyment time. (This made sense to the pet as most don't like it, either, such as from other animals at meal time.) In any case, I brought these points up to help move things along constructively, and let the two of them go Huh! and sort out what made sense to them. They worked out agreements that they felt good about, and we moved on to the next subject.
We humanize them. Guess what? Hate ta tell ya: Humping another dog at the dog park isn't "bad behavior"! Nor is chasing the neighbor's cat, or snatching food out of the other dog's bowl, growling at the UPS man, barking at the mailman, snarling at someone they don't know who rushes up to you to greet you, barking or meowling incessantly in the car when its in motion, etc. These are irritating, embarrasing, inconvenient, startling, scary or whatever they are, but only from a human point of view and that's a human living in this current society.
(Why not? Because to them, it's not "the dog park", it's a location they happen to be at. A cat's a cat, not "your neighbor's" cat and therefore, somehow, immune to whatever treatment any cat coming by would get. The fact that this cat eats man-made cat food and has a collar does not make it "not a cat", to your dog. Food needs to be eaten - what's the difference between a red bowl and a blue bowl? People approaching the household "nest" are always suspect - defend first, ask questions later. Being startled, caught off-guard, surprised, and/or too trusting of these life forms who are large and "in control" equals almost certain death, at an instictive level, so, err on the way of caution. Being picked up and stuck inside of a non-organic loud chemical-stinky roaring beast who suddenly starts moving from underneath one, like you or I standing on a roving earthquake while the world rushes by - well, you figure it out. Bad behavior? I think not.)
Another example is a very good client who came up with one I hadn't heard before. She was gritting her teeth to let her cat know an important point (to him): that it was Great and Wonderful how he'd bring her his "kills" (rodents, rabbits and snakes). She went on to all that he needed to remember one thing: no bunnies! Mommy likes bunnies! This was way out of the realm of responsibility and control of this domesticated pet cat. He "got" the idea as it was said and requested, but kept fading out of focus on it and "shutting down" to a degree. He could not agree to it. He could not hold onto the concept. He knew he would not be able to just go, Oh, there's a rabbit...hmmm...Mommy told me she likes "bunnies"...I guess that means this little jumpy mammal's somehow "different" to me than all of the other ones which I'm proud that I am able to stalk/kill, because Mommy The Human says/feels so.
Not real. Not realistic. Not possible for this cat to do.
My client got it, and just did what she could to make sure that Kitty understood her feelings about the matter and why. Kitty agreed to Try, but no promises...he'd try to make note of it if/when it ever came up.
He can only do what he can do.
A bad Mommy Pet Owner would later chastise the kitty, Bad kitty! Mommy told you No Bunnies! I wuv them Waaaah! etc and so on. A good Mommy Pet Owner would understand, re-arrange the environ so that no bunnies are accessible to kitty, or get over it. Or stop being a cat owner, or, this cat's owner.
This has nothing to do with what you or I do or do not think about the subject. This has to do with Animal Communication. We are communicating with someone, not altering them. You ask their opinion, it's their opinion. You want to live with animals? Live with animals. They're easy to communicate with and to work with on issues, but just remember that 9 times out of 10, an "issue" is only an issue to YOU, the human, until or unless you make it one for the animal, and then, you have to keep in mind that it's not their issue to "solve". They will work with you as best they can, but you have more access to options, evaluations of situations and importances, and analytical thought. Give 'em a break.
2. Reactivity vs. Logical, Rational and Analytical ~ The animal does not always think things through as we do. When I do a Consult and have comm with the animal being, I'm communicating with the being. This being is just as you or I and is very rational and focused. If there's a mental impingement (emotions, incidents, upsets, mental pictures, fears and so on), this colors things. The same goes for physical impingements (pain, survival instincts, hormonal changes and swings, hunger, thirst, ill health, etc.). So what might seem logical to you, they will understand when told but then in "real life", they'll perhaps, or sooner or later, do or re-do some completely different thing. They change, but only for a short period of time, then in your opinion, they "relapse" (or "it doesn't work). They do what they're naturally inclined to do, what their habit has been, and/or what "works" for them in some context (real or imagined). Go ahead and bring up subjects you want to cover, this is fine! We'll address them and see what we can work out. But just remember that they do not as a natural operating basis, function with "rationality" as their highest order of mental thought.
An example might include when your pet's sparring with your other pet, and you come along and stick your hand in there. You just might get swatted, scratched, nipped, bitten or growled at. Rover! It's okay! I was just trying to help! Well, you'd just better realize that you walked into a reactive situation, and they acted accordingly. (Most pet owners instinctively know this, but there is the occasional one who keeps trying to "solve" sparring issues which the animals aren't interested in sparring. In life, they get rebuked or nipped at; on the phone with Aunt Julie, they try over and over to "reason" with their pet about how they're sure that this "problem" must be solvable. It's actually surprisingly rare that in a multiple pet household, any of the pets really cares two hoots about any of that beyond perhaps a token grumble.
One client had one of her dogs kill her kitten. She emailed me pictures of her pets and one of the pictures was a cute shot of this same dog playing with this kitten! When the dog was discussing what had occured, turns out that he was in the hallway and one of the other dogs had come out of an adjacent room, startled him, and right then the kitten had leaped up to his face to play from some other direction. This dog, in his swirling confusion, made a reactive "choice" and lashed out at the kitten...and that was that.
Another example might include when your cat love bites you. Please do go ahead and let them know during our Consult that you do not like this. Do not expect them necessarily to stop it, or to stop it forever. They get overcome with their genetic blueprinting and stimulus-response and they do that because that's what cats do. It somehow makes some primal sense to their mind and body, and Zing! it happens.
If nothing else, never lose sight of the fact that if this animal truly wanted to harm you, he would. His claws can blind you. His bites can rip your flesh. He loves you (or tolerates you) and he's doing the best he can!
Just as importantly, do not ignore signs that they do give you. It's not important that YOU think it's "not ok for them to bite you". If they give you a sign in the best feline way they can, it's up to you to not ignore it because you "don't believe they'd do that!" A recent newsletter said it very well:
"Some cats are completely docile and will allow as much petting as the owner wants to give them. Others, if they have had enough attention simply move away. However there is a third category of cat that is relatively common that has a more violent reaction to being overly petted. These cats suddenly lash out and bite their owner's hand before jumping away.
This is the behavior of a cat that feels threatened and strikes out to defend itself. This behavior is all the more startling to the owner, as seconds before, the cat appeared to be totally relaxed and often purring. The cat will give subtle danger signals that all is not well, but often the owner fails to notice or recognize them.
The relaxed cat starts to stiffen imperceptibly, the ears rotate so the backs face forward and the pupils dilate. Furtive sideways glances and a twitching tail occur, followed almost immediately by either a swift bite and/or vicious scratch.
At the first sign of any agitation, stop petting immediately and tip your cat off your lap, and wait until your cat has settled down again before starting any further petting. This may take as long as 30 to 60 minutes. Wait until your cat comes to you rather than forcing your attentions on the cat."
You can contact Aunt Julie and we can talk to them all day if you'd like, but they act and react first and foremost like the body and species physical and mental type they are: a cat's a cat, a dog's a dog, a snake's a snake, a goldfish is a goldfish. You must understand that they do things in order to survive (obvious examples such as a goldfish will dart away - a human tapping finger is "danger!" and so you of course wouldn't go, "Hey! Why didn't they come to me? My dog does!?" or, in what their mind thinks is in order to survive (an otherwise friendly dog will growl and jerk back when a human shoves their friendly hand at the dog's face to greet them).
A client who rescues cats recently was extremely upset because one of those cats, let's call her Cream, had been living at her place for about a month now with all the other rescued cats of varied ages and health issues, and had mellowed out to a good degree, but that day had gotten upset when this client went to pick up an adjacent cat who became resistive. Cream attacked her, scratched her and bit her all up. I was to tell the cat that if he ever did that again, he'd be put down. Uh huh. This person, an ongoing client, called me out of the blue and laid that on me quite passionately. I could just "pretend" (!) or I could deliver the comm. As the case may be, the comm was delivered as soon as the owner said it to me, as the animal got the concept (as well as any comm the client had said to her in person) but the client was also (undertandably upset and carrying) on and on to the overwhelmed cat who had his own reasons he had flipped out (abused in the past, a fact the owner knew about). However, anything the cat said was argued with, but the owner was in that Can't drop it mode where they had to challenge and clarify and compulsively "get agreement on" everything they said. So you know that... OK so you agree that.... But use your head! (to a cat being - sigh) .. I'm helping cats, if you ever do this again you'll ruin my last 20 years of helping cats by making me lose my faith in what I'm doing! ... Don't you understand that...... I'm trying to help you, why can't you just see that things are better than..... ETC. I kid you not. The cat was supposed to take this all in and just go - Okay.
