After fighting – How to Separate Your Cats for Safety and a Fresh Start.

There are two reasons that one of your cats may attack or bully another cat in the household that may come as a surprise to you – one has to do with a cat who was bothered by something else, but takes it out on the unfortunate soul who happens by at the wrong time, the other one – involves the effect a cat who has just visited the vet may have on the cat waiting at home.

Listen to Raising Your Paws Podcast episode 50, to hear about these reasons and what to do.

How to Effectively Separate Fighting Cats.

Anytime aggression breaks out suddenly between your cats, where there were no problems in the past, you’ll want to determine the cause –whether, its resource guarding of food or litter boxes (podcast episode 49) or things called redirected aggression and non-recognition aggression – (explained in podcast #50 above) or even a medical issue. Always and foremost, if one cat becomes uncharacteristically aggressive towards another, there could be a medical reason behind the behavior. Your cat may be in pain and that can make anyone irritable – so have cat checked out by the vet.

If the reason cat A was upset about a strange cat in the yard, but ambushes Cat B, or if Cat A attacks Cat B because he just came back from the doctor and smells icky, you’ll first want to separate the cats into different rooms to prevent further fighting and keep everyone safe.

Create a safe room, one that can be closed off, to place one of the cats or if you can, place each in their own separate rooms with doors. Set up the safe room(s)  with everything the cat needs: litter box, food, water, toys, scratching post, vertical space and good sleeping places. If you are going to have to leave one cat loose in the house and the other one in a den or bedroom, to figure out which cat should go into the safe room, there are two thoughts about this. If one of the cats was definitely, the aggressor, so that the cat does not get the perception that she ran off the other one, and is now the winner of the best territory – the rest of the house, place that cat in the safe room. If the victim cat, the one that got ambushed, appears nervous or stressed and tends to hide under things instead of enjoying the run of the house, place that cat in the closed off room.

Spend equal time with each cat, give plenty of attention and play time to both. This is not, nor should not feel like punishment for the cat placed in the den. The cats will stay apart for a number of days. Research shows that after an episode of redirected aggression the cats can remain agitated for up to two days after the incident. The point of the separation is to first, of course, prevent injury but to allow the cats to calm down and relax. Eventually when everyone calms down and goes back to their normal activities of eating, grooming, using their boxes, etc., while in their separate spaces,  then you can re-introduce them to each other.

If the spat happened recently and was not severe, and you were able to separate the cats immediately, then the time they need apart, won’t be very long however if the original fight happened a number of day in the past and they’ve been fighting ever since, then it’s going to be a longer, more gradual process before they can be together again and you’ll want to utilize what is known as a formal “reintroduction.” This is based on the principal that you will introduce them to each other in the same way you would as if this was the first time they had ever met. More about this in a future podcast episode.  If you haven’t subscribed yet to the podcast, now is a good time to do it. It’s free, and you will never miss an episode.


Raising Your Paws podcast Episode 50 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Making the Crate More Enjoyable For Your Dog & Why Cats Returning From the Vet Get Attacked By the Cats at Home.

Have you noticed that when a few dogs are walking or playing together, if one pees or marks a spot outside, than the other dogs will come over and mark the same spot? Why do dogs do this? I’ll explain how this is serious business in the canine world.

Next, talking to dog trainer, Katie-K-9 about dog crates, find out the answers to what the best kind of crate to get is, wire or plastic, what you can do to help your dog enjoy their time in the crate, and how to know when it’s time for the dog to be left out of the crate at home alone.

If you live with multiple cats and have had one cat suddenly become aggressive with or bully another cat, there are two surprising causes you’ll want to know about. One type of aggression has to with the cat who had simply been sitting and looking out the window and the other may happen when one cat comes home from the vet. I’ll explain the reasons these things can provoke aggression and how to fix it.

Let us know what you think about the podcast or the blog articles. Please leave your comment at the end of this blog article (episode, number 50) above, and win a few free bags of our cat or dog treats.

Additional Resources for the Show.

Amazon link to the source for the story about dog’s marking behavior. “Why Does My Dog Do That” by Sophie Collins.

Katie K-9’s Website.

Katie -K-9

Listen to Katie K-9’s shows on demand.

Amazon link to the source for the story about reasons for aggression in cats. “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett



What to Expect When Your dog Becomes a Teenager.

If your puppy is between 6 – 8 months old, (11 months or older in larger breeds) you may have noticed its behavior has changed – from being  cute, compliant, and quiet, to being rebellious, noisy, and rule-breaking. What’s happened, is your dog has become a teenager.

In this episode of Raising Your Paws podcast, hear about the normal, but challenging changes that may occur in your canine adolescent. Then in the blog below, find out about another thing your pooch may start doing – guarding its food – something that he had never done before as a puppy and what to do about it.

Episode 49 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Reasons Cats Bully other Cats & Why Your 8 Month old Puppy Seems to Forget all Its Manners & Training.

Does one of your cats bully other cats in the house hold? When human bullies torment other people, it seems like the reasons for doing so, is that they take delight in picking on others. Bullying cat’s behavior may look the same –torturing and attacking others, but the reasons are very different and specific to being a feline. I’ll explain a few of most common reasons a cat may turn into a bully.

Then, continuing the conversation with animal communicator, Tim Link, author of “Talking with Dogs and Cats: Joining the Conversation to Improve Behavior and Bond with Your Animals, he shares the three steps he uses to “talk” more deeply with dogs and cats. Keeping an open mind, you can learn how to do this as well to increase the bond with your pet. Plus, you’ll hear the story about the dog who was eating socks, and paper clips and how Tim helped him to stop in addition to how Tim helps solve the number one behavior issue people call him about regarding cats and likewise for dogs.

Has your sweet, quiet, cuddly, obedient puppy who used to respond to everything you asked, changed overnight into a disobedient, counter surfing, stealing, creature, who runs away from you and seems to have forgotten all its training? There’s a very normal, inevitable reason for this that’s part of your dog’s developmental stages. I’ll reveal what this is, and offer some tips to help you deal with the behavior changes.

