Promoting good behavior is an essential aspect of having a healthy pet.  Both cats and dogs can
benefit from the creation of routines and boundaries.  Behavior problems are the primary reason
that both dogs and cats are relinquished to shelters or placed in new homes.  Unfortunately, unless
these behavior problems are addressed, the animal will likely never find that forever home they are
looking for.

Cats are creatures of habit, in the strictest sense of the word.  All of the elements surrounding
feeding, family structure, litterbox habitat, and daily play and exercise activities are important in
providing cats a sense of a comfortable routine.  The slightest changes in any of these elements of
a cat's environment can produce significant alterations in behavior.  Some changes can mimic
symptoms of other diseases, such as inappropriate elimination, digestive problems, or skin and coat
problems,  and it is important to address them as soon as these signs arise so they do not become
larger problems.

Dogs are, by nature, social and active.  They too appreciate schedules, but are also generally very
adaptable to change.  However, if they are not given plenty of mental, physical, and emotional
stimulation wherever they are, behavior problems can result. It  is also true that their natural social
structure requires that any dog in a pack situation, such as exists when they live with us, will either
follow a strong leader, or will themselves try to become one.  If we don't clearly establish our
dominance in the family structure, dogs can be very difficult to live with without conflict or problem
behaviors like excessive barking, digging, chewing, or housesoiling.

It is important to reiterate that hidden medical conditions can cause behavior changes in our pets,
so a physical exam is always the first step in addressing the behavior at issue.  

Our office provides behavior consultations and modification plans.  Please contact us if you need
help in this area--you and your pet will be glad you did!

We now have a wonderful dog training resource on the Ridge
with Shelly Keel and " A Good Dog Day" training center.
She offers puppy and adult dog classes as well as private
training. Contact her by phone at 530-4k9-TRNR or
feel free to visit her Website by clicking the link below.
A Good Dog Day

If you would like to do some research into behavior
yourself, here are some wonderful resources:

Housebreaking hints

Guide to crate training

Litter training your kitten

Socialization tips for kitten owners

Dodman, N. “The Cat Who Cried For Help”

Johnson-Bennett, P.  “Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat—Not a Sour Puss” and
“Cat Vs. Cat: Keeping Peace When You Have More Than One Cat”

Dodman, N.  “The Dog Who Loved Too Much”

Dunbar, I. “Before and After Getting Your New Puppy” and “An Owner’s Guide to Dog Behavior”

Pryor, K.  “Don’t Shoot the Dog”

Multi-Pet Homes
Shojai, A.  “PETiQuette: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multi-Pet Household”

*These books can be found at major booksellers (Barnes & Noble),, or

WEBSITES:  Dumb Friends League Pet Behavior Advice/Training Tips  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Behavior Tips