Another client the next day called me also out of the blue, mid-appointments as had been regularly, scheduled, to let me know that her dog had run out in the street chasing the UPS van. This - understandably - could not continue, and the dog was going to lose her off-leash priviliges she had been enjoying. Now, in this case, the reason this dog had these privileges could be traced directly to our conversations with her and the owner's persistence and also learning to listen to what the dog had to say and stop arguring her own "reality" against the dog's. Just - hear it, get it, acknowledge it, figure out how to understand it or something about it, and then...work with it. Over time, the dog - aleady a wonderful gal! - had became quite trustworthy under normal circumstances. Well, on this day, she had been hanging out with her best friend neighbor dog who chased a van, and now "suddenly" this. She ended up out in the middle of a busy street, oblivious to the danger she was in. The owner wasn't mad at her but was freaked out and didn't know what to do, so called me. We had some comm with the dog and I really, really honed into her exact concepts on things. She really wanted to get across that while out there she truly could not track with the various random factors. She could not wrap her mind around when the owner told her how The vehicle could make a turn and they can't see you and maybe there's another car coming, and... different things like this. It was way too much to absorb when she was in the thrill of the chase, but when she'd tell us this, being nakedly honest about her own capabilities, and lack of. You and I might be tempted to go, Oh, c'mon, but remember this is the being we're talking with, so the mental "handicaps" as it were, of being "an animal", can be viewed, understood and known by that animal being but not necessarily overcome just because they understand the nature of their own "handicap". No different than your being afraid of heights and someone trying to talk you out of being afraid to look down while on a tall building, or at the side of a Grand Canyon cliff. You can't "talk it away", the fear. That's an example of how the mind affects what happens to the "whole package", the organism, the "dog" as we know it - the being who is, well, being that dog. (I used the heights fear in the example but remember also when we comm with your pet that the mind has more than just fears, there are ideas, notions, considerations and conclusions which may or may not be "correct" in our or even their estimation.)
I got some feedback from her dog and passed it along. I told her that her dog thought of vehicles as soulless life forms. They were living things but not alive. They were also "okay" as Mommy would get into a car and nothing happened! (equals not dangerous). Speed, velocity, force - non-issues when it was time to chase something. So yeah, I could simply "be a Communicator" and just tell her what Mommy said, and know that Mommy will go Oh, well then Aunt Julie communicates with animals so well that now I know my dog's 'got it'...now she can go off-leash again and all will be fine WRONG I have to let the owner know the full depth of the concepts the animal has. In this case, I gave her all the nuances of the UNreality, as well. Although I'm pretty even-tempered, I'm also very persistent. Sometimes it comes off as argumentive (from me? from the dog? who knows), but tough. It's better than a dead dog.
The owner knew the drill by now so continued patiently trying to come up with ways to make things sensible to her dog, without invalidating the dog's sense of things. We finally came up with the example of not being able to see behind ... a dog couldn't see a cat behind them necessarily..... BING! the dog GOT IT.
Whether she can or will retain it is another story. Two days later, by reports she was being a Good Girl about things once again, and, she was proud of herself at her retention of "why" it wasn't a good idea to chase vehicles. UPS trucks, anyway.
Think 5 year old child. It's up the owner to decide On-leash or Off-leash. Perhaps this dog will never again chase a truck. Or any vehicle. Hey, she wasn't a chaser before. But the flip side of that is just that...it was the quirky thing, the random thing, the unexpected thing, that could have been a flash death for her.
Something I observed my dog doing - he makes a great study for these points: I was walking him down the sidewalk of our condo's parking lot. We were walking by a parked car whose owner just then turned the key. The car made "car is running" noises and Fox immediately, as if on cue, started to veer over to walk up to that car, pointed right at the back passenger side (where he would get in if in our car). There was no thought process, there was rational conclusion, it was just what was instinctively done. This was a habit pattern well-engrained, and more power to 'im! After years of doing just that - we go to the car, Mom starts it, I and Fox get in it in the back (Mom drives because of my bad back) - you get the idea. BUT of course he was "incorrect" and if off-leash, he'd have wandered probably right under the tires of the car as the driver obliviously pulled back, not seeing him (Fox was right there like 3 feet away and casually heading that way at full dog pace).
Hey - you and I and we all have at some point in time done something like ... what's wrong with this key!??! and then blushed (and hoped no one noticed) because we had stuck our key into another car in the parking lot. Sometimes one that only resembled ours, i.e. not even the same make/model. And we're thinking, rational human beings with er um full mental capacity.
YES it's always worth communicating, despite what I just laid out for you. Always. You will have the best mutual understanding you can have. You will work with your animal companion, friend, pet, bay-bee. You're going that extra mile, and there are countless examples from my clients alone of times when this did make a difference. What comes of the communication is the fragile balancing act of minute-by-minute life. Heck only you and your pet know what it's really like at your home and between you, all your interactions, all the subtleties. I connect you two in ways that you cannot necessarily otherwise connect, and you two take it from there.
Special note about physical reactions: You cannot in the course of a Consultation "reason away" trembling or barking due to claps of thunder, workers' power tools, the UPS man suddenly bam-bamming on the door, and more than your reassurances (or yelling) stops such reactions. Or perhaps it stops them but does not prevent them from reoccurring. YES, it's worth "bringing up" but don't have any such expectation such as the above. Like I tell folks, It's the little kid who's scareed of the boogeyman. You show him the inside of the closet. You look under the bed. You reason with him and discuss the impossibilities of such being the case. You hug them and build up their confidence level. You leave the door ajar and a soft hall light on. All's well, 'night, Mommy! Two seconds later, the kid is Absolutely Positive that The Hand is going to grab his foot, and there's no convincing him otherwise. Once he's "in" this fear, he's in it, calm, quiet reassurances and huggies make him feel safe once again, and given a bit of time, he'll chill out able to try "bedtime" again.
Your pet will have physical reactions. They're there for a reason. If there's a clap of thunder, he'd darned well better have a Zing! reaction to make his body flash-run mindlessly to somewhere to find shelter in a cave, under bushes, wherever. This is carefully programmed into his instincts. Remove him from the outside, he still hears the thunder but is sheltered so one would assume he feels safer. Sometimes the animal gets upset in a new way! which is the fact that being indoors, there's no blustery wind, smell of rain in the air, no related other weather factors, sounds, smells, sights or other sensory, so his body may not "compute" correctly and all he can do is wonder and tremble. You think he's upset outside? Try giving him what he views to be a safe environment and then add some ilogical, out of context thunder clap!
How did I handle this? Early on, when I'd see his little face peering up at me looking for some emotional guidance (is Mommy scared?), I made a slow, gentle, big-ol' show about how great it all was, and how Fox and Mommy were going to go outside and Ooooooh! See the Raaaaaaaaain! etc. If the thunder carried on, I'd pick him up and go stand in the doorway and we'd watch things together and marvel at how wonderful it all was, and how safe Fox was, and we'd go inside and Mommy'd be like OK! That was that! We're safe in here and now Mommy's going to go back to (whatever I was doing).
Sure, he doesn't really "like" thunder, and he barks when there's rain - but he barks at me, to inform me indignantly and with a worried tone, that there's Rain and that Mommy had Better take him out there to see it! (If I don't, he gets more and more reactive to the point of being irrational. If I act fast, he remains focused on his mission which is to Inform Mommy. Now, if Mommy got too "rational", I'd go Well, I don't need him to tell me, doesn't he know that? etc. which would crush his mission and he'd have nowhere to go with his anxieties, and he'd go downhill from there. Nope - I have to understand where he's at, and that's my starting point.
That was me - and him - and fortunately he took to this way of dealing with it. The next dog may not have. Yours might, yours might not, it may be past the point where that would help, and some idea you had and used might work better for the next pet.
No hope? Sure there is. Each case is different and every animal needs to be listened to and understood.
A Note On Fears
It is rather hard to witness animals being this afraid some or all the time, shaking even though you reassure them, tell them "There's nothing to be afraid of!" all the way from explaining about the vet's procedure, to just wondering why Fifi shudders, yap-barks from fear, acts all bravado when you know he's not, etc.
