Animal Behavior Wellness Center

Animal Behavior Wellness Center

Comments

The love of a dog is like no other. RIP Champ... have fun at the Rainbow bridge with all your friends. Run free.
Is there a list somewhere on the internet for all BCVBs that I can post on my Boxer pages. There a lot of folks who need help.
Don't delay! The stands are out and selling fireworks already.
On December 9th, Shireen Singh's beloved Caesar crossed the bridge into heaven, leaving us completely heart broken. He went into the local vet for a routine neuter and was tragically taken from us. The chief veterinarian of a popular vet in Springfield, VA botched his surgery by removing the wrong organ and blocking blood supply to his bladder. He endured two days of unimaginable pain before we were told what happened, minutes before his death.

We wake up to an emptiness that cannot be described. He was my faithful companion who brought love, laughter, and purpose into my life. At this time, we desperately need love from our community. In his memory, please join us for a socially distanced candlelight vigil with your loved ones. Candles will be provided; please feel free to bring your own.

#justiceforcaesar
Excellent presentation at the Aggression in Dog Conference just now! Thank you Dr. Amy Pike!
Will you help us understand how dog eating behavior and what they like to eat may change with age? It's free and you get a free sample of moist food!
Need help training your dog? We still have spots left for Saturday's class with Courtney!
#abwellnesscenter
Curious! This video came up about a friendship between a dog and cat who love each other. Is this dog comfortable with this "loving" relationship? Am I reading it wrong that the dog is at most tolerating it while tense? https://www.facebook.com/FourNine/videos/965380450475040/
Happy Birthday! 🍾🍾🍾🎂🎂🎂
We can hardly wait for our appointment next week!!!! Dr. Amy L. Pike, Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist!!
Congratulations. Miss you here in St. Louis, but wish you great success at your new location.
Desmo in action ( episode was too long ran out of tape)

Animal Behavior Wellness Center

Operating as usual

10/17/2021

Happy Vet Tech/Nurse appreciation week! Drs Pike, Learn and Ropski would be nothing without our amazing nurses, assistants, trainers, client care reps and practice manager too! We love our team and are excited to celebrate them this week! Post a comment if you agree and anything you want us to pass along to ABWC's amazing staff...

Happy Vet Tech/Nurse appreciation week! Drs Pike, Learn and Ropski would be nothing without our amazing nurses, assistants, trainers, client care reps and practice manager too! We love our team and are excited to celebrate them this week! Post a comment if you agree and anything you want us to pass along to ABWC's amazing staff...

10/06/2021

Trainer Bethany Poese does a beautiful job in this response to the recent article stating that owners with anxiety are likely to have pets with it too. I also find that owners who have never had anxiety dont tend to recognize it in their pets and they are less apt to take it seriously or want to treat it. So, while there may be a higher % of anxious people who "have" anxious pets, its more likely because they have recognized it, empathize with them, and seek treatment for it!

If you've been on dog-related Facebook lately, you've probably seen the article floating around by Dr. Hal Herzog, titled "Why do anxious owners tend to have anxious dogs?" As with most scientific articles, the idea of correlation vs. causation is a complicated grey area, and don't exactly mince words when it comes to owner's "neuroticism." (I'll link the article in the comments.)

Let me be clear about one thing: We will NEVER blame you for your dog's anxiety, fear, or aggression. Full stop.

If you want to stop reading here, feel free. You've got the main point.

Let's get in to it a bit, though, if you want to journey down this path with me.

I see a lot of dogs, of course, but I see even more humans. I see humans who are the goofy Labrador equivalent - they go with the flow, make new friends, takes a lot to stress them out, social butterfly types. I also see humans who are the nervy Border Collies of the bunch - pessimistic, paranoid, hyper aware of the environment, vibrating in their skin. I don't know their histories in as great of detail as I know their dog's, but here's the thing: it doesn't matter.

Just like I've learned to train the dog in front of me, I've learned to work with the human in front of me, too.

If you are no stranger to anxiety, I probably don't need to spend much time explaining your dog's anxiety to you - you already get it, on a visceral level. We'll focus our energy on feeling more confident, knowing what to do in possible situations, deep breathing, and relaxing our grip on the leash.

If you have never had a panic attack, if you don't live with chronic mental health struggles, you probably don't get it - and that's okay, I wish we could all be so lucky! But it means we'll spend more time explaining how your dog might be feeling, how we can tell how they're feeling, and why we don't want to push them further than they can handle. You probably won't need much of the handler confidence building, but you aren't magically a perfect handler!