If you have any in-depth questions or want to share your stories about anything you heard on the show, please write me at or leave me a comment at the end of this blog article.

Additional Resources for the Episode.

Source for the story about cats who bully – “Cat Wise” by Pam Johnson-Bennett and “How to Speak Cat,” by Aline Alexander Newman & Gary Weitzman, D.V.M.

Get in touch with Tim Link through his website.

Tim Link

Order Tim’s books.

Sources for the story about when your puppy becomes an adolescent: “Why Does My Dog Do That?” By Sophie Collins and “The Other End of the Leash” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.

What to do if Your Teenage Dog Starts Guarding it’s Food.

Your adolescent may become more protective over possessions – showing some resource guarding behaviors that did not exist before. Resource guarding means the dog is feeling possessive about what’s his. Could be its food or toys. And if your pup now perceives you as a threat – thinking you may want to eat out of his food bowl, or take and keep her favorite hedgehog toy, she may be fully prepared to give you a strong warning, meaning, “don’t even try to move in on this” by growling, snapping, or snarling, at you. This is NOT a desirable way for your teenager to assert herself. It’s very different from the “Keep Out” sign that a human 12 year old places on the door to their room.

You don’t want your dog to get into the habit of being defensive around its food and there are things you can do to deal with the issue of the guarding, but first a word about growling.

Remember a growl is a warning. Warnings are good things – they alert you to what could come next. Never push your dog to act on it – from a dogs point of view he has given you fair warning not to come closer and if you ignore him, he may feel compelled to take the next step and snap or bite.  So back off from your dog when she growls – then you can deal with the reason she growled. Many people get upset at their dogs for growling, thinking its bad, in and of itself,  and punish the dog for the growl.  Think about this though, don’t you want to know if your dog is feeling so threatened by something that they are ready to bite to defend themselves? You WANT your dog to warn you that the next thing coming is most likely the bite.

Listen to the podcast episode where I talk about the importance of the growl, and the reasons you don’t want to punish this away in Raising Your Paws podcast episode number 015.

The growl is not the problem to solve – its what’s behind it. If the reason for the growl is because your adolescent dog is now guarding its food from you, where they weren’t before, its time to start some food exchange exercises or bring them back and do them again, if you originally used them with your young puppy.

If you have multiple dogs at home, your  growing puppy may even test his ranking in the pack, by approaching another dog’s food. This little experiment is likely to earn him an abrupt lesson in both manners and status by the other dog. As long as the older dog just gives a warning or an injury free correction, like a small nip, let it be. Hopefully, the bold teenager, will have just learned its lesson and leave the other dog’s food bowls alone. If not, and the pup keeps barging in to the point that serious fights break out, feed the trouble maker separately and you may want to consult with a trainer for how to deal with this going forward.


Breaking Up Dog Fights and Identifying Healthy Dog Play.

What are you suppose to do if your dog gets into a serious dog fight? When dogs fight, our response may be, first, to scream and yell at them, thinking this will stop them. Then, even though it goes against common sense, people do get injured when they try to use their hands to break the dogs apart. Find out why yelling is useless, and what you CAN do to try and break up the fight without risking your life and limbs.  All here, in the Raising Your Paws podcast episode below. Then in the following blog article, you’ll find a list of the 8 signs that indicate the dogs that are roughhousing, are actually playing happily.

Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 48 – Finding Lost Pets, Stories from an Animal Communicator & How to Break Up Dog Fights.

Full Show Notes for Episode 48.

When your dog catches sight of that rabbit and runs off for the chase does your pet ignore you as you call for them to come back and act like they don’t hear you? I’ll explain this phenomenon.

Then, has your pet ever suddenly started acting differently, you can’t understand why or what to do to help and you just wished they could just tell you what’s wrong? Many people have gotten their answers through animal communicators. My guest is Tim Link, an animal communicator, who specializes in missing or lost pet cases. Hear his stories of how together with the dogs and cats, behavioral issues were solved and lost animals returned back home.

What can you do to stop a dog fight? There are a few physical interventions that are recommended, but more practical and useful are a number of tools you can carry with you that dogs will find aversive or offensive to their senses and are strong enough to stop the behavior. In this episode, I’ll list what they are.

Regarding animal communication if you have any stories of times your dog or cat understood things you’ve said that seem impossible and/or felt your pet actually communicated messages and talked back to you, I’d love to hear them. Write me at or leave a comment in the space below after the blog article.

Additional Resources for the Show:

Source for the story about why your dog ignores you at times – “Why Does My DOG Do that? By Sophie Collins.

Tim Link

Tim Link’s website.

Amazon link to order Tim’s book, “Talking with Dogs and Cats: Joining the Conversation to Improve Behavior and Bond with Your Animals”.

Amazon link to order “Wagging Tails, Every Animal has a Tale” by Tim Link.

Source for the story about how to stop a dog fight – “Play with Your Dog, by Pat Miller, CPDT, CDBC.

Source for the citronella dog spray, Direct Stop Spray Shield.

(Correction: I had the name of the company wrong in the podcast  – not

Blog Article – What Healthy and Happy Dog Play Looks Like.

Perhaps you’ve seen two dogs at play and all seems well, but then, the play turns aggressive and all of a sudden they’re fighting. Do you know what healthy one-on-one dog play should look like?  Here are the signs that tell you the two dogs are playing happily together and also how to know if it’s time to stop the play session and move the dogs along.

1. There are play-bows.  Play bowing is the body language dogs use to communicate their intention and what will happen next. A dog that play bows to another dog means, let’s play and what I do next, is meant only as play.

2. There will be frequent, short breaks in the activity. If the play becomes frenetic, and continuous, this can be a sign that the playtime is ramping up out of control.

3. The vocalizations of the dogs, such as grunting or growl sounds, will stay in a middle range of tone and pitch. “If one dog’s vocalizations begin to get lower and lower or higher and higher in pitch and more frantic in tone, a fight is in the making.”  (from “Through a Dog’s Eyes” by Jennifer Arnold.)