Some animals seem to be always stuck in this or that fear thing. Some are in terror. I've talked to a lot of them; many enjoy it, some "milk" it, some just separate self from it and/or differentiate about it....just depends. Often it's not like we decide or conclude that it is, oddly enough (read: the For What It's Worth Department). I mean, I'd have to talk to her, specifically, but that does come up a lot. They have stuff kick in on them and when you have comm(unication) with them, the being; they wax philosophical, they're fine, they this and they that, and are quite sane, actually......but as a DOG (or cat or...) that "package" is highly reactive. It aligns (or once did, waaaaaaaaaaay back when) with "survival" concepts. X happens, ouch, from now on, X is dangerous, end of story, over and out. Well, they're all about instinct and survival mechanism; being "domesticated" goes against their nature. Nature of an animal species, not nature of the being.
So a Communicator, and you, can talk to, comm with, the being, and we'll hear all about when Earlier Daddy smacked them, or, when they were a little pup and something fell on them (and it could have just been another sibling puppy playing and this one didn't see 'em coming!) and now All Motion Is Suspect - whatever. Sometimes they're just....scared. Fearful. And that's they way it is, will remain, and so on, like it - we humans - or not. WE have the luxury of analytically discussing things, we've seen all about it on tv so it's not a mystery, we've experienced it before so we've learned from it, we know all about such and such. (The fact that we also react all over the place but disguise that with social niceties or call it "quikiness" or "being cool", is getting glossed right over here. Animals don't pull any punches - they react and they don't cover it up. We do.)
Also, when you try to talk to or reason into a raw reaction, you get nowhere. I get nowhere. A pet frightened by a storm or worked up over construction workers making noise or barking at the UPS man five seconds ago - fugeddaboudit. The react! Five alarm fire! Woo woo! Red alert! thing goes off and takes over. Hate ta tell ya. When it's calmed down a bit, They can be contacted (the being) and reasoned with...but the body's stimulus-response can once again take over at the drop of a hat (or the ring of a doorbell).
Sure, there have been some pets who stopped being so shaky, hysterical, vomiting or whatever, in the car, once they were able to via me voice their specific fear [The car's actually alive and they're in its belly. They get upset when the ground moves (so to speak) under them, taking away their control over their body. Whatever.] But that's not all of them. Some voice it and then then the next time they are taken to the car they're just as terrified. And they may be that way for life. Perhaps after a talk or two with them, they might have ideas of how to alleviate things, and/or you might be working with them on things, and they do improve. Remember life is in continuous development and change, so they can have better and worse days about these things. The only point I'm making here is that no one thing is necessarily going to change all of this for them, and this should come as no surprise to you or needs to, now.
Training, repetition in life, understanding (based on experience with and Communicator / owner / pet discussions about what things are or mean) all help and they can and do relax on the fact of certain things and many issues. But not all (and some none at all). Fear's a hard one to "break". You don't just "break" fear, or talk it away, or make it go away with logic. Ask any 5 year old kid who's sure the Boogeyman's in his closet. Walk him through the logic of it all, show him the empty closet, tell him about how you had the same fears and see? I'm fine!, whatever, as soon as that light's off (or even just low) and the kid's had, oh, 10-15 seconds max alone in his bed, it's baaaaack! and very, very real to him.
Your pet's at about a 5 year old mentality. The being is fine, just as your son or daughter can sanely respond to logic and "showing" how the Boogeyman's not there...then their mind takes over and things get scary again. In the case of the animal, their mind is very reactive and the analytical function is quite slim - to start with!
Odds are so stacked against them, I'm surprised they do as well as they do do! Just goes to show you the power of a being (who they really are underneath all that quivering), the strength your love provides them and the security your support affords them.
YES, we'll talk with them and see if they feel like dredging up the incident(s) which were the equivalent of putting their hand in a fire. The dredging up is like putting their hand back in the fire for a bit...or best case, putting it on the Scary Stove. And yes, maybe it'll help alleviate things, if they'd like to talk about it. Maybe not. But don't expect them to talk with a Communicator and voilá no more shaking, irrational trembling, being scared of things that we don't feel should frighten them.
They do. We can help them through this but the degree of help varies as wildly as there are beings to have fears.
A client wrote that her dog has problems traveling in a car. Excerpts: "C- is having issues with car sickness. We have to drive about 20 minutes to get to ------- and C- throws up at least once almost every time." and "I have taken him to school to pick up J- and to the dogpark, both of which are only 5 or 6 blocks from home, and his muzzle will be just covered in foam. In fact all we have to do is get in the car and NOT go anywhere and he's hyperventilating. I would love to be able to take him with us sometimes but I don't know how far to push this. I really just wish I knew what was going on. I've tried a homeopathic remedy called Rescue Remedy which he seems to like but it doesn't seem to have any effect. Our obedience instructor recommended that we ask our vet but I know that means drugs and I don't want to go there if I don't have to. I'm concerned because this seems to be a learned behavior and I don't know how to 'unlearn' him."
Bless her for that last! (about the drugs)
The "learned behavior" is erroneous but would seem to be a logical assumption. She may have been told this, and/or may have observed how when there are more than one dog (for example), one can be fine on a subject until he sees the others acting a certain way (barking wildly at the UPS man) and then the newbie decides (computes, when it comes to animals) that this is correct, valid, vital, life-providing behavior. This can actually quite often be dealt with using Pet Communication to a great degree - IF it's learned behavior (and if all pets are consulted about it). It can be fun watching them try hard to get each other to "be good" and so on, and the rewards can be great for the whole household, when your pet(s) are able to follow through, on their own determinism, too.
But that's analytical; they're primarily stimulus-response which stacks the odds against them to a degree. They can't help it (sometimes) any more than you can help jumping at a horror movie.
Sometimes we have to juggle the factors - what's reactive, what they can control, where is their responsibility in the matter (as in, are they just milking it so that they can have fun peeing everywhere?), what parts of it all can they take responsiblity for/change/etc., and last but NOT least, what's important and what's not important? (read: human point of view. Fifi's not "cute" when she doesn't "sit" even when meeting Big Scary Dogs. She doesn't "interact well" at the dog park - in Mommy's opinion. Hey, maybe she's happier 'n' a pig in..... just sitting there watching her peers (dogs) and sniffing the outside air and unfamiliar tree smells and hearing car sounds and so on. It's her time, too! or shall I say, it's really all her time.)
Let's break this down a bit more with regards to fears. Let's go back to that car riding example email above.
First of all, I understand. There are many facets with this. I myself don't have to live with this particular situation, but I'm familiar with it in its other incarnations, whether with humans or animals. It's the SAME THING, regardless of species. They're just more handicapped when it comes to their ability to "logic" their way out of it (and remember, we all have our hidden little fears which we know don't go away). Fear of the car, of the dark, of this or that. My dog Fox (always a good example for my site as he's always around to observe) can't go into certain spaces. I may have written about this before, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself. Now, it's not claustraphobia, and he's great inside of areas (cars, elevators, etc.); it's more like...how to explain? Let's say I'm in a room ... let's say the bathroom since this is a smaller room and serves for example by imagery. He comes in. If I were to then close the door halfway (with him inside) and if he noticed a treat laying there which had been behind the door, he can't get it. He simply can't go between the door and the wall, even if he physically can without touching anything (door, wall). There's some degree of angle where it becomes too narrow. He can sometimes paw at the treat, if he's really intent on getting that toy, or caught up in the moment (playing). Still, he looks (literally) up, left, right, to the side, around the place, to see if "it" (boogeyman. Source of trauma. Whatever his incident contained ... who knows what - who cares? It happened, it's long over). It's like something's going to drop on him or attack him or something (it always seems like...drop on him or come at him randomly).
If the toy comes readily from pawing, so be it. If not, he'll go do something else, or, if he still really wants it but can't get it readily, he'll turn around and bark at me to Get It For Him.
I simply get it for him. On rare occasions when I'm too lazy or am wrapped up in something, I'll try the good ol', You can get it - big boy! he'll either paw at it and get it, paw at it and give up and look at me again (with that sweetie look, or a glare, or a sharp Bark!) I don't force him, try to talk him into it, "work with him", etc. I "GOT" early on, with comm, trial and error, etc., that he cannot do this and can not necessarily tell me "why" and why the heck would I want to grind him into some old incident and make him upset, sick, etc? over it? This "aberration" is too far engrained to address, see, deal with lightly, and is simply no big deal. Who cares? He certainly doesn't care! He just knows that he goes over to it, this thing "turns on", he does what he can, and goes about his business or demands Mommy Handle This For Him <g>.
If I were to somehow circumstantially "force" him to perform/executive "getting it", he'd get sick. Panting, throw up, who knows.
This is not dissimilar to what occurs with pet owners who have to take their pets in a car (such as a vet visit). That is, sometimes you need to subject your pet to something which to them is horrific. A client (or two) had to drag cats out to save them from Hurricane Katrina. Did she care that they didn't like or appreciate being roughly treated? Of course not! Could the cats at that time differentiate that this was "important"? Of course not! They're equal opportunity fear cases... think 5 year old child.
