Steve Dale: Understanding Pet Behavior


Steve Dale has always been fascinated with animals. As a child, he watched Joan Embery on the Tonight Show or Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Animal Kingdom. When he was approached by the Chicago Tribune in the mid-90s, Dale seized the opportunity with one caveat– he wanted to write a column about pets. Dale now writes a twice-weekly syndicated newspaper column for the Tribune Content Agency, hosts two nationally syndicated radio shows— Steve Dale’s Pet World and The Pet Minute— and contributes to numerous publications including Cat Fancy (now known as Catster).

Dale became increasingly interested in animal behavior after noticing that the majority of questions he was receiving from readers were behavior-related. Readers were contacting him with issues such as cats going outside the litter box or complaints about dogs barking during the day.

Dale has actively studied animal behavior for years, attending many veterinary conferences, and is now a certified animal behavior consultant. Behavior consultants help animals by taking into account their environment, the people and other animals with whom they interact and the needs of their caretakers. The field is relatively new with only about 65 certified animal behavior consultants in the United States.

“Misunderstood animal behavior is a serious health concern,” said Dale. “The number one cause of death for cats and dogs is unacceptable behavior. When the animal-human bond begins to fracture, that’s when animals are given up,” Dale said.

Pets may end up abandoned outside, or the guardian may leave the cat or dog in a shelter where those perceived as “damaged goods” face the danger of being euthanized. Too often, people believe that their pet is acting a certain way out of spite. In reality, the behavior may be related to an illness or another issue such as anxiety or fear.

“Cats who greet their owner and go scratch the couch are often misunderstood. The cat isn’t trying to be destructive,” Dale notes. “The cat is expressing excitement. He’s excited to see you.”

Instead of yelling at your cat for scratching the couch, Dale recommends finding alternative outlets such as putting a scratching post by your entrance. Whenever a cat or dog begins exhibiting a new behavior, such as going outside the litter box, Dale recommends seeking medical attention. The cat may have a medical issue such as arthritis, kidney disease or a urinary infection or may need a more enriched environment.

Combatting deadly diseases
Dale is also active in the Winn Feline Foundation, which provides funding for medical studies to improve cat health. The organization has funded more than $5 million in health research for cats at more than 30 partner institutions. Among the organization's many priorities is funding for heart disease. The Ricky Fund, founded in 2002 and named in honor of Dale’s beloved cat Ricky, was the first special fund created by Winn to investigate the most prevalent feline cardiac disease– hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). In cats with the disease, the heart muscle (myocardium) becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied), making it harder for the heart to pump blood. As of February 2014, the Ricky Fund had awarded $120,000 toward HCM research.

“We know so much more about the disease than we used to,” Dale said.

Advocating for misunderstood breeds
Dale is also actively involved with fighting breed bans. Breed specific legislation is the blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain breeds in an effort to decrease dog attacks. These laws typically target the pit bull class of dogs as well as Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers. Dale began speaking out against such bans after a Chicago alderman called for a ban on Rottweilers after a child was bitten.

“Not only are breed bans ineffective, they often unfairly target certain breeds,” Dale said. “For example, pit bulls are commonly targeted by breed bans. Yet, dogs that are considered pit bulls are often actually mixed breed dogs.”

Studies have shown that breed specific legislation doesn’t work. Either the number of dog bites/attacks remains stagnant or increases after a breed ban. After studying human fatalities resulting from dog bites, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced it would not support breed-specific legislation. The CDC’s concern with such bans is the inaccuracy of dog bite data and the difficulty in identifying dog breeds.

“Instead of trying to ban a specific type of dog, communities should focus on educational outreach, such as teaching children how to approach dogs in a safe and non-threatening manner,” Dale notes. “There’s no upside to these bans. We’re killing innocent dogs based on how they look. That doesn’t seem like America.”

Steve Dale, inspired by his own pets to learn more about animal behavior, is a tireless advocate for dogs and cats. His column reaches more pet owners than any other pet journalist in America and he is a regular speaker at veterinary and shelter conferences and fundraisers around the world.

Always humble, Dale said, “If I have helped pet owners, it’s not me people should thank. It’s my dog Chaser.”

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


Decoding Your Dog : Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones

“Although this book has a scientific basis, it was written in a manner that is easily understandable for laypersons. Decoding Your Dog will be a valuable addition to the library of any small-animal practitioner or dog owner.” –Angela Bockelman, DVM, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Unwanted behavior is the number-one reason dogs are relinquished to shelters and rescue groups. Dog owners face a plethora of trainers offering a bewildering variety of advice. From rewards to dominance training, from to shock collars to clickers, there are too many theories peddled by too few trained experts. Finally, the board-certified specialists of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists are here to decode how dogs think, how they communicate, and how they learn.

