Welcome back to "The Animal House." I'm Sam Litzinger with Dr. Gary Weitzman of the San Diego Humane Society. What? What?
I know, how did that happen?
What? I'm -- is there something you'd like to tell us?
I'm more surprised than anybody listening. (laugh)
Tell us about this, because people may be surprised that you're heading to your sort of land of origins.
Yeah. The land of origins, so to speak. Yeah. It's been 10 years in Washington...
...and I'm absolutely and forever in love with the Washington Animal Rescue League.
So we're not getting ready of you, really.
Absolutely not. Absolutely not. But now just a little bit of a new challenge out in San Diego, running their very large shelter.
I hear San Diego's kind of a nice little town.
I've heard it's nice.
Yeah. I was just checking.
(laugh) I've heard that.
Would you report back to us...
I will. I certainly will.
...after you get out there and get situated?
I'll give everybody here when it's, what, 95 degrees and 6,000 percent humidity an update.
And Gary will call us from the beach saying, oh, it's nice out here. I don't know what the problem is. You can call us, if you'd like, Gary can call us, 1-877-610-3647 if you have an animal related question. You can send your question via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, the telephone number is 877-610-3647. You can email email@example.com. Don't forget to visit our Animal House Facebook page to see animal news, videos, and our Animal of the Day. So Gary is still joining from San Diego, by the way.
We're not getting rid of the guy. I mean, we love him, we're not getting rid of him at all. Let's take a telephone call from Carol. Carol, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
I do. I'm calling today about my Goldendoodle.
Oh, those are great.
She is. She's a wonderful dog. Best dog I've ever had.
What's her name, by the way, Carol?
Her name is Elizabeth Katie Stanton.
(laugh) Oh, great.
Named after a historical figure, that's great.
Wait a minute, who was Elizabeth Katie Stanton?
Do you want to tell him who Elizabeth Katie Stanton was, Carol?
She was a woman suffragette and she was...
We always have named our dogs -- we've always had females, and we've always named them after women in history. We had Eleanor Roosevelt, we had Dolly Madison, and we... (laugh)
Hey, I've got Betty Crocker, does that count? (laugh) What about fictional women?
Well, that's historical.
And delicious. So, okay. Is there a problem with Elizabeth Katie Stanton?
Yes. We call her Katie, and Katie is about three years old. She weighs about 65 pounds, and she is a wonderful dog, but the problem we are having with her is that we are on the road a lot, we travel a lot. My husband and I are retired, and we take her everywhere we go. You know, you get the car keys and you're ready to go and she is right there with you, and you get on the road, and about two minutes after you're on the road, she starts to shake and claw...
...claws her way up onto your lap, hides -- buries her head under your arm, and this is a 65-pound dog.
Yeah. And that is not suffragette behavior at all.
Yeah. And you don't want to do that when you're driving.
When she's -- when there's no passenger for her to get on their lap, she will get in the passenger seat and turn around and ride backwards.
Oh, okay. Okay. That's not working.
Okay. So for the time being, until this is solved, I'm going to suggest to you not to put her in the car at all unless you have, Heaven forbid, an emergency.
Because Katie's not really into this, unfortunately.
She thinks it's a good idea, and then you get in the car, not so much.
In theory she's really excited about the idea, Carol...
In theory, that's right.
...but in practice, not so much.
Has she gotten worse at this?
No, not really.
She's been like -- we -- we got her two states from here, we brought her home, and this has always been her behavior.
Oh, and how old is she now?
She's three years old now.
Oh, she's still a baby, okay.
Yeah. Yeah. She is a baby.
The good news is, it's potentially fixable. We do have a number of dogs we know, we work with them at the shelter. We've got great behaviorists back at the Washington Animal Rescue League that do a lot of this, and trainers, but, you know, when a dog doesn't want to go through the car ride, it's very difficult to convince them that it's an okay thing for them to be in. It's like taking someone with horrific fear of flying and putting them on, you know, a plane to, you know, whatever, to India.
Welcome to my world. Thank you. Yeah, okay.
Okay. There you go. So how much training would it take, Sam, to get you to be comfortable in a 747?
Oh, boy. I would need a lot of treats and a lot of positive reinforcement, I'll tell you.
So can you do something like that with Katie?
That's absolutely it, positive reinforcement and treats. Bribe with food and confuse and then trick the dog. That's the way you get a dog to be used to a car.
Sorry, Carol. He's suggesting you manipulate Katie here.
I am. We have to manipulate. And I'm not even going to go so far as to say that it's gonna be easy to do or successful, but here's in a nutshell what you're gonna need to do. Convince her that the car is absolutely okay, and that's by getting her into it but not going anywhere, for really, honestly, maybe two months. I mean, unless again, you have an emergency, do not turn that motor on. You're gonna go very slow, make it really an okay place for her. Go in, you go in, everybody sit where they need to sit, give her a treat, get out, and do that until August.