4. The dogs will exhibit open mouths, loose tails and the force of the bites they give each other, are inhibited and do not cause any damage or yelping.

5. The play is fair and the dogs take turns – reversing their roles. One dog is the chaser and then becomes the one chased – one dog does the biting first and then is the one bitten or being mouthed, etc. The roles do not have to be a perfect balance of 50 -50%, as long as both dogs seem be happy in their roles.

6. Each dog is respecting the body language signals of the other. If one dog is constantly trying to run or get away and the other dog is not allowing it, this situation is becoming unhealthy and you’d want to end the interaction. Time to distract the dogs.

7. If one dog is clearly stronger or bigger than the other, the stronger dog will handicap itself. For example, if a older, stronger  dog plays with a young fragile puppy, it is polite and correct for the older dog to use less power while playing with the youngster. If a stronger dog, needs to control itself around a weaker one, but fails to do so, this is indicative of unfair play and you’ll want to stop it.

8. Play does not become overly vertical. In normal dog play, they often rise up on their back legs and wrestle chest to chest with each other. However if this type of vertical play keeps increasing in intensity and duration, this can quickly turn into a fight, so keep your eye out for too much of it.

We’d LOVE to know what you think about the podcast and or this blog. Please leave your comments below. Or you can always write me at

How to Become Your Dog’s Leader.


047. Being Your Dog’s Leader: A Technique for Out-of-Control Behavior & Is Eating Grass Good or Bad for Dogs?


Full show notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast – Episode 47. 


First, is it good or bad for your dog to eat that wild grass and why do they do it?

Does your dog want to eat the wild grasses that sprout during the spring and summer? Do you let them? There are mixed opinions between dog owners about this. Why do dogs want to eat grass anyway and is it okay for them to eat? We start this episode by asking dog trainer, Katie-K-9 for her opinion.

Then, the leadership technique that will stop your dog from rushing out the front door.

Is your dog in control – rather than you?  For a dog to listen to you, you don’t have to be the Alpha or dominant – you do need to be a good leader. I’ll describe an effective way to handle some of your dogs out of control behavior that uses your body, not the leash, to stop certain movements and that establishes you as the leader in your dog’s eyes.

Plus, a fun kitchen game to play that gets your cat moving.

Want an easy way to give your cat some more exercise in the house? Grab two chairs, some treats and get your cat jumping – I’ll explain how.


Have additional questions about the tips and techniques in the show or would like to share some of your own stories and solutions you’ve found with your pets?  Please write me at


Resources for the episode. 


Katie K-9’s website

Listen to Katie-K-9’s podcasts.

Katie -K-9

Resource for obtaining green tripe for dogs:

Source for story about dog leadership and body blocking: “How to be the Leader of the Pack… and have your dog love you for it” by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.




What to Do for Pet’s Insect Bites.

The summer season can bring out the bugs and bees as you well know, if you’ve been picnicking or dining outside. Where we tend to jump away from the stinging bees, hornets and wasps and shy away from holes and hills of ants or spiders, dogs and cats love to investigate and sniff around the areas these critters tend to congregate and can get bit or stung. Spider bites and bee stings often occur on the faces and front lower legs of our pets because of their inquisitive nature as they stick their noses and paws into all sorts of places they shouldn’t. Spiders tend to bite the softer, less furry areas of your pet, such as their noses and feet.

Don’t worry too much about insect bites on your pets, they are usually not life threatening, UNLESS……, your pet has a severe allergic reaction to the insect or your cat gets bit by a black widow spider. More about that later in the blog.

My dog, Rosy, is HIGHLY allergic to bees. Listen to her story on Episode 46, of the Raising Your Paws podcast.


If your pet has been “gotten” by a bug, you may see him or her paw, lick or scratch at the injury site. Unless you actually witness the bite or sting happening, it can be hard to know exactly why your pet is in discomfort or locate exactly where the bite occurred if it is covered with fur. You can start checking the skin under the fur to look for redness and/or swelling at the bite or sting site and the spot may be painful for your pet.

Extreme swelling, breathing problems, such as gasping, wheezing or gulping for air, excessive salivation, vomiting, and seizures are indications that your pet is having an severe allergic reaction, called anaphylactic shock and this is very serious and must be treated immediately. Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life threatening allergic reaction to a substance where the body’s immune system overacts and floods the body with inflammatory compounds and antibodies that cause the above listed conditions. The reactions can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to the allergen and future reactions can be more severe than the first time. Big time scary, I know.

What to do.

Mild Symptoms – First of all, watch for and treat symptoms as they occur. If your pet was stung, and you can see the stinger, you’ll want to remove it, but use the edge of a credit card or key to lift the stinger up and flick it out. You don’t want to grab the stinger with your fingers or a tweezer as this can inject more of the poison into your dog or cat. Where there is some redness, swelling or apparent discomfort from your pet, you can apply calamine or antihistamine cream that you purchase over the counter at drug stores, to the affected area. You can also administer the oral antihistamine, diphenhydramine, to dogs. You may know this by one of its trade brands names, Benadryl. For cats, chlorpheniramine is often the recommended antihistamine. Call your vet to confirm which one to use for your particular pet and also prior to giving any medication, you’ll need to ask your vet for the correct dosage that will be based on your pet’s weight.

I recommend you always have some of the medication in the house, so you are prepared in case you ever need it. Go to the drug store and buy the generic version to save money. Get the liquid gel caps, pin a safety pin to the back of the box and then when you need the medicine, you can poke a hole in the gel cap and squirt the liquid in your pet’s mouth. Easy and quick way to get the drug into your pet.  Also write your pet’s weight and dosage on the box so you won’t forget this information.

Severe Symptoms – anaphylactic shock.