Owners who reach out for help with their anxious dogs are often already feeling enough guilt, shame, blame, anxiety, and fear - a trainer telling you that if you weren't so anxious, your dog wouldn't be anxious? It's not helpful, and in more cases than not, it's harmful to your confidence and relationship with your dog. I'm here to help strengthen that relationship, not tear it down.

Whether you've dealt with anxiety your entire life (hello, you're in good company with us!), only started struggling with anxiety after having a traumatic experience with a prior anxious or aggressive dog (valid!), get anxious when your dog gets anxious, need help reading your dog's anxiety because you just don't get it: we're here for you.

If your dog only spirals when you spiral, if your dog isn't even aware you HAVE emotions, if your dog amps up when you amp up, if your dog has never had a bad day in it's life: we're here for you.

When we start working with anxious or aggressive dogs, we are always focused on changing their emotions. We don't just try to stop or change behavior - we know that as we address the underlying emotions, teach safe and doable alternative behaviors, manage the environment, and give our dogs time to decompress, that outward "problem" behavior often takes care of itself.

We apply that same process to our human learners.

No judgement.
No pointing out flaws or faults.
Supportive, empathetic training for both ends of the leash.
Promise.

💜

Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Amy Pike on separation anxiety in cats 10/01/2021

Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Amy Pike on separation anxiety in cats

Dr Pike discusses cats and separation anxiety with radio host Steve Dale ! Take a listen! #catbehavior #decodingyourcat #vetbehavior

Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Amy Pike on separation anxiety in cats Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Amy Pike and pet expert Steve Dale on separation anxiety in cats and Decoding Your Cat authored by vet behaviorists

Photos from Animal Behavior Wellness Center's post 09/07/2021

We recently had this cute little ferret friend, named "Why," come visit our office! She was quite the explorer, as all good ferrets should be!

07/03/2021

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XG2ZSZY

As always, ABWC is doing what we can to provide our families with the best in behavioral medicine, training, and emotional support. In order to help us better serve you, please take a few minutes to complete our survey on Board and Train Facilities. Thank you in advance for your help! (Cute cats for attention!)

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XG2ZSZY

As always, ABWC is doing what we can to provide our families with the best in behavioral medicine, training, and emotional support. In order to help us better serve you, please take a few minutes to complete our survey on Board and Train Facilities. Thank you in advance for your help! (Cute cats for attention!)

05/31/2021

On this Memorial Day, we at ABWC thank those soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, including those 4-legged soldiers. All gave some, some gave all.
*Note- ABWC is closed in observance of Memorial Day and will reopen on Tuesday.

On this Memorial Day, we at ABWC thank those soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, including those 4-legged soldiers. All gave some, some gave all.
*Note- ABWC is closed in observance of Memorial Day and will reopen on Tuesday.

05/15/2021

Not only great parenting here, but a wonderful way to think about muzzles too! #muzzleupproject #vetbehavior

Not only great parenting here, but a wonderful way to think about muzzles too! #muzzleupproject #vetbehavior

Photos from Animal Behavior Wellness Center's post 05/12/2021

That moment when a client chooses to move forward with positive reinforcement based force-free training, so much so that they ask us to throw away their shock collar for them! #win #vetbehavior #forcefreedogtraining

Photos from Michelle Obama's post 05/08/2021

It's never easy when one of our four-legged family members has reached the end of the road. Our hearts go out to the Obamas on this very tough day.

Free Webinars — Your Dog's Friend 05/05/2021

Free Webinars — Your Dog's Friend

Some great workshops coming up this month, including traveling with your pet, storm phobia, and walking with your reactive dog! Check them out- https://yourdogsfriend.org/free-workshops/

Free Webinars — Your Dog's Friend Free Webinars We offer many free webinars for dog parents throughout the year. They are presented by our favorite positive dog trainers and other dog-related professionals in the area. Our webinars are a great way to learn a lot about dogs quickly, and they’re free! ALL WEBINARS ARE EASTERN TIME A...

05/04/2021

Dr Pike was pleasantly surprised this afternoon when Stella jumped into her lap during her recheck. Stella has improved by LITERAL leaps and bounds! We were all very excited to see how much better Stella is this year since beginning treatment with our team. She's such a cutie!

Dr Pike was pleasantly surprised this afternoon when Stella jumped into her lap during her recheck. Stella has improved by LITERAL leaps and bounds! We were all very excited to see how much better Stella is this year since beginning treatment with our team. She's such a cutie!

05/02/2021

I love this post from our colleagues in Florida- puppies and kittens won't outgrow fear. In fact, it will most likely get worse without intervention. Seek care from a qualified Fear Free trainer (meaning absolutely ZERO corrections, force, pack stuff, alpha nonsense, shock or "stim" collars, or prong/choke collars) and a veterinary behaviorist immediately!