Combining cutting-edge science with accessible and adaptable real-life examples, this is a must-have dog behavior guide showcasing the latest veterinary-approved positive training methods. Decoding Your Dog will resolve the complaints, answer the curiosities, and, ultimately, challenge the way we think about our dogs.

“[The] authors nimbly craft a basic primer for grasping dogs’ demeanor and in the process offer up the best life insurance policy you can buy for Fido.” –Ranny Green, coauthor of Good Dogs, Bad Habits

Decoding Your Dog is an important addition to the canine canon, one that will go a long way toward increasing your understanding of your best friend.” –Bark

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LibraryThing Review

This book was written by veterinary behaviorists, who understand both a dog's psychology and it's anatomy and natural behavior. These are the guys that dog trainers learn from. They are called . Читать весь отзыв

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This is a good, down to earth training guide for anyone unfamiliar with dog behavior or a first time dog owner. This book was written by a team of veterinary behaviorists and offers a more scientific . Читать весь отзыв


Steve Dale Bio

Steve Dale, certified animal behavior consultant (CABC), has reached more pet owners over the past few decades than any other pet journalist in America. He was the first columnist on Goodnewsforpets.com when the site launched in 2000.

He is the host of two nationally syndicated radio shows, Steve Dale’s Pet World and The Pet Minute (together heard on more than 100 radio stations, syndicated Black Dog Radio Productions, since 2005). He’s also a special contributor at WGN Radio, Chicago, and program host of Steve Dale’s Pet World (since 1997). He formerly hosted the nationally broadcast Animal Planet Radio.

For 21 years, his twice weekly newspaper column was syndicated by the Chicago Tribune. Steve was a contributing editor for USA Weekend (2002 to 2014), and regular columnist at Cat Fancy magazine (2006 to 2014). He has written for a long list of magazines, from People to Dog World (where he was a columnist).

He’s currently a writer and contributing editor for CATster, and authors a column called Steve Dale’s Vet World for Veterinary Practice News. He’s also a columnist for the Journal of National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America and PetVet magazine.

He also contributes blogs for various websites, including for Victoria Stilwell.

On TV, he’s appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, National Geographic Explorer, Pets: Part of the Family (PBS), Fox News, various Animal Planet shows, and many others. For several years, Steve was a regular contributor to Superstation WGN-TV morning news, then appeared regularly on WMAQ-TV, Chicago. Currently, he’s a contributor to nationally syndicated HouseSmarts TV. Steve’s also a frequent host of satellite media tours.

In print, he’s been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Redbook, various veterinary publications, and dozens more. He has also appeared as an expert guest on countless radio programs.

Steve co-edited Decoding Your Dog, written by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014). He also authored the Introduction to Decoding Your Cat, written by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020)

Steve’s the author of ebooks, Good Dog! and Good Cat! (Chicago Tribune, 2013). He’s the author of several other books, including My New Puppy, DogGone Chicago and American Zoos.

Steve is a contributor to textbooks The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management (edited Dr. Susan Little, 2011) Treatment and Care of the Geriatric Veterinary Patient (edited Dr. Mary Gardner and Dr. Dani McVety, 2017) and El Gato Atropellado (translated The Cat: Hit by a Car, edited Dr. Luis Tello, 2019) Foreword for Infectious Disease Handbook (Merck Animal Health, 2017). He was an external reviewer for the 2005 Feline Behavior Guidelines (American Association of Feline Practitioners).

He’s written introductions or contributed chapters and forewords to many books, including Heartfelt Connections: How Animals and People Help One Another The Pet Parent’s Guide: Infectious Disease of Dogs Cats Revealed: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Living Happily with a Cat Bonding With Your Dog, Dog Spelled Backwards The Compassion of Dogs Raising My Furry Children Christmas Cats Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul, and Angel Animals and the Kids Who Love Them.

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). He co-authored (with Dr. Sagi Denenberg) the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement on Breed-Specific Legislation (2014). Edited: 50 Years of Advancing Feline Medicine: Winn Feline Foundation Helping Every Cat, Every Day (2018) and Preparing for the Future Celebrating the Winn Feline Foundation at 40 (2008).