Call your vet or an emergency clinic right away for what to do while you’re at home (probably you’ll be told to give the oral antihistamine) and then get going- take your pet to an emergency animal clinic as fast as possible.   With my dog, Rosy, who is allergic to bees and wasps, for example, I immediately give her a shot of liquid diphenhydramine (that I got from my vet) followed by a shot of steroids and then I transport her to the emergency vet clinic closest to me, in case there is something else going on. This is the protocol advised by my vet, that I learned to do over the past few years, after a number of increasingly severe reactions by Rosy. It’s a huge relief to know that I can quickly restore her normal breathing, before driving to the emergency clinic. If your pet ever experiences severe reactions –be assured – there are things you’ll learn to do to protect your pet’s life.

Let’s talk about spiders. There is only one species, the black widow spider that is particularly dangerous for cats because felines are very sensitive to their bite. Cats can lose 30% of their body weight in the first 24 hours of a black widow bite and the loss of body fluid can put them into a downward metabolic spiral. You’ll need to get to a vet right away if your cat does get bit by this type of spider. Black widows are found worldwide, in North and South America, Southern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In the United States, they are more common in the southern states, preferring the warmer temperatures throughout the year but they have been spotted as far north as Canada. But don’t freak out, they tend to live in more secluded areas, not urban cities, they are recognizable, where they tend to inhabit is identifiable, and there are ways you can manage keeping your cats away from them.  Here is a link for more information about black widow spiders. Check to see if they are common where you live.


Last thing about the bees and Rosy. I’m going to start teaching her to wear a muzzle this summer. I’d rather have to explain when people see her on walks, that “no, she’s not a threat for biting you” than worrying ever time something flies by, that she’ll snap up another bee, she’s back in crisis and I’ve got to get to the vet – again. Stay tuned for how muzzle training goes.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Episode 46.

Title: The Meaning behind a Cat’s Twitching & Thrashing Tail & Handling the Puppy with the Kids.

Did you know that a cat’s tail is an extension of its spine? The tail can tell you much about their mood. In this episode, I’ll explain what twitching and thrashing can mean about how your cat is feeling.

Then, dog trainer Katie K-9 is back on the show, answering listener’s questions about what to do when the new puppy won’t leave the human kids alone – roughhousing and chewing on them.

Plus, I tell you the story of my dog Rosy, who has a very dangerous habit of eating bees and the first aid I must enlist to keep her safe and breathing.

 Additional Resources for the Show.

Katie K-9 and her dog, Lucee

Katie K-9’s website and how to listen to her radio show and podcast.

Source for the story about cat’s tails. “How to Speak Cat: A Guide to Decoding Cat Language” by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman, D.V.M.





Vacationing with Your Dog? Prevent Separation Anxiety.

Planning on traveling with your dog – where your dog will have to get used to a new place to stay? Perhaps it is a vacation or you’re going to visit someone for an extended stay. Make sure the experience is a positive, happy one for both humans and canines alike.  I  recently traveled across the country to California with Rosy to stay in a townhouse for a month that we had never been to before. Here are some photos of her enjoying the new sights and smells of being at the ocean.

Rosy at ocean.
Rosy running – first time at ocean. She drank the ocean water. FYI- salt water gives dogs bad diarrhea. She learned not to.

A change of location can be exciting for a dog but also anxiety producing – especially if they experience being left alone by you, too fast and too long in a strange place –  like a hotel room or if you’re staying in the home of a friend or family member. When you leave them there alone, your dog does not know initially, that they are not being abandoned in this unfamiliar place – even if there are other people around. By the way, hotel’s complain and have policies against guests that leave their dogs alone in the rooms barking non-stop. When you hear that, it’s a dog experiencing separation anxiety. I never left Rosy alone in the hotel rooms we stayed in as we drove across the country.

When traveling with your dog, you’ll want to take steps to make sure you do not create separation anxiety where there was none before.

Speaking of the topic in general, in the last episode of Raising Your Paws Podcast, number 45, I spoke with Nicole Wilde, professional dog trainer, behavior specialist, and author of the book, Don’t Leave Me! Step by Step Help for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety. We talked about separation anxiety – what it is and what you can do if your dog has a problem with this. Listen to the episode here.

When moving into a new place temporarily, (or permanently) prevent it from occurring.

1. At first your dog may follow you around everywhere you go in the new location needing to keep you in sight. This is fine. Let them. Rosy does not do this at home as she is not the kind of dog that has to be near me every second. However, last summer when we moved into the new house in Illinois,  she did this the first day as I was unpacking and then recently, in the California townhouse, the first few days, as I was getting settled she was like velcro – she would follow me up and down the stairs and even peek to see where I had gone when I visited the bathroom. I did shut the door and she soon learned I’d reappear.

(For moving into a new home – to hear everything to do to ensure an easy transition for your pets, listen to podcast episode #22.)

2. Plan to stay home at the new place with your dog for a number of days. You want to try NOT to leave your dog alone for long periods of time in an unfamiliar place. This may mean ordering in food at the hotel, taking your dog with you, or arranging fun things to do so you’ll be at the house for a few days. In my case, when I moved into my new home last summer, I took a week’s vacation – it wasn’t only for Rosy – I also needed the week to unpack and attend to other business, but it greatly benefited her. Here in the townhouse, during the first few weeks, when I needed to leave to run some errands, I took her with me. In places she could not accompany me, since it was the summer, I left her in the locked, air-conditioned car. The car is a safe, familiar place for her and she is very used to being in it for short periods of time, alone.

3. Get your dog used to you leaving the residence in small little steps.

a. On the first day – practice going out the door you’ll use the most and then immediately come right back in. Do this a number of times. In California, when I arrived, I had to unpack the car and so I went in and out of the door into the garage at least 20 times. At first, I left the door hinged open so Rosy could see me. By the end of the day, after going in and out so many times, I was able to shut the door in between my trips and she would be in the family room, waiting, but relaxed. I also got her used to my raising the electric garage door – moving the car out, and then coming right back in.

b. With any other doors of the house – practice going out and coming right back in . You will start increasing the length of time you spend outside of the house. 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes. If there is a screen door they can look out and see you when you start this process, it is helpful. Rosy would watch me as I wheeled the garbage cans out to the end of the driveway or visit with some of the new neighbors. Then I started shutting the outer door, so she could not see me when I was outside for 15 minutes. After the first week, she no longer would be waiting at the door, but lying down in the living room, secure I was coming back.

c. When your dog seems at ease, then you can extend the time and leave for an hour or two. Give your dog a Kong toy stuffed with frozen canned food, pumpkin or plain yogurt for a lovely distracting treat while you are gone for longer periods. And, when you leave, act normal – not guilty or anxious yourself. Don’t make a big deal out of saying goodbye to them – just a casual “see you later,” and when you return, keep it calm – offer the same routine greeting you normally would.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Episode 45.