Then the next step, and you're gonna think this is gonna take the rest of your life, turn the car on. (laugh) Okay? Anyway, you see where I'm going with this. And what I want you to do is not go anywhere with her until she really is comfortable in that car. And I know you said that it takes a few minutes for reality to sink in for her, and she's panicked about being in there, but you really still have to start very slowly, and if you're lucky enough to have a car with a good back area that you could put the seats down and you can get a crate, that would be the best thing for you to do for Katie, because you could put her toys in there, you could put her bed in there, get her really happy with the crate, and keep here in there, because the one thing I don't want you to do is to give her free roam of that car, because she's really -- she's gonna hit that gas pedal, or she's gonna land in someone's lap at the wrong time and it's just gonna be -- it could really be tragic.
So if you can, go very slow. If you can put a crate in the back of your car, or get an Xterra or what's that great Honda car, the Element, that's made for dogs, you can hose the whole thing out. Get a -- I don't know if you can do that, Carol, if you can get a crate back there, but...
Well, we have a van, so yeah.
Well, yeah, okay.
I have a soft-side crate, I can put her in.
Get her used to the crate at home first. Do it...
...take a couple weeks to do that. Make it a fun place. Don't close that door, lots of treats, positive reinforcement. Get that crate out to the car, get her in there, get her out of it. Feel like you're, you know, you're gonna take the rest of your life to do this, but you're just gonna try to maximize the chances of her associating the car with good and wonderful things, and not movement. And then my last bit of advice is, if for some reason this girl is getting nauseous in the car, but maybe not having the ultimate, you know, just the penultimate response to nausea, but not actually throwing up, then you'll have to deal with that, but it doesn't sound like she's getting car sick.
She's not getting motion sick, but, you know...
...I think it's odd that she turns around when she's sitting on that seat by herself. It's like maybe the motion coming toward her does makes her sick.
It's hard to know. It really is. It's hard to know. I think that for her, this girl's gonna be -- if you're set on going somewhere, put the crate in. That's gonna be your salvation.
And honestly, you know, don't ever rule out, get a good private trainer in to give you a hand with this too, because that can help too, but try these simple...
...things to start.
We'll talk to you again in a couple of months then. Be optimistic, Carol.
Okay. Thank you so much.
All right. Thank you.
Our telephone number is 877-610-3647. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's take a phone call from Lola. Lola, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yeah. I have two Portuguese Water Dogs.
Good for you.
One is older and is perfectly well-behaved. The younger one is a year old and she wants to talk or kind of whine even though everything is going great. Like she just lays beside you happy as can be and does this whining thing, which now the super well-behaved one is trying to do the exact same thing.
(laugh) They're all trying to have conversations. Now what are their names, by the way, so we can identify them? The older one is named what?
Puppy? The older one is named Puppy.
I know. I know.
Well, that's what they're whining about.
Well, no. You're like me, Carol -- Lola, rather. At some point you just kind of said, you know what, let's call him Mr. Kitty, that'll be fine.
You know, I'm not a good dog or animal namer, you know.
The bird is Bird, and the dog was Puppy, okay?
Right. It's -- all right. So Puppy...
Well, if the younger is named Dog, then we're in trouble.
(laugh) What is the younger one named?
Oh, okay. All right. You got a little more creative there.
Okay. Well, that was good.
You went sci-fi on us. Okay.
Yeah. All right. So what do we do here?
About Nano and Puppy. Now, I'm gonna get it all confused. Okay. Puppy's older.
Puppy is older, Nano is younger.
So Nano has taught...
Puppy is perfectly behaved.
Puppy's perfectly behaved, but now Puppy is whining because Nano's taught Puppy to whine.
Okay. Interesting. We actually...
I'm making a diagram here as we speak.
I need a diagram.
I can't just pull the chart down.
Okay. Go ahead, yeah.
Yeah. We've covered Mendel, and now we're doing algorithms.
Well, we got everything now. Okay.
So okay. We actually maximize this and take full advantage of the fact that dogs can teach dogs and cats can teach cats at the shelter, because...
For good or for evil, I'm afraid. Yeah.
Yeah. Evidently for evil too. We try to do it for good in the shelter, so if we have a dog that's not that socialized, but not threatened by other dogs, we'll put a dog with that dog and it'll bring out the dog a little bit more, or bring out the puppy a little bit more. In this case, you've experienced not necessarily a positive improvement in Puppy, because now Puppy is making as much noise. It's gonna be tough. You're gonna have to figure out what is causing all this to happen in the first place, but it doesn't -- I'm gonna actually cut to the chase on that, and you're probably never gonna figure that out.
