Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Over It!

 I received a call from a client the day after Christmas.  She said she'd had it.  Being locked in her house for 9 months with her spouse, her kids, two cats, and a puppy and she said she felt like she was ready to snap!  She wanted to know why everything was her responsibility and if there was anything to be done to get them all back on track.  At this point, her cats weren't getting along (one had started marking again) and the puppy was back to being mouthy and counter surfing (and trash can diving!) all of the time.  She said if it wasn't for the pandemic and the fact that no one can go anywhere non-essential here in California, she'd have escaped with her girlfriends to an island far away from it all by this point!  

I get it. I really do.  I'm tired of sheltering in place too.  I miss my pet assisted therapy visits with Desi.  I miss going to the beach with Ozzie and Westley. I miss vacations and flying to Southern California to see friends and family. While I have enjoyed all of our family time, I, too, long to be free! I am extremely fortunate that all three dogs get along well together and have not had any lasting behavior problems during this pandemic.  So, what can my client, and others like her, do to get back on track?

First, prioritize the problems.  The cat urinating in the house was my first priority.  He needs an appointment with the vet to make sure that this is a behavior problem and not indicative of a physical issue. He is an older cat who is sensitive to stress; in the past, he has started marking when the kids weren't getting along with one another!  Now it's the case that he and the other cat aren't getting along, but that could have a physical basis too given that the peeing cat isn't as playful with his feline friend, nor are they grooming each other as much. Until she can get the cat in to see the vet, she is going to separate the cats to reduce their stress.  The cat who is urinating inappropriately is in a room away from the other animals, with two litterboxes, two cat trees, fresh water, and plenty of toys.  The other cat still has the rest of the house. Once we know whether this issue is behavioral or physical, we can begin supervising time between the two cats and hopefully resolve any lingering issues. 

As for the the mouthy puppy doing all of the counter surfing and trashcan diving, I said it was time to address this problem head-on.  The puppy was something her kids and husband wanted, not her (she's a self proclaimed cat person!).  They need to step up and enforce the crate nap times during the day so that he doesn't get sleep deprived and out of control.  Much of his mouthy behavior and zooming around the house stealing things off the counter and table can be rectified by enforcing crate naps, time in his x-pen, and making sure he gets his daily walks, training sessions, and interactive toy time. If the kids won't step up and do these things, then the pup may be better off in another household where people can coordinate his care better.  My client indicated that if she even mentioned re-homing the puppy, her kids would go crazy!  Well then, they need to take a more proactive role in his care!  A lot of work goes into raising a puppy and everyone needs to be on board with what that care will look like. They all needed to put in more time working on tasks such as "leave it" and "drop it" with this puppy; while we had taught him these commands and dished out rewards for his doing so during my appointment with them a few months ago, no one had continued to work on these behaviors and thus the puppy was back to surfing and trash can diving for attention and stimulation .Setting up a family schedule where all tasks are assigned for the day (or the week) and those tasks rotate so that each family member takes an active role in each of the component parts.  Thus, no one is always in charge of feeding or walking or picking up poop.  Everyone rotates in on those tasks.  While it's fine to ask mom for help, she shouldn't be the one doing everything. My client felt that setting up the schedule would likely work for her family and we talked about some potential consequences for both the puppy and for the kids if they fail to keep up.  

It is really important for all of us to remember that this pandemic won't last forever.  We all need to begin preparing ourselves and our pets for the inevitable end of sheltering in place, returning to school, work, etc.  We need to remind our pets that it is okay to be alone.  This means leaving your dog alone for periods of time everyday.  That time might be in their crates for naps if you have a puppy, or it could simply be working in one room while your dog naps in another.  If your dog follows you around all day long, assign periods of time during the day when you will ignore him.  They need to learn that attention 24/7 isn't sustainable, nor is it healthy.  If it's a nice day, give your dog a bone to chew on outdoors.  If not, maybe a bully stick or an interactive toy will keep them occupied and self-contained.  You will need to build up the amount of time they can be left alone.  Our pets shouldn't come to expect that someone will always be home with them.  Load everyone in the car when you head to the grocery store, even when only one person actually goes inside to shop!  If you are really worried about what your pets are doing in your absence, set up a camera so you can watch them from your phone.  Now is the time to figure out if they can be left alone and for how long.  Once you know that, you can build from there.  