Title: Cure Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety & How Dogs Detect Arson and Save Bees.

Does your dog have a separation anxiety problem? Not quite sure what it is or what to do about it? Nicole Wilde, professional dog trainer, behavior specialist and author of the book, Don’t Leave Me! Step by Step Help for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety, explains that there is hope and help for you and your dog to alleviate the numerous challenges that result from a pup who becomes severely anxious when left alone.

Then, I’ll share a few more unique ways in which dogs apply their noses to assist fire and termite inspectors as well as beekeepers.

Resources for the episode.

Nicole Wilde and Sierra.

Link to order Nicole Wilde’s book, Don’t Leave Me! Step by Step Help for your Dog’s Separation Anxiety.


Nicole Wilde’s Website.

Nicole Wilde’s Facebook Page.

Nicole Wilde on Twitter.

Sierra on Coyote Hill








Sierra with a look of love.

Here are links to the organizations, Nicole mentioned to find a behavior specialist if you would like help dealing with your dog’s severe separation anxiety.

Association of Professional Dog Trainers. (APDT)

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. (IAABC)

Pet Professional Guild

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. (ACVB)

Malena DeMartini – separation anxiety specialist.

Source for the story about dog’s smelling arson and insects: “How Dogs Think” By Stanley Coren.




What To Do if Dog Noisily Greets Guests At Front Door.

When the doorbell rings, does your dog stand at the front door barking his head off and crowding visitors as they try to enter your house? Why do dogs go nuts when there is a knock on the door ? And what can you do about this behavior? Find out on Raising Your Paws Podcast, episode 44.

Here are some details about one of the options mentioned. It’s a practical solution – give your dog something else to do instead– train them to go to a mat!

The mat will provide a special place for your dog to go and lie down until you release your dog from it. The mat can be a small rug, (I purchased an inexpensive one just for Rosy) a bath mat,  or a dog mat. It’s good to reserve it just for this purpose and be able to roll it up if you want to  take it with you for travel.

When I used to live in a condo on the second floor, to stop Rosy from wanting to run out the door and onto the landing to greet my visitors as they climbed up the last few steps, I placed the mat in the front foyer against the wall about 10 feet back from the door. Anytime the doorbell rang, instead of twirling in excitement, and barking and barging in front of me, I instructed her to go to her mat. There she would lie, waiting in anticipation, barely containing her excitement, but still contained until the visitor entered and I released her to “go meet”.

Here are a few videos that teaches you how to do mat training.

From Vet

Here is another one – talking through some of the steps.

For detailed written instructions about the steps, here is the link to a good article.

In the videos the trainer is using a clicker to mark the correct behavior. You can also use a word, like “yes” instead of a clicker.

Having your dog be able to go to a mat helps anytime you would like your dog to get out from under foot, like, while working in the kitchen, or when repair people are at the house. For teaching your dog how to “down–stay,”having this defined space can assist some dogs to understand the training better. When you and your dog are away from home, taking the mat with and laying it down, gives your dog a safe and familiar place to be. When Rosy would accompany me to dog food demos at pet food stores, I always took her mat. I didn’t even have to tell her to go there, once I laid it on the floor, she’d plop down on it. I’m sure you’ll start thinking of many times and situations in which having your dog go settle in one spot and stay there, will be very handy.

Full Show Notes for Raising Your Paws podcast Episode 44.

Title: Use Your Voice So Your Dog Listens & The Key Difference Between Training Cats and Dogs.

Did you know that the pitch of your voice and how you say words, can affect if your dog ignores or obeys you? I’ll explain how to use your words in the most effective way so your dog will be more apt to listen to what you are asking.

Where ever did we get the idea that you can’t train a cat? In part two of my conversation with, feline behavior specialist, Sarah Ellis, from International Cat Care, and co-author of the book, The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat, we talk about what you can do to prepare felines for major changes in the home and when training cats, if punishment is a good or bad way to stop problem behavior.

Does your dog start barking every time the doorbell rings and scare visitors with their noisy greeting? Since dogs are aware that the front door is the entrance to the home territory and a place that everyone in the family treats as important, many dogs take on the role of being the sentry. Hear what you can do to manage or change this behavior.

Please subscribe to the podcast for free at iTunes and at Stitcher.

Resources for the Episode.

Source for the story about how you use your voice. “The Other End of the Leash,” By Patricia McConnell.

International Cat Care Website.

Dr. Sarah Ellis.


Dr. Sarah Ellis, Facebook page.

Amazon link to order “The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat” by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis.










Using a Squirt Bottle on a Cat for Discipline – Good Idea or Bad One?

In this week’s podcast episode, I spoke to feline behavior specialist, Dr. Sarah Ellis,  about how to train a cat. You read that right. Cats CAN be trained – and they learn much more than you might believe – they can be taught things that will make your life easier and increase your cat’s welfare, such as how to make sure your feline likes his cat carrier and how to ease their fears about going to the vet. Listen to the episode here.

Dr. Sarah Ellis doing some initial training to teach a kitten named Batman to be comfortable in and around the cat carrier. (photo credit: Peter Baumber)

Cats learn best using the positive reinforcement method – this is where you reward the desirable behavior you are seeking with a delicious treat, toy or praise. They do not respond well to punishment.