After six years, in 2012, he cycled off the Board of Directors of the American Humane Association and served as a National Ambassador. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Tree House Humane Society, Chicago (2005 to 2016). He’s also on the Board of Directors of the Winn Feline Foundation (2007 to present), American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians (2016 to present). He’s an Advisory Board Member of Chicago Friends of Animal Care & Control (2013 to present), SPCA Puerto Vallarta (2016 to present) and Grey Muzzle Organization (2017 to present).

Steve is also a part of an AVMA/AAHA initiative to encourage preventive veterinary care, called Partners for Health Pets. In 2014, Steve co-founded Veterinary Professionals Against Puppy Mills, and serves on the Board of Directors. Steve is on the Pet Partners Human-Animal Bond National Advisory Board (2015 to present) and National Advisory Council Member American Association of Feline Practitioners (20016 to present). He was National Advisory Board Member Angel on a Leash (2005 to 2016) and Task Force on Feline Sterilization (2015 to 2017).

Steve’s a speaker for American Association of Feline Practitioners Cat Friendly Practices and the Fear Free Initiative. He’s on the Fear Free Advisory Council (2013 to present) and is the Chief Correspondent Fear Free Happy Homes, and he is certified in Fear Free.

Steve co-organized and led the event, Purrsing FIP and Winning for the Winn Feline Foundation. at UC Davis (2019). Aside from announcing major advances regarding FIP never before have so many researchers from around the world gathered at a symposium to discuss a single feline health issue.

In Chicago, Steve created the Chicago Task Force on Companion Animals and Public Safety (2000-2010), where three-times proposed breed bans were over-turned and twice over-turned proposed mandated pediatric spay/neuter, as well as proposed 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. in the Chicago area and elsewhere. Steve regularly advised Illinois Governor Pat Quinn regarding pet-related issues, including leading on bills to prohibit breed-specific bans and prosecute dog fighters with enhanced felony charges when convicted of fighting near schools or daycare centers. In 2019, it was Steve’s idea to create the first fire protection law for pets in kennels, which was signed by Governor J. B. Pritzker.

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 but his most distinguished may be the inaugural AVMA Excellence in Media Award which will be presented to him in August, 2020. He’s also earned the AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award (twice), HSUS Pets for Life Award, American Humane Association Media Award, American Pet Products Association Pet Industry Outstanding Media Representative of the Year, 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, Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control, and was the first recipient of the Winn Feline Foundation Media Appreciation Award, and many others.

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

After his beloved cat Ricky passed away in 2002 of feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), Steve created the Ricky Fund with the Winn Feline Foundation to raise money to research this often-fatal disease. He’s helped to raise over $200,000 – and as a direct result a genetic test was created to determine if a gene defect for HCM exists for two breeds, and further studies are underway.

Steve’s a regular speaker at veterinary and shelter conferences around the world, and for shelter fundraisers, and other special events, including SXSW. Steve’s presented numerous times at each of the major U.S. veterinary conferences, and at state and regional meetings as well as at veterinary schools, and several times for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. He’s also spoken at the Congreso Veterinario de Leon (Leon, Mexico) four times as well as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Conference (Sydney, Australia) CICA Animal Behavior Conference (Mexico City, Mexico) Latin American Veterinary Conference (Lima, Peru) Congreso Veternario de Columbia (Pereira, Columbia) Caribbean Veterinary Conference (St. Kitts) Companion Animal Nutrition Summit (San Jose, Costa Rica) and (via Skype) Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists Veterinary Behaviour Chapter Science Week (Brisbane, Australia).

Steve’s persistence convinced the Chicago White Sox to allow dogs at a major league baseball game – today, ball parks around America have periodic “dog days” promotions. In 2004, he suggested Mercury Skyline Cruiseline create “The Canine Cruise,” a dog-friendly architecture cruise for dogs on Lake Michigan/Chicago River, also replicated in other cities.

Steve is also the host (since 2015) of a popular WGN Podcast, Steve Dale’s Other World (about topics generally unrelated to pets).

Two of Steve’s favorite honors: Commencement Speaker at Madison Square Garden for Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (2008), and appearing (in 2012) as 59 across in a TV Guide Crossword Puzzle (pet journalist Steve _ _ _ _ ).


Steve Dale's Pet World: Satellite, Clock, & Air Times

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Promo

S teve Dale’s Pet World is a one-hour weekly show covering all aspects of the animal world from companion pets to wild animals. Steve Dale, a seasoned broadcaster from the animal world, interacts with listeners through live phone calls and e-mail. Guests include well-known personalities, behaviorists, vets, keepers and field researchers who work hands-on with the big guys at zoos and game preserves world wide. Recent topics have included everything from the dramatic return of the giant pandas to the National Zoo, to the more sublime focus on new vaccine protocols for house cats.