Finally, cut yourself some slack.  This pandemic has been rough on everyone.  Relationships have been put to the test and adding in a new pet can be stressful under the best of circumstances. Being honest with family members about what's working and what isn't, not placing blame or responsibility on just one person, are the keys to success.  We all need to work together to get through this.  As couples, as families, and as communities.

As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me. 

Ozzie and Desi get a dental chew every afternoon.  They are good about not bugging me while I'm working, but they WILL let me know if it's 3 p.m. and they've still not gotten their snack yet!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Beautiful Walk is in the Eye of the Beholder!

 I met with a client, socially distanced of course, who is immune compromised.  Because of this, she rarely leaves her home.  She has hired a dog walker for her adolescent dog during the week and her adult children rotate walking the dog for her on the weekends.  So what's my role? I'm there to to work with the dog on manners, as well as guide the owner through the pitfalls of doggie adolescence as her dog does have some anxiety as well. One of the things that makes this dog most anxious is other dogs she sees on leash.  She jumps, spins, barks, whines and pulls to get to other dogs. Her over-the-top behavior has resulted in more than one on-leash altercation with another dog, so now she has ambivalence about seeing other leashed dogs when she's on a walk.  The dog walker likes to use a pinch collar on the dog to correct the pulling, the owner's daughter like to use an easy-walk harness while her son likes a body harness as he walks and runs with the dog.  The owner wasn't sure if it was okay to be using all of these different types of systems to walk her dog and if there was one "best route to go" long term so as not to increase her dog's anxiety or confuse her, but to make sure the dog was safe on her walks.  I love that she asked me this question!

First off, it's okay for different people to use different tools when walking a dog, even if they are walking the same dog.  While one person might need a head halter, for example, to feel comfortable walking a dog, someone else might feel that a harness works good enough.  What works for any given person on a walk with a dog must take several factors into consideration.  The age of the person walking the dog, their strength and comfort level with walking a dog, their past experiences with dog walking, and their relationship with this particular dog.  Thus, while a dog walker might feel comfortable with a dog on a flat collar and leash, that same dog may need a harness with its owner if they are older, have trouble controlling the dog, etc.  Walking the dog on more than one system will not confuse the dog at all.  They know who they are walking with!  The key is finding the right tool for each person, the one that they are most comfortable with using, and then acclimating the dog to that tool and letting them know what your expectations for their behavior on walks actually is.

Another thing to keep in mind is that circumstances change.  While you may have been able to walk your puppy on a flat collar and leash, you may need to change to a front hooking harness when that dog is an adolescent, and maybe even move on to a head halter when they reach 18 months to 2 years of age.  It's nice to have a "dog walking tool box" filled with different collars (flat, martingale, choke chain, etc.), different harnesses (front hook, back hook, loop behind the legs, and head halter), and different length leashes (4 foot, 6 foot, and 15-25 foot for practicing recall).  That way, you will always have what you need to walk the dog you are dealing with on any given day.

When Ozzie was young, he was a hard-core puller.  He was fearful and would panic and spin in circles around me and then pull me over!  We had to move from a flat collar and leash to a Thunderleash style harness for a while until I got his anxiety under control.  He's now back on a flat collar and 6 foot leash.  We used to walk our Labrador on a head halter as she would pull hard on anything else, including a pinch collar. And our Pug walked on a body harness that hooked on his back.  For smaller dogs, body harnesses are safer than collars as they are gentler on their necks and tracheas if they pull a lot on leash.  Every dog is different and you don't want to get stuck on just one type of collar or harness.  You need to be flexible and figure out what works best for you if you are the person walking the dog.  And if you use dog walkers for your dog, let them tell you what they need to safely walk your dog for you.  

Finally, remember that while you don't want your dog to pull you down the street, nor do you want to be dragging him along, you do need to seek that middle ground. He doesn't need to heel all the time; give him some leash to sniff and explore.  Try to make the leash a bit slack so he doesn't feel tension while he's sniffing and exploring.  Use the leash to guide your dog, not yank him along.  Talk to your dogs, tell them when it's safe to sniff and tell them when they need to move along.  Use treats to make yourself more important than anything else out there on that walk.  And have fun!  Walking your dog is great exercise and a good chance to bond with your canine companion.