If you have a cat, you know there are times that your cat does things that are less than desirable, such as jumping up on the dining room table that is set for company, waking you up in the morning by rattling papers, or scratching and chewing on furniture. (Oh, yes, my cat Willie did that. Chewed the corners right off of my bedroom dresser drawers that had been left a bit pulled out, in order to get my attention and wake me up while sleeping. )

A method that has become popular among cat owners when their cat is doing unwanted behaviors is to use a squirt bottle to shoot water at the cat to stop or deter them from the negative behaviors – like jumping up on counters and meowing in the morning to get attention.

Because this method is common, the perception is that this is an acceptable way to fix a problem and a good way to train a cat not to do certain things. Actually it is not.

What this technique does do –  is create frustration in the cat, cause them to be afraid of you which can affect your bond with your cat, (she needs to be able to trust you, not run from you out of fear,) and most counterproductive is that punishing teaches the cat to engage in the behavior when you’re not around.

What you need to know is no matter how troublesome a behavior is to you, it has a purpose for the cat. They do not do what they do to make you mad – yes, they may want your attention but they are not trying to piss you off. Take for instance if you squirt them for scratching on your furniture. Scratching is a normal and natural need for a cat, it can’t and should not be trained out of them. If your cat gets punished every time she does a normal behavior that is bred into her, she will continue to do it covertly.

What to do instead? First you’ll want to think about why and when your cat is exhibiting a particular behavior – then you can plan how to manage it.   The best way to preserve your sanity and your cat’s best welfare, is to manage, not punish a situation.

Wrecking your furniture? Do your homework and make sure you have the right kind and placement of a scratching post for your cat. There is much information about this online. You may need to use double-sided sticky tape on the furniture to save the arms of your favorite chair until your cat is happily using the scratching post.

In my case with Willie, his chewing on drawers was a way to wake me up before the alarm clock, which worked for him.  He got my attention, I would wake up to get him to stop. What I had to do, to break this habit, was make sure all the drawers were pushed completely in before going to sleep and then when he attempted the new thing, to bat at papers on the dresser which made a lovely, annoying sound, I had to remove and put any and all papers away,  and leave nothing out that made noise.

Dr. Sarah Ellis’s cat Cosmos, using a home-made puzzle feeder. (photo credit: Peter Baumber)

And most important, I had to start COMPLETELY ignoring him when he made any noise. Listen up, if you have a cat that meows relentlessly to wake you up. You cannot give in at all. Don’t open your eyes, don’t move a muscle, and don’t yell at your cat. This is all a form of attention –it’s negative, yet still attention for the cat. Any response on your part is reinforcing the behavior and they’ll keep doing it.

I had to think about, was Willie too hungry to wait one more hour to eat? I added a bit more food to his diet by leaving some kibble out in a puzzle feeder he could play with in the wee hours and finally, Willie realized I was not going to get up before 7:00 a.m. – waiting one more hour would not kill him, and he finally cut it out. Final REM sleep and dreams restored.

Regarding the cat who jumps up on the kitchen counters, listen to what Sarah Ellis, feline behavior specialist and co-author of the book, “The Trainable Cat,” suggests you do about this. It’s in Episode 43, Segment 2. Raising Your Paws podcast.  

Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast, Episode 43.

Title: The Reasons Dogs Investigate Our Private Parts & Why You’ll Want to Train Your Cat.

Do you get embarrassed when you meet a new dog and the first thing they want to do is bury their nose in your crotch? Why do they have to do that? In this episode, I’ll tell you what the dog is doing – and it’s no different than what they do with other dogs – they’re simply finding out information about you – but not in the way you probably think.

Whoever hears about cat trainers? – And the common belief is that cats can’t be trained. But it’s not true. They can – and the benefits for an owner’s sanity and the cat’s welfare are plenty. Feline behavior specialist, Sarah Ellis, from International Cat Care, and co-author of the book, The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat, talks about why and how to train cats. Find out what to do so that your cat likes its carrier and how to make going to the vet easier.

When you’ve had too much to drink and wake up with a hangover, someone may suggest the “hair of the dog” – meaning take another drink! How did dog hair get associated with curing a hangover?   I’ll explain where this expression comes from.

Please rate and review the podcast. It really helps! Easy links to iTunes and Stitcher at:

Resources for the Episode.

Source for the Story about dog’s investigating our bodies. “How Dogs Think” by Stanley Coren.

Dr. Sarah Ellis.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Sarah Ellis, feline behavior specialist at International Cat Care.

International Cat Care Website.
Here are some links to the various things talked about in the show as resources from International Cat Care.

The handling videos can be found here on the link below:

Their YouTube channel

The advice section of their website can be found at wwww./

In terms of veterinary clinics being more cat friendly – the scheme in the US is run by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and is called Cat Friendly Practice. Here is the link:

Dr. Sarah Ellis Facebook page.

How to order “The Trainable Cat.” By John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis.

Source for story about the expression, “hair of the dog, “A Fine Kettle of Fish and 150 other Animal Expressions”. By Michael Macrone.




What To Do if Your Cat Overgrooms.

Is your cat licking and chewing themselves so much that there are bald spots?

Are you worried that your cat is grooming too much? Spending a few hours a day cleaning and washing themselves is a normal and beneficial activity for your cat but if you have noticed that patches of fur are missing from your cat’s arms or legs, there is a large bald spot on their tummy or your cat constantly bites or chews on a paw, this indicates that something is wrong.

A cat exhibiting excessive grooming (psychogenic alopecia.) Resulting baldness is noticeable around the abdomen, flank and legs. (photo by Steve Browne and John Verkleir)

What could be the cause?

First, it could be a medical issue. Take your cat to the vet.

You want to make sure there is no underlying medical condition that is causing this. For instance, if your cat has fleas or other parasites, it can cause your kitty to chew themselves raw. Hyperthyroidism (a glandular disorder caused by an excess of the thyroid hormone that causes weight loss, hyperactivity, and increased appetite) is another common reason for over grooming. A cat in pain may repeatedly lick or chew one particular area of the body in an attempt to relieve the discomfort. For example, if the bladder is causing pain, a cat can lick their belly stark naked. Excessive grooming can start as a response to fleas, an allergy, a food sensitivity or other skin condition. If your cat is licking itself all over, quite often, this is typical if the cat is feeling itchy. The licking that starts off as a way to relieve itching can become a habit which you don’t want your cat to develop. Because there could be other possible medical reasons, not listed here, don’t delay – get your cat checked out medically.