Maybe you would like their pet to be able to go in the car because it would be fun to take them along when you get gas in the car, or like Fox, it'd be great if your dog could get that treat from a narrow space, jump over the agility thing, not quiver at other dogs when at the dog park, whatever it is. Well, these things are often for our benefit or enjoyment, or, is rooted in our own considerations and notions about what's correct, normal, expected, etc.
Your pet is who HE is, not who you would like him to be. There are compromises and there are improvements in their quality of life, in their estimation. It isn't about "behavior". It's about their confidence, outlook, security, estimation of self-worth and bravado and dangerousness, etc. Their "behavior" reflects all of this.
Who cares if they can't retrieve a treat or can't comfortably ride in a car? go get them the treat, and don't take them in the car unless they actually, genuintely need to take them in the car! You may have noticed that it does not improve with succession of incidents, and in fact gets worse.
Figure it out.
No amount of "talking" will make that go away. YES YES we can work on it and I have, and many times to great result. The Testimonials aren't made up. It's just you need to really digest the above, and know that we'll find out where they're at on things, and take it from there...follow their lead. They may get overwhelmed or uncommunicative about trauma. So be it. Hey, some have no idea there's even a problem! - because it's not a "problem" to them. What do they care if they can't go in a car? Life rolls along, they're happy, then this weird thing happens where they have to go to the Scary Place Of Certain Death or whatever it is. They react, it's over, life goes back to normal. Problem solved.
That problem had better be solved for you as well. Don't dredge it up and belabor it and try to "humanize" your pet. I am NOT being condescending when I say, Hey, if your dog can't go in the car, he can't go in the car. And if you force him to (under the mistaken idea that you're "helping" him, or it "needs to be"), yes, he'll foam, cringe, shake, throw up, pee, and/or whatever. That's him. He's a being, like you, and he's an Animal Being, unlike you, and he has reactivity, like you, but he's in worse shape (generally speaking, this does not apply to all animals OR humans!) with regards to overcoming that reactivity.
Drug them? Don't even go there with me. Your choice, but doing it to someone else (kids, animals) to make them conform to our tolerance level is slipping them a Mickey. It might make them stop drooling or throwing up but you've suppressed and de-pressed that being even further. If needed for medicinal or emergency purposes, that's another story. Life or death, Katrina rescue like they'll rip you apart if you try to pick them up but you've got 10 minutes to get on that airlift with or without them....sure! You're saving a life! but if it's for your convenience, you want your animal to act a certain way, that's a different story and you should examine your reasons for it. I know you want to help them and can't stand to see them suffering. I do know this. Just get that they're not always suffering (mentally or physically or both). Sometimes you can be surprised how they really feel (and don't feel) about things as contrasted to how you assume or think they do or should feel or not feel about things.I've covered this before - let's find out how they really feel about things, and you follow their lead and see how things seem then.
There are of course many facets in real life. You want to take him to the family shindig with the other pets. You know he'll have a fantastic time at the BBQ once there. You don't want to leave him alone as you'll miss him (MY big thing <g>). Or you don't want to leave him alone as you know this upsets him. Or any combination of the above, so, you're torn between taking him in the car, or not. Well, sure, in this case, it can be quite legitimate to take him in the car! So, I do understand, and that's why I say I am not being condescending, and I DO NOT NOT want you feel that you cannot tell me that you have concerns, issues, problems or even just situations such as covered here, with your pet(s). We will take it up with them. We will address it, inquire about it. Let's see what comes up and how the dust settles. It's worth a try, of course it is.
Generally speaking, it's on the order of that ol' Hey doc, it hurts when I ------- and the doc says, Well, then don't ----------.
In most cases..... in the lion's share of the contexts or circumstances......honey, unless it's something your pet has to accompany you for (vet), it ain't important if he rides in your car or not. Go without him. To spend time with him, take him for a walk. He's happy with it - why can't you be?
Marked change in behavior? Or do you also / just suspect your pet is not feeling well?
Please see the section on "SIgns" on my "I'm Not A Vet, But..." page. Take the time to read the linked pages as well, at least one time so you've got the basic info and also know where to access it in the future if needed (or print it out).
Note on Pain
The Whole Dog Journal, Sept 2006 issue, has a good write-up ("A World Of Hurt") regarding animals and pain. The part I want to refer to here is two definitions in a separate box, of Pain Threshold and Pain Tolerance. These two terms get confused a lot. They give the following example to help sort it out: if you fill a bowl with ice water and put your hand into the water, and then count the seconds it takes to feel the cold as painful, that is your pain threshold. Next wait to see how much time it takes until the pain of the cold forces you to remove your hand from the water. This point tells you what your pain tolerance is.
The article goes on to tell us that it is thought that the threshold for most pains in much the same for all (human) individuals. That is, most (or all) humans wil feel the cold at about the same time. The similarity of pain threshold holds true for all types of physical pain: acute or chronic, heat or cold, or any of the other manifestations of pain.
The difference between people comes primarily, if not totaly, from their individual pain tolerances. Peole who have a high tolerance for pain might be thoguht of as stoics, and their stoical nature might allow them to leave their hand in theice water for a long time; people with a low pain tolerance might jerk their hand back at the first contact with ice.
Once you've grasped that, relate this to animals. There are many ramifications across the board here; I just want you to understand the basic concepts here for if and when it applies to your dealings with and/or observations of your pet(s).
Remember animals are quite stoic. Let's think in terms of your average "pet" (i.e. not a Galapagos Island tortoise that lives over 100 years). Most dogs and cats do not live over, say, 20 years of age. This means that their breeds and in fact their species overall evolves at a much faster rate than the human species. Survival of the fittest, only the strongest survive, is the order of the day and has been for millenia. The "dog" may have changed a lot since your basic wolf was roaming around, but his basic traits and tendencies have not. One of these has to do with disguising the fact that there is a weakness there, which is quite often due to injury and would be obviously displayed by signs of "pain" such as yelping, wincing, limping, whining, crying, gasping, and the like. It's very dangerous to display this, to go the bathroom, to eat, mate or be otherwise distracted outside - let down your guard and SWOOP! the large bird of prey / cheetah / gator / coyote / etc gets you THAT FAST. It's over. One's natural enemy in the wild is often also a hunter and predator, not just someone who stumbles along and goes Oh! Puppy for Breakfast! They have to outsmart parents, herd members, wind patterns, open spaces, defensive stances and techniques, etc.
Even when we do a Consult and we point out to your dog that he should "let the vet know" or "show Mommy" where it hurts, their instinct will dictate otherwise when it comes down to it. (Plus who wants to hone right on in on a painful area? Ick.) It can't hurt to go over it with them and has often made a difference, as I've heard back from owners, but make sure that the "physical" is well covered.
It is a very ingrained fact and observation of mine that if a pet isn't to some degree an "imp", there's somethin' wrong! All animals like to get into a little mischief here and there, whether or not they choose to show you that side. Let 'em! Let it be safe for them to be an imp! Bring it out in them, in fact! Play with them, rough-house a bit, hide their toy, be mischievous yourself. But don't:
...take it to the point where they spin out of control and "short-circuit" to where you're now the evil forest predator or something. They only feel confused, ashamed or otherwise bad afterwards and this type of incident can also prevent them from wanting to play as much afterwards. You would not intentionally overwhelm a child while playing, think in terms of playing with a child. Note if and when they get "serious", and lighten it up.
...overkill with discipline. You have your own code of discipline worked out in your household; all I'm asking is that you evaluate each instance separately. If the dog gets into the trash when he knows he's not supposed to, and has that impish look on his face, don't scream and yell and carry on in hopes that this will instill in them such horror that they'll never do it again. This is overkill and will smash them in to "how bad they are" and that's difficult for them to get over. They don't feel they can ever make it up to you, and no one likes to feel ashamed - especially over a minor violation when being playful and impish. Heck, they may never want to play again! Normal household discipline (and/or actual training you might do with them) will sort things out. Also real live communication with them about boundaries, what's OK for them to get into and what's not, etc., sometimes works wonders. Again, each case is different but watch it. Think in terms of a child ~ they do learn, and they innately try to do what's right. And they're allowed a little mischief once in awhile.
Treasure these moments. They are priceless. Who else can throw a bone in the air, growl at it as if it were the most evil thing in the world, pounce on it and then proudly strut across the room with their "kill" - all with such unbelievable cuteness? If your animal has ever been ill or moody or bored, or you were apart from them for a bit, you may have noticed you missed these moments. Call on that and treat each day as a new and exciting day with your beloved animal.
Give them "wins"! If all they can do is catch the treat 5 times out of 25, each time is a BIG DEAL. GOOD BOY!