Because it's tough. Who knows what makes dogs do whatever they do, frankly. But what they're both doing is they're becoming the definition of reactive, because for whatever reason, somebody is getting stimulated and then their behaviors are happening in the wrong direction, and that's a reactive dog. So whether it's that a dog is barking and pulling at the leash over another dog that they see, or a child, or -- Heaven forbid a child, but -- or a group of people, or the mailman coming to the door, that's a reactive experience, and we don't really love those to happen with us, because it's usually the wrong direction that we want a dog to behave in.
So what you're gonna need to do is actually teach these two not to be so reactive, and that's gonna mean they have to listen to you when you tell them to quiet down, and best of luck with that, because I'll tell you, I've been trying for years and years with my two dogs in the car to get them to quiet down, and it is tough. I've done everything from putting a mask on my older dog because if he can't see, he quiets down, and actually those are, you know, very well condoned behavioral or training techniques.
And tolerated by them well.
And tolerated pretty well. And it does work to some extent. I've tried separating the dogs. I've tried walking, you know, the heck out of them before we even get into the car, and it is tough, because once they start, it just - it escalates. So the thing I'll tell you...
Like it sounds like three year olds in the backseat, or two years olds.
It is three year olds. That's exactly what it is. And it's really hard to get through to them when they're doing this. And also, you're going crazy.
I'm gonna stop this car. I'm going to stop this car.
I'm coming back there. (laugh) It's really tough.
So Lola, the thing to do is to get these animals just to calm by your command, and that's really through positive reinforcement. Get them to back up, you know, we've talked about that on this show a few times, you know, get your dogs to back up and look at you and concentrate and try to -- try to really redirect their attention into something more productive. Now, we didn't even give you a chance to say if you minded all of this whining, but I suppose that's kind of a rhetorical question.
It's -- well, it's not too bad, I'm just worried that the negative behaviors that Nano is showing, that Puppy is gonna do more of them. Because like right now, you say anything and the older one will just do it. Go to your cage, sit down, lay down, she'll do all of those. And then Nano is like -- we're not sure if she's not as smart as the older one...
Ah, yes. I love that. But I'm sure she's sweet.
Or -- she's very sweet.
You know, she's -- and she's a much physically smaller dog. She's like...
And how old is she?
Oh, she's already one.
Just a little over one.
Have you done training, basic obedience training with her?
I've done one session. I'm thinking that I need to go back. I think that might...
You know what, that might be -- that might be a better idea than trying to deal with both of them being reactive, because Nano is teaching Puppy to do these other behaviors, and it's gonna be hard to try to translate that into human so you can get Puppy to stop doing it.
Or go from human to canine in your language skills.
I think training Nano and getting her to be the best possible dog she can be is probably gonna be the most successful route for you to control these two dogs. So go to a CPDT trainer, Certified Pet Dog Trainer.
Positive reinforcement only, and let's get Nano trained, and then why don't you call us back in, say, two months, and we'll try to come up with something else.
I will. I'll do exactly that. Thanks so much.
Okay. Good luck. I love the names.
Thanks, Lola. Because I can see the dogs having this conversation.
The dogs are listening.
Right. With Nano -- Nano saying, now look, when I do this, it really annoys the humans, so might want to learn how to do this too.
I know. It gets their attention. That's the other thing, too, it does get our attention.
Dr. Gary Weitzman will return with answers to more questions later in the program. Our telephone number is 1-877-610-3647.
This is "The Animal House" Dateline. I'm Karen Munson.
Since I retired I've been able to devote even more time to work on behalf of animals.
That's retired game show host, Bob Barker, who visited northwest Louisiana recently to open a new area at Chimp Haven, a national chimpanzee sanctuary. Barker has given over a half million dollars to the facility which is named after him. Suffolk County New York has activated America's first animal abuser registry which will publicize the names, addresses, and photographs of convicted animal abuses.
The law also requires pet stores, breeders, and animal shelters to check the registry and not sell or adopt animals to anyone on it. An American faces possible animal cruelty charges for abandoning 15 cats at an Italian airport because they weren't allowed on his flight. The man wanted to travel from Rome to New York with 19 animals, but officials told him he could only take four, he simply dumped the others in the airport's arrivals terminal.
And that's the voice of pop singer, Chris Brown, whose career is going to the dogs, literally. Brown is stirring controversy for breeding Pit Bulls and selling them for $1,000 each, angering animal rights activists who want him to promote puppy adoptions instead. And in Japan, a pet parakeet was returned to its owner after the lost bird told the police its home address near Tokyo. The bird's companion, a 64-year-old woman, once lost another parakeet after it flew away and she was determined to prevent a repeat, so she decided to teach the address to her new Parakeet after she bought it two years ago. For more information on these stories, visit wamuanimalhouse.org.
Coming up, conservationist and photographer, Ian McAllister talks about protecting the animals of an ancient rainforest in "The Animal House."
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