Or it could be a behavioral – emotional issue. If no medical cause can be found, the overgrooming is probably a behavioral issue and has become obsessive in nature. Constant licking and chewing is an anxiety – relieving mechanism – much like nail biting can be self-soothing for people. Excessive grooming is often a reaction to stress or trauma and the stress builds up so much that the cat must do something to relieve his anxiety – hence the constant washing.

You’ll want to identify what the trigger is for your cat because whatever is causing the cat to feel that anxious is the real problem.

What changes in your life or at home have there been lately? It could be a change in your work schedule, the addition of another pet to the house, the death in the family, other cats in the household or perceived threats from cats outside. It  doesn’t matter if strange cats don’t come inside the house, as long as your cat can smell and see the neighbor cat that keeps coming around, that is enough for yours truly to see the outsider as a threat. Other triggers can be if you recently moved to a new home – or made renovations to the house or the arrival of the new infant.

Think about if changes were made to your cat’s routine or environment because of a move or home construction or the arrival of additional pets or a new baby. Is there anything that has caused you to: feed your cat at different times than before, move the litter box or feeding station, change your cats usual sleeping place. All of these little things can cause stress.  Or…..on the flip side, your indoor cat could be extremely bored – with no activity or stimulation and this itself can trigger overgrooming.

What to do.

Minimize any of the above described adjustments that may have occurred to your cat’s routine or restore them as much as you can.

Provide as much stability and consistency and make his environment as stress–free,  as you can. If the dog barks at and relentlessly chases your cat, make sure the cat has access to safe areas where he can get away from the dog. A cat tree is perfect for this as dogs don’t tend to climb them. Does another cat in the house, torment him? Provide an area to eat and eliminate that is free from possible ambush. To determine if your cat feels anxious while eating, do this: when you place his food bowl on the floor, watch to see if your cat is constantly looking around, frequently stopping to check out her surroundings. If she does, then she is feeling insecure – move the feeding station to an area that is safe, perhaps on top of the cat tree or in a quieter, closed off room.

You may be tempted to try and comfort your cat through more holding and cuddling, but to effectively relieve your cats stress, a cat needs to feel in control of his environment.

Provide a lot more positive activity for your cat than before. Add more interactive playtime as part of his daily schedule. Two or three sessions of play together will help dispel his anxiety as well as building up his positive associations with his environment that might have been soured. And when you leave the house – make sure your cat has opportunities to find rewards and engage in healthy, anxiety relieving behaviors – so put activity toys – boxes or bags to play in and puzzle feeders with tiny yummy treats or kibble to extract,  around the house. Provide plenty of distractions to help your kitty pass the time when you are not home. Move the cat tree in front of a window so your cat can watch the birds.

When home, try to prevent your cat from indulging in the overgrooming habit as much as possible. Pay attention to when she demonstrates the give-away sign that she is beginning to lick herself and redirect her right then, into a short playtime with you. Grab that wand toy and engage your cat’s natural hunting abilities. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, this often can head off an obsessive grooming session before it begins. Bottom line – your cat needs a lot more stimulation from toys and lots of attention and play from you.

What about Medication? The medical term for the behavioral condition we’re talking about is called psychogenic alopecia. In certain cases calming medications along with behavior modification can help mitigate the behaviors. Your vet will advise you if anti-anxiety medication is required. Your vet may also refer you to a veterinary behaviorist, or certified animal behavior consultant (you can seek out their opinion yourself – see links below) in order to establish the most effective behavior modification plan for your cat’s specific circumstances.

To find a professional:

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists (AVSAB)

Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists.

Raising Your Paws Podcast – Episode Number 42.

Title: How a Cat Shows it’s Feeling Uncertain & Stories of Dogs that Apprehend and Detain criminals.

Full Show Notes for the episode.

Dogs lick their lips as a sign they are feeling uncomfortable, but what does it mean when a cat flicks its tongue out when there is no food around? I’ll explain what this gesture can indicate about a cat’s mood.

Then, in part two of my conversation with, Steve Pearson, a former police officer, SWAT commander and owner and trainer at Performance Kennels Inc. he tells stories about the police K-9 dogs that chase down, apprehend and detain criminals. Hear trade talk about how they learn their special skills and what it’s like to work with these special dogs.

What is the secret to dogs being able to sniff out explosives and narcotics even when smugglers commonly hide them in stronger smelling things to mask their odor? The answer has to do with another remarkable difference between canine and human noses. I’ll explain using the example of a pot of stew cooking on the stove.

Additional Resources.
Steve Pearson, Owner, Trainer at Perfornance Kennels, Inc.

Performance Kennels, Inc. Website.

Performance Kennels, Inc. Facebook page.

Source for story about dogs smelling narcotics. “How Dogs Think,” By Stanley Coren.





When Dogs Bark: Pet’s Speaking their Minds and Police K-9’s Alerting to Finds.

During a number of the Raising Your Paws podcast episodes, I’ve been talking about the different types of barking dogs do – how they sound, their meanings and solutions for dealing with the barking. In this last episode, Number 41, I was talking about frustration or boredom barking. (segment 3)  Listen to this episode here. Title: Training And Working with K-9 Police Dogs & Recognizing and Quieting Frustration Barking.

In the podcast, I promised that I’d let you know which episodes you can find the descriptions of the other kinds of barking. You’ll find that list to the episodes, in the resources section below.

But first, as a follow up to last week’s blog, about what dogs hear, one reader wrote in and told me about her dog, Baxter.

Bobbi writes,

“I read your article about noise and how dogs hear more high pitched sounds than humans. This must be why my puppy can’t hear me call him loudly, but can hear the sound of his NutriSource dog food bag being opened from several rooms away and comes running as fast as he can.”