At FVBS we get asked a lot if young animals will grow out of fear, anxiety and aggression. It is very unlikely. What studies show us and it is our experience that these puppies get worse making them harder to treat in the future. Get started immediately if your puppy shows these signs.
#dogbehavior #dogbehaviorist #dogbodylanguage #doganxiety #dogaggression #shelterdog #vetmed #doganxietyhelp #dogfear

04/28/2021

Very excited for this webinar given by our colleague, Dr. Melissa Bain! Dog needing crate rest? How can you help your patients and your pets??? Join now!
https://www.dacvb.org/page/webinarseries

Very excited for this webinar given by our colleague, Dr. Melissa Bain! Dog needing crate rest? How can you help your patients and your pets??? Join now!
https://www.dacvb.org/page/webinarseries

04/26/2021

Calling all new puppy owners!! Zoom or in person!

Calling all new puppy owners!! Zoom or in person!

04/19/2021

Happy Veterinary Receptionists week to our 3 AMAZING ABWC ladies- Amanda, Chelsea and Natalie! They keep the staff on track, they field all the calls we get and somehow show up to work every day with a smile. We love you 3 and don't know how we'd function without you!

Happy Veterinary Receptionists week to our 3 AMAZING ABWC ladies- Amanda, Chelsea and Natalie! They keep the staff on track, they field all the calls we get and somehow show up to work every day with a smile. We love you 3 and don't know how we'd function without you!

04/14/2021

Congratulations to our own Dr Pike! Wow- 5 years in a row- Best Veterinary Behaviorist Award!

Congratulations to our own Dr Pike! Wow- 5 years in a row- Best Veterinary Behaviorist Award!

04/11/2021

Happy #nationalpetday2021 Let's see your pets! Here is Monty, our practice manager Aileen's horse 😀

Happy #nationalpetday2021 Let's see your pets! Here is Monty, our practice manager Aileen's horse 😀

04/03/2021

Have a wonderful weekend, but please keep the kitties safe!

Have a wonderful weekend, but please keep the kitties safe!

Bidens' dog Major involved in another biting incident 03/31/2021

Bidens' dog Major involved in another biting incident

Sounds like Major really needs our help. Poor anxious pup! https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/30/politics/major-biden-dog-white-house/index.html

Bidens' dog Major involved in another biting incident The Bidens' dog Major has been involved in another biting incident that required medical attention, two people with knowledge of the incident tell CNN.

03/25/2021

Our nurse, Jessey, had to rush home early to a sick little boy yesterday. Since she didn't have a chance to finish all her charts, now she has an assistant to help out! (Please excuse any typos on your summaries...)

Our nurse, Jessey, had to rush home early to a sick little boy yesterday. Since she didn't have a chance to finish all her charts, now she has an assistant to help out! (Please excuse any typos on your summaries...)

[ Full ] Build Puppy Royal Palace & Aquarium Around Puppy's Royal Palace With Artificial Waterfall 03/23/2021

[ Full ] Build Puppy Royal Palace & Aquarium Around Puppy's Royal Palace With Artificial Waterfall

I'm not sure if you have ever seen this guy's videos. He makes phenomenal, beautiful, hand made structures. In this video, he finds some puppies and creates them a "Puppy Palace." It's quite remarkable. Enjoy!

(P.S. - Don't mind the growling over resources while they're all eating together 😅...)

[ Full ] Build Puppy Royal Palace & Aquarium Around Puppy's Royal Palace With Artificial Waterfall Build Puppies Royal Palace & Aquarium Around Puppy's Royal Palace With Creative Artificial Waterfall

Dog Training Group Classes — Behavior United Dog Training 03/20/2021

Dog Training Group Classes — Behavior United Dog Training

Shut the front door! Clever name for an important training skill. Jackie Moyano is one of the DMV areas best trainers! There's still room in the class so sign up now!

Dog Training Group Classes — Behavior United Dog Training Offering group classes for puppies, adolescent and adult dogs, on-demand class Training Takeout, and a subscription class experience, Best Behavior. Group classes can also be offered as private training packages as described in Private Training.