As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me.

Here's my niece when she was a little girl, with my first collie, Cooper, on a flat collar (hidden under all that floof!) and our Labrador, Cinderella, on her head halter!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Darker Side of Acquiring a New Dog

I had a Zoom meeting with a couple who acquired their new dog from a shelter out of state.  They were so excited to get this young dog; they paid the shelter fee, paid to fly themselves and the dog home, and were looking forward to years of love and companionship.  What they got, however, was something very different.  This dog began behaving aggressively toward the owners during the first week.  They made adjustments in their own behavior with regard to resources the dog might guard, how they leashed him, etc.  Still, he would lay between them on the couch or bed, receiving attention, and suddenly stiffen, growl, snap and bite them.  He would seem fine one minute and then bite the next.  At first the bites were inhibited and seemed to be about resources,  but his last bite was completely unprovoked and left punctures and necessitated a trip to the doctor.  When they contacted the shelter to find out more information on the dog, they found out that the person who dropped the dog off gave a fake phone number/address and the veterinarian named on the record had no clue who this dog was.  Given how quickly this dog became aggressive without provocation, it seems likely he was surrendered because of that behavior.  Now this poor couple is trying to figure out how to get him safely back to the shelter out of state.  When we talked, I let them know that the shelter might just adopt him out again; he's a really cute, purebred dog.  He'll be a moneymaker for the shelter or a rescue group if they choose to ignore his bite history (which they shouldn't).  This dog should be humanely euthanized so he is no longer a risk to himself or others.  My clients are devastated, but may choose to have him euthanized here because they don't want anyone else to go through the trauma and heartbreak they just did. So, why am I telling you this?

This pandemic has led to thousands of people seeking puppies and dogs to add to their homes.  Most felt that the best time to acquire a new four-legged companion was when everyone was home and sheltering in place.  The problem with this logic is that everyone and his brother were looking for dogs at the same time.  The best breeders I know have long waiting lists and had long waiting lists pre-COVID.  Their waiting lists now are even longer, some with lists running a couple of years out.  The unfortunate result of this is that many prospective dog owners got a bit desperate and disheartened and turned to puppy brokers (who get their puppies from puppy mills and backyard breeders) and less reputable sources to acquire their dogs.  Many looking to rescue, ended up getting their dogs from shelters and rescue groups out of state and even out of the country!  The result of this is we are now seeing a lot of puppies and dogs with significant medical and behavioral issues.  One of my clients had to euthanize her German Shepherd puppy because he had multiple organ failure at the tender age of 4 months old!  She'd had him exactly 4 weeks, during which time he'd been sick and hospitalized and she'd spent a small fortune trying to save him. Another client put down a hefty deposit on a Goldendoodle puppy that his family had chosen from photos and videos.  When it came time to ship the puppy, it turns out that those photos and videos weren't of available puppies, but puppies belonging to some other breeder. Now he can't get his phone calls returned and likely won't see his money either.  Plus, his kids aren't getting their puppy.  There is also the client who picked a male puppy using the guidelines I'd suggested for their family, only to be shipped a female puppy with significant medical and behavioral issues.  The breeder's response to their query as to why they received this puppy and not the one they'd chosen and put down a deposit on?  She said that she knew what was best for her puppies and the fact that they had a lot of resources here in California would be best for this puppy as they could afford to care for it.  I was shocked.  Now we have "breeders" deciding who can and can't afford extensive care?! Unbelievable.

If you are getting the feeling that I'm really aggravated and annoyed by all of this, you are right.  I hate seeing prospective dog owners get taken for a ride.  I hate that there are unsavory characters out there breeding dogs simply for profit, without any concern for ethical breeding practices, health guarantees, genetic testing, etc.  I know there isn't an easy solution to this problem other than to remind prospective dog owners not to impulse buy.  Do the research.  Expect to be interviewed and interview them as well. Ask for references and follow up on those.  While it's fine to research breeds you might like on the AKC website, just being a breeder listed on there doesn't make them "the best." Joining social media groups that center on the breed you are interested in is a great way to network and find out what the care and keeping of that breed entails from people who are doing it.  Asking where they got their dogs and networking that way is fine too, just don't expect to get a dog within a few weeks to months. It's going to take longer and the disreputable folks in those groups can smell desperation a mile away. 

