Animal Behavior Wellness Center

Animal Behavior Wellness Center Animal Behavior Wellness Center
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Check this fun pet name calculator out - let us know your pet’s REAL name!!
06/17/2020

Check this fun pet name calculator out - let us know your pet’s REAL name!!

06/16/2020
The Bridge Club Pets

Join Dr Pike tonight!

We are getting all our dog behavior questions answered tonight with Dr. Amy L. Pike - please join us at 7 pm CST/8 EST for a Facebook Live discussion

We're happy to announce that registration for our puppy classes has re-opened! In addition to our Socialization Class, P...
06/12/2020
Group Classes | Animal Behavior Wellness Center

We're happy to announce that registration for our puppy classes has re-opened!

In addition to our Socialization Class, Puppy Skills Class, and Play Groups, we're also offering Adolescent Skills taught by the fabulous Jennifer Pennington from Lead With Fun Training! Thanks for joining us Jenn, we're excited to have you 😉.

Check out our classes and workshops:
https://www.abwellnesscenter.com/classes

Our facility offers a variety of group training classes that are run by both our own team and by other force free trainers from our area.

06/12/2020
The Bridge Club Pets

Come join me! I will answer all your burning dog questions!!

Please share with all your dog loving friends - this one will be an amazing conversation with Amy L. Pike

Come join Dr Pike to find out about all things dog! Decrypting your dog's behavior... this Tuesday on The Bridge Club Pe...
06/10/2020
Decrypting Your Dogs Behavior

Come join Dr Pike to find out about all things dog! Decrypting your dog's behavior... this Tuesday on The Bridge Club Pets!

Our best friends have some interesting behaviors that needs some explanations. Join us for an interesting conversation on behavior.

ABWC would like to wish a big ole happy 3rd birthday to Ike Pike (aka Dwight D. Eisenschnauzer). Thanks for keeping Dr P...
06/06/2020

ABWC would like to wish a big ole happy 3rd birthday to Ike Pike (aka Dwight D. Eisenschnauzer). Thanks for keeping Dr Pike humble and empathetic to her clients Ike!

06/05/2020

Aretta wants to make sure all of you & your pups keep cool on days like today!

Thanks to Humane Rescue Alliance and Meow DC for hosting an online Q&A today! While our in person events are always so m...
05/30/2020

Thanks to Humane Rescue Alliance and Meow DC for hosting an online Q&A today! While our in person events are always so much more fun, this was great too as I got to sit in my room with my cat ears on :)😸

My amazing mentor and her new project, Behavior Bits...
05/29/2020
What is a Behavior Bit? - Behavior Bits

My amazing mentor and her new project, Behavior Bits...

Be sure to check back regularly for new, relevant, behavior-related information to ensure your relationship with your dog thrives now and in the future.

Timeline Photos
05/29/2020

Timeline Photos

Have cat questions? We have answers!
05/28/2020

Have cat questions? We have answers!

Monday Musings (is it Monday? Who knows... between covid quarantine and the holiday weekend I have NO CLUE what day it i...
05/27/2020