(a) What the animal has to say is of primary importance to me, and whatever he says is true is what is true for him and is what is understood and acknowledged. And acknowledgements are very, very important. Inattention can be devastating. They are there and they are important and what they say to you means something. Even if you don't understand it, they need to know that you're trying and you care. If Peter Rabbit is suddenly staring at you from his cage quite intently and you have no idea why, you can always say, "Wow! Well, OK! I'm so glad you told me about that!" and he should be quite satisfied with just that. What they get out of that is that they caught your attention (which is a great ability for them to be able to do so, remember), you stopped what you were doing, you took the time to listen, you understood as well as you could, and you let them know that you got that they told you something and that this made an impression on you.
One of the most common "problems" I've found, rather routine actually, is the owner constantly evaluating for their pet or "putting words in their mouth". How would you feel if everything you said was re-worded for you? If every gesture you made was interpreted for you, and half the time it was wrong? What if you were powerless to stop this? We humans can always say, "No, I'm not interested in that right now!" "Actually, I didn't like Susie next door and don't want to go visit her again." "No, when I tilted my head, it wasn't because I was concerned about your health, actually, I was trying to tell you that I want more tuna fish." Yet pet owners constantly misinterpret their animal companion's gestures and sounds and the animal has to sit by and listen to all of this as it's relayed to other humans in the vicinity. Being good-natured, they generally just roll with it and wait patiently for the human to stumble onto something more accurate.
Yep, we have all done this with animals and that's not to say it's necessarily malicious but it's an area all people should be cognizant of. It's important that you adopt (or maintain) the outlook that you should treat animals as you would like to be treated, and that your preconceived ideas of what they're saying in any given situation is not necessarily what they're saying at all. People are a lot more spot-on than they think, it's just they're not necessarily always correct in their assessment of what animal gestures and sounds mean. Exercise a bit more caution from this point on and see what happens with your animal. Your animal companion will get used to this just like they got used to not being understood in general by humans, and once the communication door is opened for them, sometimes there's no turning back for them. They're hooked - so do the best you can!
(b) You may have noticed that people can be quite judgmental. In the news today you will find a lot of to-do about "profiling". Society's awareness has risen dramatically with regards to how individuals label each other.
This extends to other parts of life as well, such as different species. People tend to think of an animal as some sort of "lesser" being, ignoring that fact that they are beings just like us - no different. They occupy a different type of physical body and as such there are physical limitations, but society has come to recognize in humans that this is only a setback or handicap, and we have worked around this to the benefit not only of the handicapped but society overall. These are not necessarily limitations, and the same concept should exist between species. The Animal Kingdom has a lot to teach us and a lot to be admired.
Treat animals with dignity and respect. The pigeon and the field mouse like to feel (and are) as important and beautiful as your own kitty. You may not have a lot of dealings with a variety of animals but when your paths cross, keep this in mind.
(c) Animal beings need to be able to have, isolate, communicate and act on / fulfill their own purpose. This is not (necessarily) the purpose you have decided upon for them. This is their purpose. If they are "bred to show", this may or may not be their own purpose. Their purpose may be to help human offspring who smell unhealthy and who emotionally feel tragic. In our terms, this would be, oh, perhaps visiting cancer kids and cheering them up. If this is not workable because you cannot or will not do this, or there is no suitable facility which allows canine visitors, or your dog's personality, as a dog, is not suitable for this, or whatever, fine, but we should come up with some alternative that the dog feels good about, including but not limited to, he gets to visit sick grown-ups, or he now accompanies you when you walk your little girl to school, or you need to go buy a window sill hanging "bed" thing in the nursery for the cat to laze around in so that she feels she now gets to subtley watch and thereby supervise all diaper changes with the new baby. Kitty may wish to be allowed to sniff all things child before your kids go to bed (their laundry, their schoolbooks) or to be included in the nightly Saying Goodnight ritual. It's not the "same" thing, but at least your pet can feel that they are supervising or contributing to Health of Children or Children's Good Cheer, or whatever. Your fish may wish for the tank to be in a different location so they can watch Daddy work on the computer. The sweet little lovebird may wish to be positioned differently in order to be able to now look out a different window so that they can be Verrry Scary when they see "predators" out there, thereby doing their part to protect the home.
Some can be trained to better fulfill their purpose. Here's an example I read about recently. It's US press (I'd already heard about it) but I stumbled upon a South African article about it, as the pet's getting a award down there for what they did!
(By the way, can you imagine if all dogs of Diabetics had such training??)
Canine Good Citizen training, Search and Rescue, blood hounds training, visiting sick kids, the elderly or educational institutions are all good uses of your dog's time and energies, if they're into it. (And just like anyone else, sometimes these activities need to be explored before the animal can say for sure. They may voice being interested but may not do well with the training. They may excel at the training but not "work out" at the activity (this has not happened,from my experience, when they're consulted about things as you go along, but it could conceivably happen).
I don't need to beat the whole point to death; I think you've got it. Just - remember that your pet's purpose can be light or "heady" and intense, it can be figured out already by them or not, it may never be figured out or cared about, it can be already blunted or invalidated, or it could be right there under the surface just waiting for them to blurt out excitedly so that they can Get Started!
You are already sending information to your animal when you think and say things. TV, radio, other people, phone messages, all this is heard. A household pet is quite used to the fact that the humans do all the thinking and worrying and so on in life and can be quite content to let this be the case. That does not mean that they don't pick up on things. A great example exists in my own household: how many times have I had the fleeting thought, Well, I guess I'll take Fox out for a walk in the next few minutes and Zing! he jerks his head and is suddenly staring very intently at me, body rigid and borderline trembling...he can barely contain himself...is Mommy going to do it? Is she? Is she? Ay yay yay! If I had any chance of not taking that walk, well, that passed! Out we go!
This includes worries about their health, or "disappointments" in them. Real life example: a dog was recently placed in a new home and was trying desperately to fit in. She was worried that they wouldn't want her and she'd end up somewhere else again. This was not the case, but the fear was very real for her and the wound of relocation and rejection (an earlier household) was recent. When I saw her, she was quite sad. I found out from her that the other day she had been laying in bed with child of the household (who loves her a lot) and he threw a toy of some sort and when she didn't retrieve it for him, he was disappointed and had a fleeting thought (which he may or may not ever remember!) about wishing she'd do that, it'd be nice if this dog did that kind of thing. Well, that got to her. A lot. She became very unstabilized and scared to the point of a nervous stomach. She was sure she was a disappointment to them and would soon be in another home, doomed to yet more disappointed humans.
It was not at all difficult to handle. It involved letting her know that I got what happened, helping her through that upset, some reassurances from "Aunt Julie" (which I was free to offer as I know the family and knew that they were not going to get rid of her), and also I made sure the family knew to keep reminding her that she was NOT going anywhere and she was definitely now a permanent part of their household. All's well now and it was an "easy fix" but if overlooked could have led to a myriad of physical and mental conditions and one continuously unhappy pooch!
Here's another real life example of animal sensitivity to things. I heard that a dog was going to be flying into town in a few weeks and that I would be meeting with him and his family to go over a few household things. I contacted him prior telepathically just to introduce myself and say Hi. No sooner did he realize that someone could hear him than I was barraged with fears about being on an airplane. Now, get this: his exact fears stemmed from two things ~ a movie that he'd seen (someone had watched it) and I mean I got the exact movie, it was "Executive Decision" with Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal, and from all the tidbits he'd heard about since 9-11. Yep, somehow he'd meshed the two into a fear of flying, as a dog, in an airplane, as he already knew somehow that animals usually flew in crates in the cargo hold, and he had decided that the cargo hold equaled "terrorists" (his definition of this being "men in airplanes with long guns") because in the movie there were men with long guns below where the passengers were. The 9-11 influence had to do with "terrorists" in general and how bad they are, and that there were airplanes involved. So to him, this meant that "men with long guns" would be in the cargo hold and he'd be stuck in a crate, cowering for fear of discovery, completely at their mercy. He was terrified that they'd lurk about and sooner or later inevitably get around to noticing him in the crate, helpless. Beyond that, nothing had been "thought out"; he wasn't thinking about 9-11, about passengers, about heights above the ground, about crashing, nothing one might think as a "human". Though we know it to be misguided, it was a very exact fear which was simply being in the crate, knowing they were there, and no one to save him. No different than a child's nightmare in its ferocity if irrationality.
It was easy to handle this with him and he calmed right down and never worried about it from that point on. From then on he wasn't exactly looking forward to the flight, but was still looking forward to getting it over with already, which was quite a brave step for him to decide. In fact, by all reports, he flew fine and was afterwards quite "mellow and calm" (which I verified with him and we both knew to be actually just relieved) when it was all over.