Acquiring a dog is a long term investment; you will be investing time, energy, and money into helping your dog be the best that he can be.  You need to start with a good hand, so to speak.  If the deck is stacked against you before your puppy even arrives, it's a recipe for failure.  My plan is to continue to coach prospective owners on what to look for in breeders, rescue groups, and shelters.  I will continue to encourage them to use science and not just emotion to pick their dogs.  There is a reason that I do breed counseling sessions with people; you can choose a dog scientifically, using my questionnaires that ferret out what you are truly looking for in a canine companion so that the choice you make is sound.  Even choosing between a male and female puppy can have impact, and birth order of the puppies is important too.  Looking at breeders who use systems like "Puppy Culture" is definitely a plus, but there are plenty of conscientious breeders who use other systems and produce lovely, well-adjusted, healthy dogs. 

These pandemic dogs are an interesting cohort.  Scientists will be studying them for years to come.  They are dogs who live with their people 24/7 as folks work from home; they are dogs who have never been left alone, ever; they have been walked in neighborhoods where people cross the street to avoid one another; and they've been far less socialized with other dogs with the absence puppy and dog training classes.  How these dogs turn out in the long run remains to be seen. I remain hopeful that dogs are as resilient as I've always known them to be and that these pandemic pooches will teach us all about unwavering love, companionship, and the bonds that tie us together. 

As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me.

A pandemic puppy I met a few months ago!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Solutions for Strained Relationships!

 I spoke with a client early in the week.  Well, actually, she spoke and I listened. You see, she and her husband of 42 years have been locked down together since March.  They aren't getting along so well and neither are their pets (two dogs and a cat).  After spilling all the details, she sheepishly said, "This is all confidential, right? I just told you more than I've even told my kids!" I laughed and said that indeed, her thoughts and concerns were safe with me and while I won't even begin to try to deal with tense human relationships, I am more than happy to dive right into the relationship stress occurring among her pets.  Funny thing though. I'm pretty sure if she and her husband can gain some perspective and cut each other a bit of slack, that will take the pressure not only off of their relationship, but the one with and among their pets as well.  You see, I think in this household (and probably in a lot of households) the current drama between the two dogs and the cat are simply a reflection of the obvious strain with the two humans being locked down together 24/7 during a global pandemic.  If you or someone you know is having similar issues, here are my thoughts on turning those strained relationships around to get back on an even keel:

1. Exercise: Turns out that these two people hadn't been getting much exercise because their kids told them it wasn't safe to do so.  I'm no expert, but I know how important exercise is not only to physical health, but psychological well-being. I suggested masks and face shields if that would ease her kids' minds, and walking really early in the day before most folks are even up and about.  They can walk together, or they can walk separately, but they need to take the two dogs with them. Those dogs need to get out of the house and out of the yard too!

2.  Play:  Games keep human minds active and engaged, same for our pets.  I suggested getting a flirt pole to play with the dogs one-on-one in the yard.  That way, the dogs can get exercise at home too.  I suggested a kids wading pool filled with clean dirt or sand where treats like carrots could be buried for the dogs to find.  

3.  Puzzles:  You all already know how much I love puzzle toys for cats and dogs.  For the cat in this house, I suggested some cubbies and shelves on a wall for the cat to move around well above the dogs.  This poor cat had been trying to get to her window perch for weeks and been unable to do so as one dog would block her and then chase her away.  The vertical spaces that only she can use mean she'll easily be able to get to her window perch and that will take all the fun out of blocking that space and chasing her. For the dog who has been chasing the cat, that flirt pole will do wonders.  Both dogs were gobbling their food, so I suggested putting their food into puzzle toys that they had to work at to get the food out.  One dog can do the toy inside while the other is outside to insure the dogs aren't squabbling over the puzzles. 

4.  Alone time:  Everyone needs some alone time, dogs and cats are no exception.  Crate trained dogs can be put in their crates to rest during the day, or they can simply be confined to a room with a cushy spot to nap.  Cats need access to spaces that dogs can't get to, so putting up a gate in the doorway to the study means that my client's cat can get into that room, lay on the couch or computer keyboard, get to her favorite scratching post, and use her litter box in peace and without canine interference. 