Monday Musings (is it Monday? Who knows... between covid quarantine and the holiday weekend I have NO CLUE what day it is!) So here it goes-
Today I was contacted by a veterinary industry drug rep to inform me of something she was hearing from one of the local feline only veterinary clinics about their corona virus experiences. She further bolstered what I had previously heard from one of my best friends, an ER veterinarian, and a human plastic surgeon as well.
Our pets are stressed out you guys!
The feline vets are seeing higher number of cases of cat to cat aggression within the household. ER clinicians are seeing higher rates of dog to dog aggression within the household. And plastic surgeons are suturing up faces and other body parts as a result of more dog bite wounds than they have ever seen in the past!
Is it any wonder that they are stressed? Their routines are off. Their humans are home 24/7 (or if you are an essential worker, maybe you are gone more than your usual! And of course for that we thank you). We are stressed, which they can definitely pick up on. Our reactive dogs are being taken for 18k walks per day and are being forced to encounter all these neighbors and their dogs that they never even knew ever existed! There are no dog parks. There are very few doggie daycares still open. And even if they are open, we do not want to spend the money in these uncertain times. The cats are wondering what we all did to get fired and why in the world we are chasing them around the house for selfies. And all of this (and WAY more) has led them to be stressed out. And stress is what leads to aggression.
So, what can you do about it? Here are my top, easy to accomplish and readily accessible tips:
1. Stick to a routine. Get up at a normal hour, get ready for work as usual, and then work your hours, even if its at home. If your dog went for walks before and after work with you, keep that the same. If they had a dog walker mid-day, do a mid-day walk (or call your dog walker and get them employed again! There are safe ways to do socially distanced hand-offs and they are likely desperate for the money now).
2. Remember to actually leave the home without your pet occasionally.
3. Especially for dogs and cats with anxiety and aggression, always perform a consent test for interaction. Do a little scratch under their chin and then stop. Do they "ask" you for more? (hint: thats a yes) Do they nudge your hand (yes, gimme more) or do they walk away from you? (clearly, no means no, here) Do they do nothing? (this one is more confusing for us humans, but it means NOPE, not now thanks). Respect their needs and wants and if they dont want to be petted, they dont want to be petted, period.
4. If your dogs or cats get into tiffs on occasion, understand what their triggers are, and put very strict management in place. Is it food? Feed them separately. Is it resting spots? Teach each one where their spot to rest is. Is it human attention? Avoid paying attention to one unless the other is outside or confined away from you. If its really bad, implement strict separation (crate and rotate or use babygates and closed doors to keep them apart and safe)
5. Pheromones- the maternal appeasing pheromones (the pheromones that mothers produce when they are nursing their young) can really help with intra-species conflict (Feliway Multi-cat and Adaptil for dogs). Place collars on all the dogs, and use the diffusers in the rooms where they spend the most of their days and night (applicable for dogs- Adaptil- and cats- Multicat). You cannot overdose on the pheromone so knock yourself out and use all of the type of the Adaptil- spray, collar and diffuser! Each diffuser covers about 600 sq feet and the spray lasts for 4-6 hours, and the collars last 30 days.
6. Seek help from a qualified positive reinforcement based trainer (need a recommendation? look no further!) and if severe, a veterinary behaviorist (again, here we are!) immediately. The longer a behavior problem goes on, the harder it is to treat. And the potential for escalation is significant, so do not hesitate to reach out for help ASAP!
7. Never DIY a behavior issue without professional guidance, from a trained professional who spent time and education to learn their jobs (and who attends continuing education). There is a reason why my trainers have letters behind their names and why 12 years of education later a veterinary behaviorist is considered a subject matter expert! I just sadly heard of a family that had to euthanize their beloved pet this past week because they tried to DIY and ended up pushing the dog way too far past its threshold. Aggression is dangerous and no one should address it without help from a trained and licensed positive reinforcement based (force free) professional.

Hope this helps- lets decrease the #s of aggression cases as much as we can during a stressful time for all of us. Stay healthy and safe Facebook friends! Dr P

Dr Leslie Sinn and I were both interviewed for this article and our answers probably could not have been more similar ha...
05/27/2020
Will your pet experience separation anxiety when you return to your ‘normal’ routine?

Dr Leslie Sinn and I were both interviewed for this article and our answers probably could not have been more similar had we rehearsed! It is still making me laugh!! Lol #twinning #bestie #veterinarybehavior #separationanxiety #covid19pets

As the commonwealth begins to reopen and residents start planning their return to the office and social obligations, we spoke with veterinarians to see how this will affect your four-legged friends.

Dog reactivity is a stressful and embarrassing problem...especially during quarantine when the streets and parks are mor...
05/23/2020

Dog reactivity is a stressful and embarrassing problem...especially during quarantine when the streets and parks are more crowded than ever! Our fabulous trainers Kayla and Courtney are teaching a class to help you with some basic skills to work on this behavior. Sign up here: https://www.abwellnesscenter.com/classes

The girls are happy we are seeing patients in office on Mondays! More attention! Peep Nacho’s tail on Dinger’s head. 🙂
05/19/2020

The girls are happy we are seeing patients in office on Mondays! More attention! Peep Nacho’s tail on Dinger’s head. 🙂

Thank you to All Four Paws Vet Relief for letting me crash their quarterly meeting and discuss puppy and kitten socializ...
05/17/2020

Thank you to All Four Paws Vet Relief for letting me crash their quarterly meeting and discuss puppy and kitten socialization!

Congratulations to our own Kristin on getting married today!! Welcome to the ABWC family Brandon!
05/15/2020

Congratulations to our own Kristin on getting married today!! Welcome to the ABWC family Brandon!

One of our favorite local trainers Juliana Willems shares tips on how to prep your furry friends for our days back in th...
05/14/2020
Easing separating anxiety: preparing pets for your return to the office

One of our favorite local trainers Juliana Willems shares tips on how to prep your furry friends for our days back in the office!

While being cooped inside for months on end isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – our four-legged friends have been loving all the extra attention. But this also runs the risk of separation anxiety as owners return to the office. Juliana Willems, certified trainer with Dog Latin Dog Traini...