This is not to say that you have to walk around on glass or can't watch movies or discuss current events! Simply recognize that an animal can tune in to you and to what's happening around them, and try always to maintain an even keel for them, a stable environment, cater to their "Creature of Habit" ways, don't rock their boat too much, and be sensitive to their fears. Be calm and in control and reassuring whenever possible ~ it makes a huge difference in their outlook toward survival and life!
SPECIAL NOTE ON PEEING ISSUES
The problem could be protest (click here for an actual example, but come back to this page!), physical problems or discomfort, or quite often a health issue such as bladder, urethra, vaginal, penile, kidney etc infections or inflammation, problems leftover from spaying/neutering even after a long time, a cyst or other lump pressing into a related area, or undiagnosed or untreated illness, especially but not limited to Diabetes (the word is a link to another page all about that one subject ~ Diabetes for canines and felines). This combined with the stimulus-response of the odors left behind by their (or another's) peeing (including those odors we can't smell), and it can be a rough road.
It can SEEM to be "intentional" and they will, in fact "not change their bad behavior" about the matter until the problem is put right. And NO, that doesn't mean they're "bad". They're HAVING A HARD TIME and this is THE way they can communicate it effectively. And yes, sometimes they really, really CAN'T help it.
This article (click here) may be relevant and is certainly worth investigating. Do NOT depend on what your cat "tells you". If they've got an ailment, it can be more obvious to them than if they've got an illness. They may not know they have Diabetes, for example, just that "pee everywhere". All the talk in the world won't help the matter.
Actual case / perfect example
I have a client who's an on-air reporter with a crazy and varying schedule. We scheduled Consults with her cat as wel could. He was elderly and eventually passed on. She later got another cat from someone who had a life change and needed someone to take their male 7- or 8-year old cat. I'll call the kitty Fritz. Fritz came into her life Feb 2005. We did an Initial Consult and all was well. Fritz loved his original owner but understood what had occurred and was appreciative of being taken in.
By May 2005 she had sent me an first email about a problem with peeing, "...he has been peeing under my dining table and in the bathroom outside the box. ... wanted to see if there was something we could do about it." In June she mentioned an imminent planned move, so we figured this could have been something he picked up on which shook him up a bit or something. By Sept other changes had occurred including the July move and a new guy perhaps in her life. An email came, "Fritz starting peeing outside his box ... it's completely not OK." By the end of Sept the "at wit's end" started to enter in to her comm to me.
We had been working on Fritz' peeing here and there, with her trying a few things. On an ongoing basis, I was under the impression health had been ruled out. I was under the impression as well that things became stable in Fritz's environment, as he had done surprisingly well during the move and the adjustment to their new digs.
As would happen, there'd be a big problem, we'd talk then I wouldn't get any feedback on things and things were left hanging at my end, to a degree. From an email I sent her: "I was thinking about him and touched over his way, and he simply had nothing to offer with regards to the subject of 'peeing outside the box' ... it all seemed unreal to him. So either he's not doing it anymore , or it's such a habit now that it doesn't occur to him to notice one way or the other (doubtful) or he's just so "response"-y over whatever the trigger is, that there's no comm'ing about it - it just happens, like a reaction to something but it's longer-range (that is, not like a "reaction" like if you drop a plate and he jumps, but more like being reactIVE as an operating condition). Kind of like if someone's allergic to mold but doesn't smell it so has no idea it's there, and the body gets more and more ill, and one wonders why the body or the person doesn't 'know' what the physical Reason is."
Sure, she had a hectic and rather random schedule, and her schedule had gotten crazier of late due to adding a few projects into it, but animals can "go with the flow" a lot more than we sometimes speculate. Each human runs their household however they run it, and the pet gets to know and accept that, much like a child who's been raised up to know their own home life's quirks, normalcies and abnormalcies. To the pet, how their home runs is how their home runs, and that's How Things Are, and they're quite often fine with it.
When Fritz, she and I would talk, he had basically no complaints; when discussing the peeing situation he had an answer for anything that came up (not uncommon, when it's something they can't confront). He had his own particular brand of aloofness (partially cat, partially just good 'ol Fritz, the being), but was cooperative. You and I should remember, pets, like kids (or any of us) can only face, confront, take on, what they can face, confront or take on. Their confront level is uniquely their own. Their "default mode", generally, is loyalty and appreciation, often reflected in and/or accompanied by love. They won't necessarily "point fingers" or even spot that the "reason" they're peeing is because the owner isn't around much. Sept email example: I started cleaning near the box I think last weekend or so, kinda a mini-spring cleaning. Some cat spray stuff in the area, and not sure when it actually started. Then he is deliberatly peeing on this mat I have down to collect the litter which is from this week for sure, after I blocked the area he was spraying in.
This went on for months but her comm to me was very sporadic, just the occasional email about how she couldn't take it much longer etc. Then one day she emailed me that he was diagnosed with Diabetes. Well, there ya go.
It became quite a hardship for her to do his twice-daily injections and she once again was on the fence for quite some time about what to do with him. True, she had not signed on for this and I did not judge her - she did what she did for a living and this was a bit worse than the "average" type of occupation. Nonetheless, I would keep reminding her about Fritz, his side of things, how he was picking up on her vacillation, and eventually, I dialed it up a bit to let her know that this was not good for him. I don't usually get too "personally involved" in someone's life to the extent of telling them What To Do, but this was getting ridiculous. (There are details I'm not bothering to go into here.)
Long story short, he got rehomed in an entirely other state and the peeing all over the place basically stopped - Diabetes or not. He still had nothing unkind to say about her, he also loved and was very appreciative of his new owner, and as was his personality, continued to take things in stride in his life. La-de-dah.
In the course of the logistics to get him re-homed, I found out how little his owner had been home.It was much, much less than I thought. He was not physically neglected or anything like that, but he obviously needed more attention or companionship. Yet when we'd talk with him, he had no real complaints. That was just his easy-going personality.
All this peeing is a classic Diabetes symptom. This could well explain why it wasn't a "think" with him, like, he'd get upset with his owner and then intentionally pee somewhere. Yes, he's DO that, but the two things were intertwined and it gets to the point of chicken or egg? or stimulus or trigger?
DId his body develop Diabetes because of some underlying, long range upset from Fritz's original re-homing to her house when his original owner had to give Fritz up? Was it coming, developing, anyway and this, tied in with his non-optimum living environment (which he had no complaints about since this was just Life As He Knew It), created the "behavior" problem of the peeing?
Moral of the story is - provide them a secure and interesting environment and when there are behaviorial problems, LOOK for the physical behind or contributive to it. Really dig / research / have your vet test and examine them head to toe.
An article in the Aug 2006 Your Dog discusses physical causes of aggression. As a matter of fact, that's the title of the article (by Susan McCullough). In this, she covers some of the acquired causes of canine aggression (which is by the way not just growling, barking or biting, there's a lot more to the concept and definition of "aggression", so this article applies more broadly than it might seem at first blush).
With my own dog Fox, he was having some peeing problems and very, very long story short, he had bladder stones and had to get emergency surgery. Cats can get them, too.... but did Fox tell me this was what it was? Nope! Did he know? Are you kidding? Would YOU know you had 6 Calcium Oxalate stones and one chipped stone in your bladder which were gouging the inner lining and blocking the urethra? Er um I think not. And yeah, he was acting a bit ... ODD. That's how I knew to take him to the vet (who said later that afternoon after completing the surgery, if he had not been brought in that day, he wouldn't have made it or minimally would have ended up in the ER).
The bottom line can be something physical when it comes to behaviorial changes, and, they don't always know what it is. Excerpts: "Veterinary scientists today are learning that canine aggression often isn't always a simple behavior problem but could be a sign that the dog suffers from a medical condition that may be treatable." When a patient's history or signs might imply underlying disease, the doctor orders "a full medical workup, as do many behaviorists. Experts classify medically causd aggression as acquired or congenital. Acquired aggression occurs when the dog develops a condition that has noting to do with his heredity. ... Among the acquired causes of canine aggression are: Pain ... Trauma ... Infections ... Nutrition ... Toxins ... Food Allergies ... Hormones / Low thyroid ... Partial seizures..." (Each has a paragraph or two of information.) A blow to the head can cause changes in a dog's personality. So can ingesting lead. Low thyroid levels in humans can make people anxious and irritable - same goes for dogs. Among the most vulnerable for hypothyroidism are Golden Retrivers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Border Collies and German Shepherds.
But I digress. I think you get the point. And that's just dogs - of course, the above applies to cats, ferrets, birds and hey! humans, too.