About The Host:

Steve currently hosts Pet Central on WGN-AM in Chicago. This gives him the opportunity to interact with listeners from Chicago and from around the world via e-mail. Guests are leading experts on topics like pet behavior, nutrition and veterinary medicine. Steve is proud that he delivers the most qualified specialists in the nation to answer listener questions and discuss newsworthy topics. Of course, all the topics are newsworthy, such as his weekly Pet Joke segment, or his annual singing pet contest.

His television appearances have included The Oprah Winfrey Show, National Geographic Explorer, Pets: Part of the Family, Petsburgh USA and Pet Project on Animal Planet. Steve has also appeared on all Chicago TV stations, including a two-year stint as the Pet Expert on superstation WGN-TV morning news. He was twice featured in Paul Harvey The Rest of the Story, and his radio guest appearances number over 100 on stations large and small across the United States and Canada.


Understanding Diabetes in Pets

How do you know if a pet is a diabetic? Historically, the focus has been on measuring blood glucose levels.

It turns out there may be a more efficient test to determine the big picture. Testing for fructosamine does just that. Fructosamine is a compound that is formed by the non-enzymatic reaction between fructose and ammonia.

Fructosamine testing looks beyond the hour-to-hour and day-to-day blood glucose fluctuations, to provide the patient’s average glucose over the previous weeks or even months.

While blood glucose curves may change by the hour, fructosamine offers a truer larger picture of what’s happening which is significant in dogs and even more so in cats.

Most cats don’t come into the clinic pleased to be there (though the Fear Free initiative may change this over time). The fear, anxiety and stress resulting from, being forcibly stuffed inside the carrier, the car transport, and exam at the hospital impacts the blood glucose level of most cats. It’s a fact that their fear factor impacts the blood work. Though veterinarians can project their views based on the numbers they see, these numbers are somewhat subjective to interpret.

A patient-side fructosamine test may help the veterinarian to quickly and confidently differentiate a temporary, stress-related, visit-induced spike in blood glucose from diabetes mellitus in a patient with no diabetic signs at home. Rather than measuring the ‘right now’ snapshot of blood glucose , fructosamine offers a longer term and truer picture with more objectivity.

Of course, it’s suggested that veterinary professionals educate pet owners regarding symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats, and ask if any combination of the symptoms are present.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Accidents in the house (when a dog is clearly house trained)
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness
  • Chronic skin infections

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats

  • Increased thirst
  • Sudden increase in appetite
  • Sudden weight loss (despite an increase in appetite)
  • Increased urination
  • Accidents outside the litter box
  • Increased lethargy
  • Vomiting

Many pets with diabetes show any combination of the above symptoms, but some don’t exhibit any outward signs. And often a pet’s symptom may go unnoticed by the owner, or be excused – like cats or dogs who vomit, ”it’s what they do,” says pet owners. That is why seeing a veterinarian twice a year is important.

The only way to definitely diagnose diabetes is through blood work. And fructosamine level offers that grand picture of what’s been going on, and might be the most objective measure.

Though not a symptom of diabetes in cats, diabetic cats are often overweight or obese and is related to their most common Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells in the cat's body don't respond to the insulin that is being provided. As a result, the cat becomes hyperglycemic (high blood sugar), which may lead to having excess sugar in the urine.

With proper insulin therapy, a shift to a higher protein and lower carb diet, weight loss and exercise (to enhance weight loss and adjust metabolism), many lucky cats may go into diabetic remission.

In dogs, Type 1 diabetes is by far most common, as the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin to regulate the glucose in the bloodstream, leading to persistent high glucose levels in the blood. The cause of this type of diabetes in dogs is greatly unknown, though there’s little doubt that genetics is a significant factor. Many of these dogs are overweight or obese, just because so many dogs are overweight or obese in the U.S., but unlike in the cat – too many pounds – while generally unhealthy – doesn’t cause the diabetes. Instead, the cause is generally unknown, though genetics may be a factor. These dogs require insulin therapy, and remission is highly unlikely.

The bad news is that diabetes is way up in dogs and cats. The good news is that diabetes is considered treatable (as mentioned, cats may even go into remission). However, in order to treat, appropriate diagnosis is necessary.


Watch the video: Steve Dale: Pet Behavior Problems


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