That's right! starting on Monday May 18th we are heading back into the office for limited in-person appointments! We wil...
05/14/2020

That's right! starting on Monday May 18th we are heading back into the office for limited in-person appointments! We will be following all CDC recommendations including mandatory masks, 6 feet of distance, etc. Please know that we will do our best to keep our clients, patients, and staff healthy!

Back by popular demand (drum roll please....) Monday Musings!! And its actually Monday folks! I'm pretty sure I deserve ...
05/12/2020

Back by popular demand (drum roll please....) Monday Musings!! And its actually Monday folks! I'm pretty sure I deserve some kind of award for this, right? During a global pandemic I even got the day right!!
Tonight's topic, training guarantees.
Several trainers and many of the country-wide franchise training groups offer training guarantees... like for one low (actually, most often, not-so-low) price, they guarantee you get what you want from your pet's behavior or they will come back for a lifetime of training refreshers, guaranteed! Ever heard of the saying "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?" Yeah, that applies here too.
First, every single trainer that I have ever seen that guarantees the dog's behavior has been punishment based. Every.single.one. Now to some on the outside looking in, you might think that the only training that works and produces results must be punishment based, right? Absolutely wrong. What it means is that these trainers don't understand science, including biology, neurochemisty and learning theory. It means that they think a dog is just a robot to be programmed. Hit the right buttons, get the behavior you desire or (more likely since they are punishment based) suppress the behavior you don't. Guess what? Dogs and cats are living, breathing, emotion-feeling beings with choices! They like control and autonomy just like you and me, and when they don't have that, anxiety and fear can occur.
So why would these trainers guarantee a dog's behavior when the dog can ultimately choose what it will and won't do given the choices and the outcomes? Not to mention that timing and efficacy of consequences (punishment especially) is key when it comes to teaching the learner. If your timing is off, the learner doesn't necessarily learn exactly what you want. If the punishment doesn't outweigh the reward for performing an "unwanted" behavior, they will continue to perform the unwanted behavior to reep the reward!! So isn't that a teacher failure?
Aha! Here is yet another outcome of these magical guarantees... every client that has ever come to me after having been back to their trainer to cash in on the guarantee has been told that they "didn't follow through with the training correctly" thus making the warranty null and void. All that money gone down the tubes. All that money that the owners thought they would invest up front for a lifetime of a well-behaved dog.
You know why rewards based trainers don't offer guarantees? Why veterinary behaviorists don't offer guarantees? Because there are zero guarantees when you are dealing with a living being. If you want a guarantee you should've gotten a stuffed animal. It will save you alot of money in the long run but then you won't have all the joys of having a pet. The smile that is brought to your face with a memory of when your old (and long since passed) very arthritic dog jumped on the counter and stole a full dozen cupcakes that were freshly baked for your daughter's first birthday. The sweet satisfaction of watching two dogs play even though they sometimes fight over food resources. The sight of silly antics of your neighbors who walk by your house and try to talk to the dog who is "singing" to them across the fence. The laughter of a boy running around the house being chased gleefully by a puppy nipping at his heels. The heart swell of watching your daughter cuddle her cat while she homeschools during quarantine, but then ends up in tears because the cat scratched her while it zoomed around the room after a fly. My dogs and cat aren't robots. They aren't perfect. Their behavior is never guaranteed. What i can guarantee is that they are loved, no matter what. Flaws and all. And that's a guarantee I can stand behind.

Happy Mother's Day to all the fur, feather and scale moms out there!
05/10/2020

Happy Mother's Day to all the fur, feather and scale moms out there!

Another day of puppy play in the books! This week, costumes and kids! Stick a fork in me, refereeing puppy play is exhau...
05/09/2020

Another day of puppy play in the books! This week, costumes and kids! Stick a fork in me, refereeing puppy play is exhausting.

Mom where is my treat? I’m using this scratch pad for my nails like a champ!
05/07/2020

Mom where is my treat? I’m using this scratch pad for my nails like a champ!

Do our pets feel our stress? Dr Pike is interviewed for this timely article!
05/06/2020
Watch for These Signs of Stress in Dogs and Cats

Do our pets feel our stress? Dr Pike is interviewed for this timely article!

The signs of stress in dogs and cats can be confused with other illnesses, so speak with your veterinarian if you notice any of the following signs.

Cats can benefit from anti-anxiety medications for the vet too! This is Killian Michael, he used to cry the ENTIRE time ...
05/05/2020

Cats can benefit from anti-anxiety medications for the vet too! This is Killian Michael, he used to cry the ENTIRE time in the car on the way to the vet. His mom, Dr. Ropski gives him gabapentin before a car ride and now he is as cool as a cucumber. He was the model patient after his dental procedure. Look at that handsome boy!