Ah, full tummy, a good morning of playing hard, comfy couch. Time to relax…life is good.
Bobbi sent this photo of Baxter eating his NutriSource dog food. Must be tired after playing with all these toys- both paws and jaws in the food.  Yep, don’t be shy – get right in that bowl.  Why not?

For writing in and sending the photo of Baxter, Bobbi won a few free bags of our new Jerky dog treats. Congrats, Bobbi and thanks for sharing.

You could also be selected to receive some free treats. Let me know what you think of the podcast or the blog. You can leave a comment on any blog article and for sending a photo of your pet, dog or cat,  write me at




Do you know about the working Dogs – the K-9’s that help our police officers?


In episode 41, I also had a really cool guest, a former police officer and SWAT team commander who worked with K-9 ‘s (the name for patrol, narcotic and explosive, detector dogs ) as his partners over the years. Steve Pearson, now owns Performance Kennels, Inc. a company that selects and trains patrol narcotic and explosive detector dogs for law enforcement.  You’ve got to hear his stories about dogs that search for drugs and explosives, and apprehend people targeted by the police. He also talks about what it takes for a dog to be a K-9 and what its like to work with these special dogs.

Here are some photos of the K-9’s.

K-9, Diesel.

A bit about Diesel. 

After over 8 years of service to the Brooklyn Park Police Department, K-9 Diesel is pulling the pin after his last shift tonight. Diesel and his handler, we’ll call him “Jason” did an outstanding job serving the citizens and visitors of Brooklyn Park, MN. Diesel was a certified narcotics detector dog, a certified PD-1 (Patrol) dog, and was one of a few who earned a tracking Exceptional certification through the U.S.P.C.A. Diesel will live out his retired years with his family in their plush gated community that he is so used to. Outstanding job boys. Nothing else that can be said.


A Belgian Malinois. (not a K-9)
Here is one of the dogs from Performance Kennel’s Facebook page, a Shepherd/Malinois mix.

The two breeds of dogs that Steve Pearson, most commonly  utilizes are German Shepherds and a Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd cross.

To the right, is a Belgian Malinois, one of the Dutch shepherd dogs.






The dogs and the people who become their handlers go through extensive training to learn their craft.








Here are a few patrol K-9’s and the jobs they did.

Stearns Co. S.O. (MN) K-9 Gordo had a nice find the other day. “Routine” traffic stop and good police work lead officers to believe that illegal narcotics were concealed inside the vehicle. Gordo was deployed on a sniff and he alerted on the passenger door. Subsequent search yielded over 2 pounds of meth & a bunch of ecstasy. $1,100 of cash & a 2004 Audi were seized. 3 depressed occupants went to jail. Sad. Way to go Gordo.
K-9 Deekon (AKA Prancer) with the Clay Co. (MN) S.O. conducted a vehicle sniff a couple nights ago on I-94. The State Patrol had a vehicle stopped with a couple “dudes” in it from the left coast. (That’s California) Deekon alerted on the vehicle. Deekon then went into the vehicle and alerted to a bag containing clothing. The clothing had a heavy odor of marijunana however no marijuana or other narcotics were found. What the officers did find was $14,643 in cash, a pistol, and ammo. The cash was wrapped in foil. Deekon later alerted on the cash during a sniff back at the office. The cash, gun, and ammo were seized. It seems as though these dudes sold all of their dope in the Fargo – Moorhead area and were on their way home for more product when the State Patrol and K-9 Deekon interrupted their journey. Take THAT Stalker!
Moorhead P.D.’s K-9 Milo had a nice find the other day. Narcotics officers in the Fargo – Moorhead area developed a lead that suspected narcotics dealers were setting up shop in area hotels. K-9 Milo alerted to the presence of illegal narcotics in a particular hotel room. The subsequent search of the room lead to the recovery of $17,000 in cash, 13 pounds of meth, and 3 suspects going to jail. Excellent police work and fantastic utilization of a well trained K-9.







You can see many more photos of the dogs and handlers and the results of the finds the K-9’s made on Performance Kennels, Inc. Facebook page.  Enjoy!  I have. Please leave me a comment below, about the podcast and/or the blog. Thank you.

Resources for this Show:

Here’s where you can learn about the different kinds of barking I’ve covered so far.

Listen to the Raising Your Paws episode to hear the story about:

The Excitement bark – Episode # 11

The Fear bark – Episode # 19

Guard Barking – Episode # 27

The Warning bark – Episode # 12

The Growl – why you don’t want to stop your dog if it feels the needs to do this. – Episode # 15

Easy way to get to these episodes (and subscribe for free if you haven’t already) – scroll back up to top of blog page, see box with links to iTunes or Stitcher or google play.

Full show notes for Episode 41. Title: Training and Working with K-9 Police dogs & Recognizing and Quieting Frustration Barking.

When you take your dog’s photograph or bend over to pet him you might notice that your dog turns its head away from you. Your dog also does this at times when other dogs approach. This is not a random meaningless motion, it’s a signal. I’ll explain what your dog is saying through this gesture.

K-9 Police dogs and their handlers, assist law enforcement by searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence, and apprehending people targeted by the police. What does it takes for a dog to become police dog and what is it like to work with a K-9? My guest today, is Steve Pearson, a former police officer and SWAT commander and owner and trainer at Performance Kennels Inc. a company that selects, and trains patrol, narcotic and explosive detector dogs for law enforcement. He tells on-the-job stories, and describes why German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois make such good detection dogs.

Then, how do you identify if your dog’s barking is about boredom or frustration? What can you do to address the problem and stop the barking? I’ll explain this and tell you the story of how my family inadvertently caused my beagle to bark continually.

Additional Resources for the Episode.

Resource for the story about a dog’s head turning: “On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals” by Turid Rugaas.

Steve Pearson, owner and trainer, Performance Kennels, Inc.

Performance Kennels, Inc. Website.

Performance Kennels, Inc. Facebook page.

Resource for the story about frustration barking: “Barking, The Sound of a Language” by Turid Rugaas.