Do not underestimate the value of good, clean water. I hear more and more of pets, cats mostly, with renal problems, dying from kidney failure. Well, besides anything else, we humans make them drink tap water! or water that's just filtered with a cheap charcoal filters because that's what tests show that human bodies can supposedly tolerate the results of. Bottled water or reverse osmosis water are far superior to the average tap water (even filtered water). The water is however stripped of minerals so you should make sure your animal has the proper minerals in his diet that he needs, however this is best achieved in your household and under the guidance of your vet and/or any research you do on the matter.
Do a bit of research and find water that has the lowest particle count you can. We've located Icelandic water. Next up seems to be Fiji Water. Check things with your vet, too - I don't know your animal(s)' peculiar needs if such exist, but in your research, get the data and print it out, read it, take it to the vet if you'd like, and think in terms of those little organs your pets have, and the amount of junk these organs have to filter out which would not otherwise be there if humans had not introduced them into the eco-system.
Remember that the kidneys have to work to filter out impurities so give your pet a head start by not giving them (relatively) toxic water (such as tap water) in the first place. Do not fall into the trap of the giggling Oh, well, Rover licks his butt anyway! or FIfi has no problem lapping up gutter water! or Well, they drink toilet/pool/etc water! It's YOUR responsibility to provide what's needed for them and not mistake their "cute habits" for "instinct". Yes, they do instinctively know what they need, they can nose out nutrients, minerals and the like. They also have been known to eat stones and pebbles, drink antifreeze which will kill them, and get otherwise harmed or poisoned by what they ingest. Think: 5 year old child.
Stink Finder Pee detector!
Here's a unique one. I haven't used it as I have no need for it, but a lot of my clients have situations where they're working with their pets to cool it on the inside peeing, and part of it is the owner needing to thoroughly clean (including the odors humans can't smell). This may help with that!
Kitties (and dogs) can get into pee-fests. It's like a broken record. They pee for this or that reason (real or imagined) and once that's smell's down, it's down...and acts as its own stimulus to get them to, well, pee. It's similar to an addict in that they can have the best resolve (I'll be good, I know humans don't like the smell, I no longer wish to ruin the human's possessions, I'm not really jealous of Rover - etc.) but the bombardment of the "pee here!" or "Rover peed here!" or "you peed here once...it's time for another go of it!" makes it difficult for them to not do it again. Remember, where we live is a human-based and -designed residence; their natural habitat is outside.
It's important to get these places cleaned very well with "the enzyme" as I call it (products with this particular enzyme which removes the smell they leave down, the one we can't smell but they can, are available at pet stores, regular markets, online etc) but quite easy to miss all of the spots that one needs to clean.
I saw a product at Petsmart.com, the "Stink-Finder", their item #303145 @ $15.99 at the time of this writing. The direct link to this product is here. The ad line says, "Feline UV Light Stink Finder by Stink Free Products" but of course it's not just for cat urine. I'm sure there are a bunch of other places to get it, just type Stink Finder in a search engine, so shop around to compare prices, shipping, etc., or just call your local pet store to see if they have it, and go get one! I just wanted to make sure that folks know that it is available in the first place, and that it is a good idea, because when the bay-bees are willing to try and stop peeing everywhere, it's important to get all the little places, and fast.
Cat Urine Remover
Go to this page and read/research from there. It at first appears to just be a bunch of links to buy products, but actually it's not. Look at the right frame, there are a lot of info links. The home page, and each of the pages accessed when you click on the links on the right, have information on them as well as ads.
Cat owners know, or should by now, that it's not a good idea to change litter brands on your cat, nor to move the litter box about. We've dealth with it here and there by doing Consults where we go over things with the kitty and let him know why the box needs to be moved this week (renovations in the household, etc)., usually to good result. Pet Communication does have its place and value! But...it's his home, too, and sometimes just talking about it ain't the ticket. It's going to be a combo of that, tracing what changed, ruling out/fixing medical, health and/or comfort issues, a cleaning regimen, and trial and error at your part, including logical discipline.
A client emailed me with what worked in her household. She's got two cats and one of them was doing problem peeing. We'd talk and go over this and that and whenever issues came up they were addressed, and he had a couple of physical things going on as well and we got those resolved, but by then this was a "condition" - just something e was now doing that he was also going into despair about. That is, no amount of "talking about it" stopped him from doing it, even though at his end, he wanted to!
This happens sometimes. The value of the Pet Communication is finding out what is going on (and in many cases, the physical ailments which can be contributing to the situation, so that the ailments can get addressed). If we had not hung in there with him, who knows how things would have turned out?
Now, in the physical universe, the "real world", when it came to the peeing, there were things that the owner had to do as well. She discovered a particular litter which has an herbal substance mixed in which attracts kitties to the litter box. She swears by it.
She had written this of him (and the other cat), "Both he (the cat) & J- (her other cat) really love the new cat litter, with the special herb mixture that attract cats to go in their litter box. In fact, the first week we had it in only in the one litter box we moved from the bedroom, & that whole week they would only go in that litterbox."
I emailed her and asked for details and this is what she sent me:
"This stuff is great.The vet who created it gives helpful hints on what you can do to help problem wetters. it's called Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract www.preciouscat.com 1-877-311-cats".
Just as an fyi - for regular litter usage, a customer recommends this kitty litter just because she liked it, so I'm passing it along:.
Hot news! I just found out about this special Scientific Kitty Litter which helps tell you when your cat might be developing Feline Lower Tract Urinary Disease (FLUTD). Per their magazine ad, "This difficult group of disorders is the most common reason that cats are taken to the vet. The litter changes color when your cat's pH is above normal, a key indicator that your cat might be developing a urinary tract infection. It is ultra light-weight, neutralizes cat box odors, clumps, flushes, and is non-toxic and eco-friendly. Perfect for everyday use, our 3 lbs. bad works like 21 lbs of clay based litter." Here's the direct product link; here is their site home page. The page also offers some information about Bentonite Toxicosis. their phone number is 1-866-738-3265.
You can always go to Planet Urine; their link and some basic info is on my Good Links page. They tout themselves as "THE Pet Urine Specialists" and have specialists you can contact, a variety of products, tips, write-ups and so on.
It's ALL ABOUT REINFORCEMENT. You and I know that it's harder'n'heck to stop doing things that we enjoy, are compulsive, that others don't like, "aren't good for us" - you name it. From a tsk-tsk look from Mommy to "interventions", folks need assistance in the area of stopping things - wrong or right, and that's another subject unto itself. Just.. here... the point is, if we have a talk or two with Doggie or Kitty (or - ) about the subject and they seem to be onboard with changing things, you have to H E L P them in the real world physical universe!!
Sometimes another animal in the household is peeing as well. We've been talking with Bailey and going over and over and over it etc and this never comes up (even if asked Point Blank, I might add). Yup, THAT happens as well - always interesting state of affairs. Seldom do they ever "squeal" on each other. Also doesn't really occur to them it's valuable info (even when one appeals to their sense of reason, I'm worried about you, I'm sick of the pee/poopie, this or that - they just don't natively go Well, it's Rover, actually. Some do and it's not always entirely true. And in many cases, a large part of that is actually that they can't sift/sort their facts as straight as we can and/or would like them to. It's not Rover because.. he did it once and Fifi did it 4 times and then Rover did and.. it blurs. Things just kind of .. "happen".. to and with these guys, a lot of the time. Time slips along and occurrences are often disjointed, well, occurrences, not something they string together as a logical sequence and make conclusions about it. Oh! Fifi's been going and Mommy needs to know that, but.. which time is she referring to?? etc. They can get very literal when questioned. The second after it happened, maybe (and maybe not, depending on Whatever..) but 3 days later? 4 weeks of "it's been a situation for 4 weeks now!" later? Gets kinda hard for them. Methinks pet owners should have nanny cams, huh.
SPECIAL NOTE ON EATING POOP (kitty's - dog's - own)
Why do dogs eat poop? Cats eat grass and then throw up? Can't you get them to stop?! What about licking other's wounds?
Poopie issues: OKAY. Remember now, you're asking a Communicator to answer that. What an animal has give me in the past as a reason for this may not jive with "medical", scientific, health-related or biological speculation. Ask a child why they run into the street, a drinker why they drink, a woman with PMS why dark chocolate's so awesome right 'bout then. Why humans enjoy sex when from a cold hard point-of-view, we could surely have the same reaction as the average child "Ewwww!" (You could say, c'mon, that's obvious: it feels good - well, so does running wildly, to a child; being drunk, to a drunk; etc.)