We are back doing in-person puppy play! Every Saturday... puppies 16wks and younger, rolling admission. Puppy parents ca...
05/02/2020

We are back doing in-person puppy play! Every Saturday... puppies 16wks and younger, rolling admission. Puppy parents can watch the whole time from their cars via zoom while trainers (and the doctor) moderate play! We had some TIRED puppies this AM and Dr Pike proclaimed that she has the best job ever after playing with puppies all morning!

Nail trims can be very stressful for dogs. Think about it from their perspective: My person is reaching towards me with ...
05/01/2020

Nail trims can be very stressful for dogs. Think about it from their perspective: My person is reaching towards me with this weird metal object, they are holding my paw out and then that thing touches me and CLIPS MY NAIL. If your dog is not comfortable with your approach in a handling situation or with nail clipping in general this can be VERY scary. What can we do to make this process a little easier for them (and for you?).

PLEASE DO use something delicious when you are trimming nails. This uses counter-conditioning to take something scary (the nail trim) and associating it with something AWESOME (the food item). This helps to change your dog’s emotional response to the nail trim from terror to THIS IS NOT SO BAD!

PLEASE DO watch your dog’s body language when you trim nails. Wide eyes, pulling an arm back, backing away, or licking lips are all signs that yell “I’M NOT COMFORTABLE” and should be our indication to take a break.

WHY AM I CONCERNED with this plastic wrap video? This technique puts you very close to the face of a potentially uncomfortable dog. ANY DOG can bite, especially when they are afraid, stressed or anxious and closer to their threshold. Let’s not put them in that situation and give them the chance to say “No thank you.”

What can I do to make nail trims easier?
1. GO SLOW. If your dog is uncomfortable with nail trims, you don’t have to (and are not going to) trim all their nails in one sitting. It is OKAY to do one nail at a time and respect their comfort level.
2. QUIT WHILE YOU’RE AHEAD. If you get one nail done, that is a big accomplishment! Stop there and come back on another day.
3. KEEP THEIR ATTENTION. Using food in a toy can be a great way to keep their attention away from your hands/their paws but also give you some insight on their comfort level. A dog that is comfortable/not stressed SHOULD EAT. I can’t tell you how many times Steve has said, “Sadie stopped eating” – Which is my indication to give her a break until she is comfortable. Some great options are: kong, lick mats, or an upright cleanable surface (dishwasher, fridge, etc) and good food options are: peanut butter, cream cheese, baby food, spray cheese.
4. DESENSITIZE them to the process of nail trims. Break down nail trims into EVERY step and help them be comfortable with each one. Sometimes working with a trainer can be a helpful way to work through this process.
5. MEDICATIONS ARE OKAY. If you dog needs medication to help nail trims be less scary that is OKAY. Talk to your vet and they will determine if that is appropriate for your dog.

From the dog parents that it took MONTHS to get to the point where Sadie is comfortable with nail trims I understand the daunting task ahead. It takes both Steve and I, 2 Kongs filled with peanut butter and lamb treats in between, and a lot of communication. You can get there, it just takes time.

#nailtrims #sadiemarie

Address

11230 Waples Mill Rd. Suite 125a
Fairfax, VA
22030

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Monday 08:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 16:00
Thursday 08:00 - 16:00
Friday 08:00 - 16:00

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(888) 438-0788

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Videos

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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Comments

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)
I have nominated Dr. Pike, and would like you to join me. It will only take a minute or two and costs nothing. She deserves all the recognition in the world for her caring and compassionate practice. If you need her contact info for the form PM me.
This video may not look like much, a dog getting his ears checked by a vet tech. But for Lance, this is huge! When we first started working with Dr. Pike and Jessey for Lance’s off the charts vet anxiety, Lance hated going to the vet and would not let anyone touch him. He had to be muzzled and attempts at sedating him were a joke as Lance would not settle even with sedation. Touching Lance without a muzzle was not going to happen. But over a year later, Lance is getting ready to move on from his almost weekly visits to see Jessey to work on being handled by his regular vet and vet tech. Yes, Lance will have to probably be sedated for normal vet visits, but he has come so far since he started working with Jessey. Lance will probably never be completely comfortable at the vet, but the changes in him have been amazing. He has started going back to training classes and is super eager to learn (as long as treats are involved) and is making great progress. He is starting to play more with dogs at the park and less humping. He continues to love his walks and has learned to be a super sniffer like his sister, Lili. Well done, Lancypants! Well done, Jessey, our hero!
CBD chews and oil are the new trend... what do you think about it? Useful? Hippie dippie? What are you using it for?
The role of veterinary behaviorists with the always divine Dr E'Lise Christensen
News about the new FDA approved medication Pexion
Please help a vet behavior resident by taking this study! And in the process we learn more about the wellbeing of kitties!