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Adoption fees waived for all cats and kittens during the entire month of July.

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If, after reading through the common behavior problems and situations below, you have additional questions about your pet’s behavior, please call to speak to an MD SPCA behavior expert at 410-235-8826, ext. 151 or email [email protected]. Our behavior experts are available to pet owners to help work with them on animal behavior problems. Correcting behavior issues improves the relationship between owners and animals to ensure the animal stays in that loving home.

Behavior Library

Potty Time: Housebreaking

When we think about bringing a new dog into our home, we think of a lot of things – snuggles and belly rubs, long adventuresome hikes, silly tricks that amaze our friends…  Somehow in that idyllic daydream, we always seem to forget about bathroom habits.  Face it, almost any new dog that comes into your home will have to be re-trained to eliminate in the appropriate way, as she learns to adjust to your family’s schedule, and learns to tell you how she needs to go outside...

Play-Biting in Puppies

Almost all puppies play bite. They do it to other puppies, to adult dogs who'll let them and to their owners. It's important to distinguish this constant biting from bona fide aggression, where a dog threatens or bites when guarding his food, when uncomfortable about someone touching him or when uncomfortable about strangers coming too close. Aggression is less common in young puppies than in adult dogs but is not unheard of. If you think your puppy is showing signs of aggression, get yourself into competent professional hands. Many kinds of aggression can be resolved.

Caring for Convalescing Dogs

After certain medical procedures, your vet will recommend your dog stays on crate rest and/or reduced exercise to allow them to heal. In many cases, your dog will feel (and act) ready to get back in the swing of things well before it is safe to do so. The following tips will help keep your dog’s brain busy—and therefore tire them out—until they are vet-approved for regular exercise. Don’t forget that convalescing dogs might need much more sleep than before—even 16 or 18 hours.

School Daze: Finding a Trainer

You want to do the right thing and take your pup to school, but there are so many classes out there; which one do you pick?  How can you tell when you’ve selected the right teacher, or if your dog trainer is even qualified?  While technically someone who has earned the title of “Animal Behaviorist” has an advanced degree in animal behavior, it’s a sad truth that the dog training industry isn’t currently regulated at all...

Fido’s New Home

Life changes are hard for all of us: moving to new cities, gaining new employment, adding new family members, attending new schools, etc. Dogs, too, experience stress when they are subjected to change. Keep this in mind when you are considering adding a new dog to your family or fostering a dog for a shelter or rescue group. Your new furry friend needs all the help he can get to gradually acclimate to his new home.

Enrichment

Providing dogs with outlets for their natural behaviors is not only enjoyable, but crucial to their well-being. There has been a recent explosion of enrichment product and ideas. And with a little creativity, you can make your own on any budget!

New Dog on the Block: Adding a New Dog to Your Family

So you’ve decided to add to your family. You’ve talked about any extra financial burden, and how you’ll stretch your time, and you know there’s enough love in your heart for another dog. Of course, you didn’t clear this with your current pup, but she loves other dogs... doesn’t she? Maybe, but remember that meeting someone out at a park and going for a walk is very different than having them move into your bedroom.

Aggression in Dogs

Aggression is normal, adaptive behavior in virtually all animal species and domestic dogs are no exception. Animals have a variety of aggressive behaviors in their repertoires, to defend themselves from perceived threat as well as to compete for resources such as food, mates and territory. Also, as predators, dogs may chase and bite in the context of hunting for food. Selective breeding—domestication—has toned down or stylized aggressive and predatory behavior in most domestic dog breeds. Behaviors like watchdog barking, herding, pointing, compulsive fighting and retrieving are all modified forms of either aggression or predation. Most aggressive encounters are ritualized. Growling, snarling, snapping and biting without maiming force are all examples of ritualized aggression. Ritualization allows contests to be decided without the use of (more “expensive”) fatal or maiming force to either participant. We humans would like no aggression, even of the most ritualized sort, directed at us. To achieve this “no arguing” standard requires pro-active prevention programs for all dogs

Happy on the Inside: Indoor Cats

Indoor cats have a lifespan that is 4 - 6 times greater than a cat who goes outdoor (studies show indoor cats can live twenty years or longer, while outdoor cats rarely live past five years.)  In addition, they aren’t exposed to disease, won’t fall victim to predatory animals (or humans), can’t get stuck in traps, be hit by cars, get lost, be stolen, or suffer frostbite or heat stroke...

Night Crawlers: Night-time Activity

It’s always frustrating when the sweet, sleepy snuggle bug cat we love during the day turns into a whirling dervish at night, but the fact is, it’s feline nature.  Cats are nocturnal, which means their bodies tell them to wake up and get to work just as we start to wind down ourselves.  It can make for a difficult roommate situation, and at two in the morning you might be less-likely to remember the affectionate purrs, the playful games of chance, the enthusiastic “biscuit making” or the loving head-bumps quite as fondly as you would at high noon.  With just a little manipulation, you can get your cat adjusted to your routine, and you’ll both reap the benefits of a healthy relationship and a good night’s sleep...