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I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

Diamonds in the Ruff

We all want our pets to live long and healthy lives - the best way to make that happen is to provide a healthy diet, plenty of exercise and reduce stress in their lives.  If your normally good natured dog suddenly becomes irritable, look to his health first. A visit to your veterinarian may be the answer. 


A tired dog is a good dog?  There is a right and wrong way to exercise your dog.  Over exercising and over feeding young puppies can cause serious injuries to their growing bone structure.  Your attempt at making them healthy may actually cause a future of health problems and a lifetime of pain.  Your busy, frenetic dog needs to learn to relax as much as he needs to be "worn out."


Exercise puppies carefully

Running with your dog


Often behavior issues and physical issues overlap.  A dog who isn't getting enough exercise may act out in a number of ways.  A dog with chronic discomfort or pain may show uncharicteristic behavior as well.  Increasing exercise might help a stir crazy under-exercized dog.  But if you start a major physical regime with a dog who is acting out because of pain, you could do real damage.  See your veterinarian first.


When the chronic stress or pain result in behavior changes, you must first address the physical issue with your veterinarian and then follow through to work through the residual behavior habits with your trainer.

Healthy Pets are Happy Pets

Local resources for canine physical therapy:


Animal Wellness Connection, LLC

PhysioPaws - Dr. Sonni Gilbert



Training?  Behavior Modification? 
Or does your dog need Veterinary medical support?
  Or all three?

  • There are dog trainers. 
    And there are trainers who have studied to work as behavior consultants and behavior modification specialists.

  • There are veterinarians. 
    And there are veterinarians who specialize in behavior.  And there are a growing number veterinary behaviorists with a degree - but they are harder to find and often require long-distance consults. 


Veterinarians are often the first person a pet owner asks for behavior advice, even though their DVM's field of expertise is physical health, not behavior and training.   We are thrilled to be working in conjunction with Dr. Megan Cathey DVM of ABC Behavior Consulting who works with Diamonds in the Ruff behavior consultants to create a complete behavior work-up for you and your pets' needs.

Dog trainers specialize in teaching manners, skills, and putting behavior on cue - resolving unwanted habits through training.  The focus is on operant behavior.  The resolution of behavior issues that stem from emotional responses like fear, anxiety, and aggression goes far beyond teaching cues and training.  Not all dog trainers are knowledgable enough to develop a comprehensive behavior modification plan.  Teaching a growling dog to be quiet can make him MORE dangerous, not less.  When there is an emotional component, the answer is desensitization and classical counter conditioning.  The art of changing emotional states and conditioned associations takes a different skillset than that of a basic obedience instructor.


A dog trainer can help you teach your dog to go in his crate on cue.  A behavior specialist can help address the emotional component and confidence building for the dog who is afraid to be left alone.  The behavior modification plan may be mediated by non-prescription interventions like Thundershirts, over-the-counter calming supplements, DAP sprays, etc.  But when separation stress becomes true separation anxiety - which is a panic disorder, not a training issue - you may need the help of prescription medication under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian.  In this case, you need a triage of care:  you, your behavior/training specialist, and your veterinarian working together to come up with solutions and support for your troubled dog.


THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL that fixes problem behavior.  Basic training takes practice, dedication, patience and time.
Developing and implementing a behavior modification plan requires the above PLUS attention to detail and dedication to follow the plan as directed.  Medication FACILITATES behavior modification.  It doesn't fix problem behavior.  It can make it possible for behavior to change, with the help of your behavior consultant. and by following their behavior protocols, in addition to the recommended Rx by your veterinarian.


Howard in his Thundershirt.

This handout may be reprinted in its entirety for distribution free of charge and with full credit given:  © CAROL A. BYRNES "DIAMONDS IN THE RUFF" Training for Dogs & Their People -ditr_training @ -

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