5.  Let the pets sort it out:  Other than protecting the cat from being chased, I asked the owner to let the animals sort out most of their issues without intervening.  Her two dogs weren't fighting per se; what they were doing is squabbling.  Both would want the same toy and inevitably one of the dogs would growl and snap and then take off with the toy to hide behind the couch.  Given that the response to this by the other dog was to find something else to do, I didn't see any problem here really.  They sorted out the problem on their own and there were no lasting implications.  There had been one doorway skirmish when both dogs tried to go through the sliding door at the same time and snapped at each other. What happened?  Nothing.  They snapped, shook it off, and went off to sniff separate areas of the yard.  Honestly, the dogs seemed to be doing better with their "tiffs" than the humans!

6.  Control the resources:  All of the animals in this home are allowed on the furniture.  The problem with this is that her husband doesn't like that one of the dogs grumbles at him if he sits near his wife.  The wife admitted that she found this hilarious and didn't see a problem with it. I reminded her that if the dog were growling at her, she wouldn't think it was so funny. Plus, the growling dog was upsetting the other dog who then chased the cat, and then everyone was upset.  I suggested that she get the grumbling dog off of the couch when her husband came to sit down.  Once he was seated, the dog could be invited back up; if he growled though, he was off the couch for the rest of the night.  Humans must be in control of the resources and their use, not the pets.  And no one should be using a pet as a means of getting back at another person. 

The bottom line is this:  Tension between humans can create tension between our pets as well.  You don't have to jump right in and break up every negative interaction though.  Let it play out and see if it's serious or just some minor altercation that your pets can sort out on their own. I'm not advocating for letting dogs fight until someone gets hurt, or allowing dogs to torment a cat.  On the contrary, what I'm suggesting is relying on pets that share space to sort out their conflicts without intervening unless necessary. Oftentimes when humans intervene, we make it worse.  We make a bully feel empowered, or inadvertently add to the fear and anxiety of a nervous pet.  Better to see if they can resolve their issues on their own but still under our watchful eye.

So, remember to get plenty of exercise, rest and recharge when you need to.  Play everyday and challenge your brain with a puzzle.  Drink plenty of water and keep an eye on diet as food should be enriching, not a crutch.  And this is advice for you and your pets.  We are all social living creatures after all. 

As always, if you are having a problem with your pet's behavior, you know where to find me.

Ozzie will always be my couch buddy, even if he is a bit weird with the licking ;)

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Are You Thinking About a Second Dog?

 I have had several calls and emails this week from people who are either getting, or thinking about getting, a second dog for their home.  A few of these brave, dog-loving souls actually got their first puppy at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and are feeling like adding a second puppy to their family over the holidays!  This got me to thinking about the challenges we face in multi-dog households, both those where there is a young, resident dog when the new puppy arrives, and those where there is an older dog in residence when the newcomer joins the family.  So, let's talk about multi-dog households.

First off, the only reason to add a second canine family member is because you, the humans, want to do so.  Never feel like you need to add a second dog for the benefit of your first dog.  While dogs are indeed social creatures, and many do enjoy playing with other dogs, there is no reason that they can't get in their desired amount of socializing and play with other dogs at daycare, playdates, and the dog park.  The truth of the matter is this...dogs don't necessarily like to share their resources with other dogs.  If you add a second dog to your family, your first dog will be competing with that newcomer for your time, your attention, the treats, toys, etc.  While you may feel that you have enough love to go around (and plenty of treats and toys!), your resident dog may feel otherwise.  For dogs it really isn't about being equitable or fair; it's about garnering resources for themselves.  Dogs are competitive, it's a fact.  So, if you are adding a second dog, be ready to deal with those two dogs competing for your love and your attention.  

There are definitely things you can do to make this new situation get off to a good start.  First, crate train your new arrival.  Crate training means your resident dog will get breaks throughout the day while your puppy naps, and at night.  These breaks are good for recharging batteries and for getting a bit of extra attention for being such patient older dog "sibling."  Don't hesitate to put your puppy in a crate or x-pen for a time out if he or she is relentlessly pursuing your resident dog; while most dogs are quite patient with puppies, they will get fed up if their warnings aren't being heeded. And some dogs will put up with a ridiculous amount of hassling by a puppy and can really use your help to get a break in the action. And do let your resident dogs correct those puppies; puppies need to learn boundaries and that's part of your resident dog's role in the raising of this new puppy.  Remember to feed your resident dog first, give them the treats first, and attend to them first as is their due as the first dog in your home.  Puppies take a lot of time and resources to raise, but you certainly don't want to neglect the needs and desires of your first dog.