But it has come up, and I have asked (animals). Whenever asked, they simply do it because they like it, it tastes good, whatever. Heck I've come across a couple of dogs that literally eat rocks. Pebbles 'n' stones. Including having had vet visits over it due to obvious bad results. And they happily continue to do so, even after "talking with them".
It's almost like...asking me to get a kitty to Stop grooming, since doesn't he know that he gets hairballs?!?! Nope, we work around it by giving them hairball goo to ingest, brushing them, and the like. Something like that, it's obvious that one wouldn't ask Aunt Julie to "get them to stop". We all "know" that cats groom themselves. And that for some it results in problems. Well, guess what. Some dogs eat dog/cat poop (including sometimes their own). And some cats will eat grass, throw it up, and then do the same thing either right then or at some later point in time. "Haven't they learned!?"
Maybe there's nothing to learn! except what the humans think about it.
With poop, we're not so forgiving because it smells disgusting and is toxic. Now think about it from a dog's point of view: there's a lot of undigested stuff, and/or dog/cat-food smells in there, and rich stuff which is meant to fertilize the plant kingdom from the animal kingdom. There's a definite symbiosis there between the Animal and Plant Kingdoms, so why wouldn't it be attractive to dogs from THEIR point of view and sensations? (Despite how it grosses we humans out. Humans.). I mean, I've seen it in lots of dogs, heck, once in awhile when out with Fox he'll stop, get this weird glazed look in his eye and start to fallllllllover sideways...and that's my cue to MOVE him right away cuz he's nosedivin' in to sumpin stinky! But see to them, there's nothing wrong with or about it. They're members of the Animal Kingdom and things like butt sniffing and trash eating and so on, aren't "wrong" to them. We giggle and cough nervously and pat ourselves on the back when we "come to terms with" and socially"tolerate" things like butt sniffing. But they don't just do it by accident and then go, "Oh, OK, well, I'm okay with that. I'm not embarrassed. And it sure won't happen again." They want to do it, or they wouldn't happen to do such things. They GET something out of all these things. Okay, we don't..well, they do. Data. Sensations. Pleasure. Substenance. They're ANIMALS, not humans, and their bodies are different than ours, including what its driven toward, attracted to, needs, responds to, etc.
My dog Fox Mulder once went through a brief period of...well, I'd look over and notice that his face was in the cat box. I was like ExCUUUUUUUUUUSE me? and he kinda went...ulp! <g> but I didn't make him feel "bad"...but he did learn that it wasn't acceptable to Mommy cuz humans think it's stinky and ga-ga, and then he'd wanna kiss me Yum!, and I wasn't into that. And I made sure that I got across to him something of actual value (as contrasted to What Mommy Likes and Doesn't Like which can be arbitrary), that I figure there are toxins and things in there that kitty's body couldn't use and so probably were Bad for Puppy's Body! etc and after a few times he stopped.
Later, he was diagnosed as a dog who's prone to making those dangerous Calcium Oxalate Stones and we had to change his diet. After that, he got unduly interested in, well, anything edible under the sun, moon and stars (since he was over 7 when we changed his diet so he was heartily upset about not being able to eat the things he used to..) and one of the things that changed with him is he's now verrrry interested in kitty's litter box. He can't help it. Mommy's made it real clear. Hey - just the other day I looked up and he was chomping on something and I was like.. Huh? as there was nothing laying around for hin to eat. He was chawin' away. I saw brown and realized.. and he was standing by the litter box. This was right in front of Mommy. I just went, Fox?! and AHUM. The piece'o'poop literally plopped right out of his mouth (it was all I could do to not laugh my head off at that picture). He walked away.. what else could I do with it? He's easy to "bust".. if he walks by the litter box and pauses and stares into it (and I'm there to see this), I AHEM and he glances up at me and scurries off. If I'm not around? Well...
I can't blame him, per se, as his whole world got rocked and his body chemistry changed and so on. And fortunately, he's a pretty cooperative guy. But would and will he do it again, left on his own? Sure! Because he has needs, desires, and habit patterns - some combo of them.
Why do they do it? That's why he does it. Because it Tastes Good. There's undigested cat food, there's yummy earthy organic smells and substances in there. To him it's not yucky, it's yummy.
Your dog? Who knows? Probably some variation of that.
We eat foods and know we need to supplement with vitamins and minerals. We know there are nutrients missing. They can't depend on reading articles and hearing tv ads and doctor visits, they have to go with their gut to some degree, and, they can't go to CVS or GNC or whoever and buy supplements, so they have to be able to naturally and instinctively know how to "nose out" substances which contain something or other that they need.
You say, yes, but if they're so "instinctively smart", why do they lick antifreeze? or eat poisionous flowers? and other not-getting-the-point arguments. Hey, if left on our own, we all do incorrect things, make erroneous choices. They're doing the best they can. They often live longer under the human world's care, same as we do nowadays (longer life spans). (They also develop ailments they didn't as frequently before, due to eating our version of what they need e.g. processed foods. Hey - so do we! We've now got tons of "diabetics" and "Alzheimer's cases" and, well, cancer running rampant etc. Didn't use to be so. Then again, they don't live as long in the wild, either ... and, we didn't last as long earlier on either, pre-antibiotics etc.)
Now, I've read up on it all over the place. There seems to be no one good answer. Someone recently suggested some "psych" thing about who was Alpha, and all that (sigh). This has nothing to do with it as if so, all "Alphas" would eat poop. None others would. Now, chemistry-wise, my OPINION OPINION OPINION - not from any one thing I've read about the subject (the poopie subject, anyway) is: I think it's minerals, m'self - yup, nutrients (such as in the undigested parts of the cat food) and minerals. Well, for the most part....a person (being - animal in this case) can be compulsive about anything, that's no big deal, and/or they just love the taste. But with grass, the minerals / nutrients connection's not a stretch (and a deficiency in one or the other or both can surely cause cravings, "compulsive" behavior, irrational behavior, etc. which they won't be able to "sanely" answer questions about
I've read about that, and folks nod their head wisely and go, Hmmm. Plants have minerals. Grass has minerals. Guess kitty needs grass. Hmm. And they throw it up because (fill in the blank. I've read a lot of "reasons", some good, some bad.) I don't know for certain. I did see a product advertised that you can feed your pet so that his poop supposedly is no longer desireable for others to eat. Check out this link For-Bid, and check with your vet. I can't vouch for its efficacy or for what it does or does not do to the pet ingesting it. I mean, it's obviously something in the poop they're wanting to eat and which smells so good to them.
I also used to add trace minerals to his (their) water. Some homeopathic trace minerals I got once from a chiro, odorless & tasteless. That's just me. Part of that is Fox wouldnt touch dog vites in any form, no matter how "Yummy!" they were. (Now he can't have them anyway.) I figured hmmmm I'll try this, at least (especially since all bottled water has minerals stripped out of it and I'd never give him tap water if at all possible to avoid it). I use an eye dropper to put 2 drops into a water bottle those 12 oz or whatever they are (and I refill it using Reverse Osmosis water, I've got a filter by my sink for that) to save money, and that's the water they get. [That or Penta water (without minerals) or Icelandic (lowest particle count of any water I've found).] Anyway, the 2 drops is my "arbitrary" but that's what I'd do, and the dog and cat would lap the stuff up and were happy with it. I never paid attention to the timing on it but prior to his surgery - his earlier patterns, perhaps that's the physical reinforcement of why Fox stopped raiding the kitty pantry, so to speak. Similar to talking to a cat who won't use the litter box and they agree to knock it off, but the smells of the affected areas taunt them and you then have to reinforce thier Good Intentions with lots of cleaning with enzyme cleaners and so on!
(And hey, he still likes to roll in stink if possible, so I and the dog walkers just make sure it's not possible.)
The point is, he got interested for a bit, I added some minerals and chastised him for eating the poop, he got bored with that, knocked it off. He only later in life resumed it because of a chemical change we humans ran on 'im, and I'm just working with it. I use MSG on kitty's poop (same thing as in the Coprophagia remedies and the vet pointed out it's cheaper) and it's helped some.
IF he had an issue about it, I'd take it up with him. If your pet has an issue with it or an issue causing it as "behavior", we can see what they have to say about it. REMEMBER , to THEM, it's not "yucky", it's "yummy". To most of them.. there ARE variances!
You can try a web search for links such as this: http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_PoopEating.php.
REGARDING EATING GRASS AND THROWING UP, everyone's an expert, it seems. Only certain things actually pan out, only certain datums are or seem logical. I do have this little write-up about it on a separate page... I only mentioned it here in the title part of the section you just read as it's "normal" to them or instinctive to them, and they get something out of it that outweighs the puking, or they wouldn't do it, so the concept is a lot like the "poop eating" one.
UNITED WE STAND.
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