Pet Week: Pet Behavior Problems

May 24, 2012 4:20:09 AM PDT
Steve Dale, Pet expert and author of "Good Dog!" and "Good Cat!" discusses pet training.

Steve Dale's advice:
"Bad behavior" is a behavior which people don't like, or a behavior incompatible with co-existing happily with our pets.
The pets aren't being bad 'on purpose,' such as the cat going in shoes to spite the new boyfriend, it's because of a change in house and/or stress, for example. Here are the two most common behavior problems:

- See a veterinarian (to rule out physical explanation)
- Keep everyone safe (use management tools)
- It's FAR more likely to be about fear than dominance; no need to 'dominate' your dog
- Get hands-on help

- See a veterinarian (to rule out physical explanation)
- Is the cat voiding or spraying? (there is a difference)
Basic tips:
- Scoop daily
- Relationship between cats may surprise you - Are they really getting along?
- One more litter box than the number of cats

(BIO) STEVE DALE Steve Dale, CAPD (certified pet behavior consultant), reaches more pet owners than any other pet journalist in America.

Steve writes a twice-weekly syndicated newspaper column (Tribune Media Services, since 1995); he's a contributing editor at USA Weekend (since 2002) and host of two nationally syndicated radio shows, Steve Dale's Pet World and The Pet Minute (together heard on over 100 radio stations, syndicated Black Dog Radio Productions, since 2001). He's also a columnist for Cat Fancy and, as well as a regular on WGN Radio, Chicago; and host of a podcast at He's a Chicago Tribune blogger (, and contributes blogs on various other websites, including for Victoria Stilwell.

On TV he's appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show; National Geographic Explorer; Pets Part of the Family. PBS; various Animal Planet Shows and many others. For several years, Steve was a regular contributor to Superstation WGN-TV morning news. And he formerly hosted Animal Planet Radio.

In print, he's been quoted in, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Redbook, veterinary publications and dozens more.

Steve's the author of "American Zoos" and "DogGone Chicago" Released in late 2011 his first E-books, "Good Dog!" and "Good Cat!" (published by the Chicago Tribune). He's written introductions or contributed chapters to many books, including "Bonding With Your Dog," "Dog Spelled Backwards," "The Compassion of Dogs," "Raising My Furry Children," "Christmas Cats" and "Angel Animals and the Kids Who Love Them."

Steve is a contributor to protector (a publication for veterinary professionals). He was an external reviewer for "Feline Behavior Guidelines" (American Association of Feline Practitioners, 2005), and is a contributor to the textbook "The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management" (edited Dr. Susan Little, 2011). He's the primary author of the CATegorical Care: An Owner's Guide to America's Number #1 Companion (reviewers include AVMA, SAWA, published American Humane Association/CATalyst Council, 2010).

Steve is a founder of the CATalyst Council and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. He's also on the Board of Directors of the Winn Feline Foundation, Tree House Humane Society in Chicago, and the American Humane Association - where Steve serves as a National Ambassador. In Chicago, Steve created the Chicago Task Force on Companion Animals and Public Safety (2000-2010), where they've three-times overturned proposed breed bans and twice over-turned mandated spay/neuter, as well as overturned pet limit laws. The Task Force also created guidelines for 'doggy day care.' As a pet advocate, Steve has testified many times against breed specific bans, pet limit laws, etc.

Among Steve's many awards, the AVMA Humane Award (the only AVMA honor bestowed to a non-veterinarian), Editor and Publisher syndicated newspaper Feature Writer of the Year Award, AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award, HSUS Pets for Life Award, and has been honored with over 15 Maxwell's Awards from the Dog Writer's Association of America and over 15 Muse Awards from the Cat Writers' Association of America. He's also been honored by the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, and was the first recipient of the Winn Feline Foundation Media Award.

In 2012, Steve became the youngest person ever inducted into the Dog Writer's Hall of Fame.

After his beloved cat Ricky passed away in 2002 of feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), Steve created a fund to raise money to research this often fatal disease. He's raised well over $100,000 - and as a direct result a genetic test was created to determine if a gene defect for HCM exists for two breeds.

For 10 years his dog Lucy was an animal assisted therapy dog. To honor Lucy, who passed away in 2011, Steve created the Lucy Fund to raise money for the American Humane Association Hero Dog Award for Animal Assisted Therapy. He also serves the advisory board for national animal assisted therapy organization called Angel on A Leash. Steve's a regular speaker at veterinary conferences around the world, shelter fundraisers, and other special events. Steve's presented at each of the major U.S. veterinary conferences (numerous times), as well as twice for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (which he is a certified member), World Small Animal Veterinary Association Conference, Caribbean Veterinary Conference and many others.

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