Daily Paws

Pet news, tips, entertainment and opinions from VetLocator.com

Posts Tagged ‘Marlo Kimmel’

Pet Anxiety: Waterproofing your pets

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Please excuse the funny headline.  It’s been raining here and I’ve been dealing with wet everything – including wet cats – so waterproofing is probably something I’ve had attention on more than I should….however…there is a good point to the headline.

During my life I’ve had several animals that had a great fear of water, dogs and horses and cats – (cats – yes – normal to dislike water).  I discovered the horses’ fear while galloping along a trail that had a teensy tiny ribbon of water crossing it.  That horse stopped abruptly and nearly threw me, then stood snorting and prancing, eyes showing lots of white as he stared at the ‘danger’ in front of him.

The dogs fear would show up for baths, trips to the lake, playing with the hose in the yard, normal family stuff.

These pets were not waterproofed and their fear of water caused me a variety of difficulties over time.

Why were they afraid?  I have no clue and I didn’t try and find out.  Determining why your pet is fearful isn’t always essential to treating the fearful behavior, although why they are afraid has a lot to do with the success of any training you use to help them overcome that fear.

Once I realized there was a fear of water, I helped the horse and two of the dogs overcome their  fear in the same way. I desensitized them to what was scaring them.

First I created a very calm and safe space for them and got them calmed down and feeling safe again.  Then I introduced water to them in very small doses – for the dogs a small bowl that I placed near them and then splashed my fingers in, then gradiently increasing the water interaction until they were comfortable swimming in it.  It wasn’t an immediate solution but eventually they both were fine with water.

The horse and I were on the trail when I discovered his fear and I had to get him across that water to get home.  I dismounted and let him look and snort and paw at the small stream, letting him stay on the safe side and then I walked across and gently tugged him to follow.  His leap across that 1 inch ribbon of water was HUGE :).  Then I just repeated the action over and over until he was bored, then I mounted and we walked across together.  After that he was fine with water and grew to love running and splashing in it at every opportunity.  I used that same method for him and his fear of street traffic, barking dogs, bikes, blowing paper, etc. etc. etc.  After awhile he was the safest horse to ride in the stable.  He was great.

However there was a dog that, no matter what I did, never lost his fear of water.  He’d cringe at the site of a body of water and would quiver and shake if I tried to get him close, much like that little dog I mentioned in this week’s newsletter.  His owner finally gave up trying to get him to walk and he scooped him up and held the shivering little guy in his arms as he walked along with the terrified pooch held close.  Poor little dog.  For my guy, just the sight of a large body of water was enough to make him run in the opposite direction.  I was not ever able to make getting in water ‘safe’ for him. He lived his life with that fear and stayed home if we went to the beach or lake.  That was sad for both of us because he missed out on so much fun and I missed out on having my best friend by my side during those water times.

Today I’d do things differently for my friend and today I’d call in a very skilled and wise woman I know – she calls herself a holistic pet life coach – Marlo Kimmel,  to discover what caused the fear in my dog and get that fear handled.

In working with my own and other’s animals over the years I’ve learned that for some pets I can use my knowledge and skill to help and sometimes I need help from someone with more skill in order to help them.  At those times I turn to our veterinarian or other pet professional if it’s health related and today for psychological or training problems I turn to Marlo.  Thankfully she’s local, but she also consults by phone and is flown around the United States, she’s that good. And every time she is asked to help,  she’s able to pinpoint a course of action that brings a good resolution to the problem the animal is having.  She’s wonderful and from the testimonials I’ve read from her other clients, most describe her in just those words. Wonderful.

If you want to find someone like Marlo (trainer, consultant, pet nutritionist & problem solver) you can use our Holistic/Alternative directory and just put in your zip code.  There are many wonderful healers and problem solvers in it.  If you’d like to talk to Marlo directly just click the link to go to her listing.  She’s offering a free initial consultation to 10 pet owners when you mention VetLocator.com or Daily Paws, so if you have a tough pet problem, I’d give her a call to take advantage of her generous offer..(There were 11 openings but I already got the first one 🙂

Oh, and cats?  Yes cats can be desensitized to water too.  You’ll enjoy seeing many examples of this in our pictures and videos feature:  Cats Swim Pictures can be found HERE and at the bottom of the pictures is a link to the videos.