It is also important to really think about the specifics of the second dog you are adding to your home.  If your resident dog is female, then best to add a male as your second dog. It isn't that two females (or two males, for that matter) can't get along, it just means you are hedging your bets.  Two dogs of the same sex will be more competitive with one another as the resources they consider most valuable will be the same. Thus, male dogs tend to be more concerned with their territory, and thus might feel extra competitive toward another male on their home turf.  Female dogs are more concerned with their tangible resources and thus two female dogs might get into a squabble over the best spot to lay on your bed.

If your resident dog is quite a bit older than your newcomer, the addition of a puppy might indeed perk them up a bit, but it will also be a lot of work for them to compete on that level.  Be sure to give your older dog access to areas the younger dog can't go so that your older dog can safely and comfortably rest without disturbance.  Even if you have an older puppy and you're adding a younger puppy, that older puppy will still need some alone time with you to work on training, expectations, and boundaries that are age appropriate to the their needs as well.

Which brings us to my next point.  If you will have two dogs within the 12-18 month range of age in your home at the same time, you must train them separately as well as together.  They need to train together so that they learn to work under distractions.  They need to train separately to make sure they know their own names, what the tasks you are asking them to do actually mean, etc. Observational learning is a big component of learning in dogs, and you want to make sure that what your new puppy observes and imitates is what you want to have happening long term!

And if you have a resident cat and you're thinking about adding a dog, keep the following in mind.  While it is the case that, for the most part, dogs and cats can get along and coexist successfully in the same household, there is a small percentage of cases where they simply do not get along, regardless of what you do. It definitely works better if that cat is in the house first before the dog arrives.  And research shows that kittens and young cats are more accepting of puppies than are older cats. Obviously, if you have a rambunctious puppy constantly chasing an older cat, this is a relationship being built on anxiety and contention. Put your energy into making your older cat feel more comfortable with the new dog by confining the dog or keeping him on leash more thus allowing your cat more control over the "getting to know you" process.  And if your cat is food motivated, don't hesitate to break out the good snacks to reinforce coexistence with the new dog.  Cats should also be provided with plenty of vertical escape routes to get away from the dog.

Finally, just because your resident dog is super-playful at playdates etc. doesn't mean he wants to play 24/7 at home with a new puppy.  As dogs move through adolescence to adulthood, play becomes less important. In fact, adult dogs rarely engage in play with dogs they don't already know and the play they do engage in is short in duration.  Thus even a 3-7 year old, active young dog will be less than thrilled to have to babysit and entertain a puppy under a year of age day in and day out.

Your success with adding a second dog to your home will depend on a number of factors including the age, sex, temperament, breed, and training of your resident dog.  While adding a second dog is a bit more complex, it isn't impossible to do.  I myself like living in a multidog household and have for more than 30 years. I work with my dogs as individuals on their training and they each have activities that they do with me all on their own.  They share dog beds, toys and water bowls without issue and yes, they do vie for my attention daily.  I make sure they both get what they need.  Do I think Desi was excited about getting a puppy when we got Ozzie? Not in the least, but he and Ozzie are friendly and have an amicable relationship.  Do I think that either Desi or Ozzie were thrilled when my daughter got her young smooth collie? Not at all.  They definitely saw him as a competitor as was evidenced by all the pushing, shoving and grumbling that went on in order to establish rules with the young smoothie.  But now Ozzie and Westley are buddies that enjoy running and playing together.  Desi doesn't enjoy those activities at all and simply removes himself if it gets too rowdy. 

Just remember to take the introduction of your new puppy to your resident dog slowly.  Introduce them on neutral ground if you are worried about your resident dog being territorial on meeting. You can put the puppy in her crate or in an x-pen in a common room and let your resident dog move around that crate and pen at their leisure and comfort level to learn about the new arrival.  This also allows your new puppy to get their bearings and learn to trust your resident dog and you to make sure that this new relationship gets off to a great start.

As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me.

The three amigos and all of their toys!