03/17/2021

In today's "Wednesday Wonderings" with Dr Pike- listen to her as she discusses the humanization of pets with leaders in the field of Veterinary Medicine, Behavior and Training, and Ethology- Drs Hal Herzog, Matt Dobbs, and Paul McGreevy. https://www.buzzsprout.com/1061842/8073503

[03/12/21]   Great interview with trainer and personal friend of ours, Michael Shikashio. https://www.instagram.com/tv/CMSx1lCh9Yi/?igshid=1nu9j7iriewww

Biden's German Shepherd has aggressive incident and is sent back to Delaware 03/10/2021

Biden's German Shepherd has aggressive incident and is sent back to Delaware

Dr Pike's new "Wednesday Wonderings" (officially replacing Monday Musings because, well, life).
As I'm sure you all have heard by now (I think I got tagged in some article about it about 4,376 times already! Lol) the Biden's younger shepherd was involved in a "bite incident" over the weekend with a Secret Service agent and the dogs were subsequently sent to Delaware to stay with family friends. They may or may not be back according to some news sources, but that's besides the point.
What this story brings to light is a multitude of wonderings for me, but what I want to chat about first is why the first response to a behavior problem should ALWAYS be "Go see your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist". First, behavior problems don't crop up "out of nowhere" or "with no warning" unless there was a traumatic trigger (in this case, for example, Secret Service ran into Biden's residence guns a blazing- more on this later).
So, either there is a prior history of fearful, anxiety-based behavior (and/or aggression) that was ignored or missed, or if this was a truly new behavior, there is some underlying medical concern at play that needs to be identified and addressed by a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist. So, if there is a new behavior, do not pass go, head straight to your vet for a work-up! I saw many comments on the various articles saying "he just needs more training" or "go see this trainer I recommend" or rumors that Major needed a "tune-up" at a shock-collar based training facility where he was supposedly originally trained at (hoping that's really untrue- another topic for another time). None of those things are what need to happen... go see your vet! Maybe he's in pain (he has had alot of romping around the White House grounds recently and he's a large breed dog, so perhaps he has partially ruptured a cruciate ligament?) Or, he is a German Shepherd (mix??) and they are prone to diseases like hip dysplasia. Maybe he has allergic skin disease (it gorgeous here in DC and the Spring allergens are starting to pop up!) and is super itchy and therefore irritable. Maybe he ate something that a well meaning staffer slipped him (a cheeseburger from Five Guys? Hello? Yum!) and he had an upset stomach making him more irritable and prone to aggression. Regardless, trainers can't (and legally shouldnt) be able to address any of those concerns! So, remember- with a sudden onset of a new behavior, or an exacerbation of a previously stable behavior, go see your vet! I cannot emphasize this enough.
Other things that this story brings to light and we can wonder about together at a later time-
1. It takes 3-6 months to acclimate to new surroundings and environment even for "normal" dogs.
2. Punishment techniques and tools and trainers often claim to fix things quick, make your dog more obedient, and guarantee their results. All the above are FALSE FALSE FALSE (and they are detrimental to the human animal bond, increase the risk of Aggression, and lead to so much potential fallout that these techniques and tools are banned in much of the modern world)
3. A bite does not make a dog "aggressive". Aggression is merely a behavioral strategy that we all use (dogs, humans, cats, birds, spiders, etc) when we are scared, frightened, anxious or feel out of control.
4. If a SS agent did burst into the Biden's residence with guns a blazing, can you blame him for being terrified? Thinking this wasn't the case since no news outlets reported it, but you never know!
Anyway, there are probably more things we could discuss about this one single case, so now that I'm not seeing patients on Wednesdays and have tried to pare my outside extra projects down (for seriouspy needed self-care purposes), I will try to be better about posting these Wednesday Wonderings. Not to mention I have time to see Major if he needs my help! Of course, I (and the 4,376 people that tagged me in the articles) think he does. Happy Hump Day followers! https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/08/politics/president-joe-biden-white-house-dogs/index.html

Biden's German Shepherd has aggressive incident and is sent back to Delaware The two German Shepherds belonging to President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were returned to the Biden family home in Delaware last week after aggressive behavior at the White House involving Major Biden, two sources with knowledge tell CNN.

A Tragic Start

It’s pretty common for people who work with “special needs” animals to have an emotional connection to the field. Growing up, I remember my family once saying “the only people who want to learn psychology are those who want to learn more about themselves.” The same can be true for animals. We all sought behavior medicine because, at one time or another, we had an animal that we didn’t know what to do with. Whether that’s because one of our dogs aggressively attacked their vet or our cats beat each other up on a regular basis or maybe we were just tired of seeing our patients, who we’re supposed to be helping, panic and lash out at us because we didn’t know how to deal with them.

The books are great. They help you learn the basics of dog training, how to feed your pet, exercise them, buy them the best beds, but there is so much more to it than that. That’s where the help from books end and we come in. Our passion is to help people avoid our experiences. We want you to avoid feeling alone, frustrated, isolated, guilt-ridden... because you don’t have to. Using science based, professionally tested products, medication, and communication techniques, we focus on bringing strength back into the human-animal bond. Let us help you love your pet more fully.

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Our psychotropic workshop!

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Fairfax, VA
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