Don't know if I am using the proper title for these people but here goes nothing. My husband and I decided to adopt a dog from a rescue. We searched for a reputable rescue in Southern California where we lived at the time and went to many dog adoption events to walk the dogs and hopefully find the right one for us. After a month and a half we came home with what we believe is a 1.5 year old German Shepherd who looked to be in relatively good condition. We knew adopting could be difficult because we wouldn't know much about the dog's history. Our dog was dropped off at the shelter because she did not get along well with their young toddler.
Our dog gets along wonderfully with children. When we approach a child with his/her parent she sits down, her ears go back and she tries to lick the child's face. She is very sweet. What we have discovered is that she has severe separation anxiety. We recently moved from Southern California to the Chicago Area for my husband's promotion within his company. I am in search of a part-time job and have an enrolled in school to complete a career transition.
In short my friends have said over and over again to take our dog to a 'dog psychic' to find out about her past and where the separation anxiety stems from. They believe she was abused by her previous owner(s). From some of her daily behavior I would have to agree but believe she is a gentle and loving animal through and through. I just don't know if the 'dog psychic' is bunk or what? I'm inclined to think it is a bunch of bunk but think it would be very interesting if a show was done on this topic. People are crazy about their pets and go to great lengths to sometimes make them more than a pet.
Anyone who claims to be a "Dog Psychic" is an asshole trying to part you from your money while giving you absolutely nothing in return. Having said that, you aren't totally screwed here, as you may find the help you need from a trainer or animal behaviouralist. Ideally, you'll want a decent trainer that is willing to let you speak with a client or two as references (I personally think that the jury is still out on "behaviouralists" too, but I' haven't looked into it all that much).
Let me tell you this. Don't go to a dog psychic and waste your money. Dogs are not people. Humans have a strange way of making their pets into humans. Dogs can't think like we do. Psychics are for humans because we have a way to screw up our thinking. Other animals doesn't do that, they just are. They just live and acts on natural instinct. You can try out the dog psychic if you'd like to but if that "psychic" starts to talk about the dogs feelings..leave. It sucks to say the truth that dogs doesn't have feelings, not the same feelings as humans have anyway. It's just stupid people with lack of knowledge that think they do.
If you want any tip from any expert, pick Cesar Millan. He must be the only person in this world that works with dogs and not with humanized creatures. His methods works, believe me, I know my animals. Watch some of his episodes about dogs with the same separation anxiety and if you do it right, you will get the result you want.
I'm pretty much with the majority of folks . . pet psychics are like regular psychics . . folks that are full of bunk, ready to give silly answers to folks and con them out of cash.
I must say, as a dog owner . . I really am seeing some sense in Cesar Millan's books . . and actually enjoy laughing at his shows where he repeatedly tells people to stop treating their dogs like people and treating them like animals . . so if you need to understand their behavior, take a look at animal behavior and stop tying to impose human psychology/emotions/reasoning on all of their actions.
My dog is a nut . . can have some "anxiety" . . but, most of it is just pent up energy . . give your dog a good LONG walk before you need to leave the house and when you get home, it will be too tired to start doing any destructive behavior like chewing shoes or excessive barking, etc once you leave. We took that advice from Millan's shows/book and so far it's work for us and our dog has calmed down considerably.
You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that's clear-
I will choose free will
Just a brief return to Tesseract's worries about the general trend in TV. I agree with you about everything you said except for "The Mentalist". This show is actually about a guy who was a John Edwards type and "went straight." He tells everyone that he was a con artist when he did his contact the dead show, and on the TV show he works with the police doing cold reading. The writers always have him make a real point of explaining that nothing that he does is supernatural. He also describes the observations that led him to his conclusions.
I wish I had chanced upon this thread earlier. Our dog Andromeda has separation anxiety and walking helps, but it doesn't solve the underlying problem. When our first dog died, Andromeda went berserk with grief and ate our back door the first time we all left the house. She just chewed right through the steel and started ripping out the insulation trying to get into the backyard. I think she was looking for either us or the other dog. How do you tell a dog that her long-term companion is dead? We came home to an absolutely devastated animal whose muzzle was torn, sore, and bleeding (the pain she caused herself was not enough to make her stop chewing the door).
I spent the next few weeks a prisoner in our house because we couldn't leave her completely alone without her chewing the doors and window frames. I'd only leave the house when my kids got home from school. Desperate, I consulted with the dog trainer who works with our vet. She gave me a lot of good advice while the vet put the dog on anti-anxiety meds. The vet explained that the meds do not remove the anxiety, they just make the dog's mind more amenable to change. It is not a long-term solution and we worked very hard toward getting our dog to the point where she didn't need meds any more.
It took me about 7 months of intensive training to get Andromeda stabilized. She's considered to be a very tough case. Although I've read that some dogs can take up to 2 years to be stabilized.
I did a lot of desensitization (jingling keys, putting on my coat, getting my handbag, walking to the door, turning the door knob, stepping outside, coming back inside -- over and over and over several times a day) and giving her a treatball stuffed with liverwurst (only thing that works with her) whenever I left the house. I buy a lot of liverwurst.
For awhile, I also set up video cameras to see how Andromeda would react when I left the house so I could gauge her progress. If a dog is still anxious after 20 minutes, you've got a clear problem. If the dog calms down after only a few minutes, you're probably not dealing with separation anxiety.
I also read one of Cesar Milan's books and watched his show, and also watched "It's Me or the Dog" and realized that Andromeda needed more exercise. However, Cesar Milan does not give any really good advice about true separation anxiety. Most dogs who seem to have separation anxiety are simply bored, under-exercised, or they think they're dominant over you and get outraged that you're leaving the house without their permission...but a dog with true separation anxiety has something far more nefarious going on. We'll probably never know for certain exactly why Andromeda is the way she is (she was a year old when we adopted her from the SPCA and our vet believed that she had been excessively crated by her original owners and had worn down her teeth chewing the metal crate). I don't think she'll ever really be "cured."
Our dog trainer said that some dogs just need the companionship of other dogs to help them cope with anxiety, so we worked with a local rescue group and adopted a calm, stable, dominant male Labrador to act as her leader when we're out of the house. It has really helped and she's pretty stable now. Sometimes we come home and she's actually lounging around on the sofa with her treat ball filled with liverwurst. She's not perfect, but she's happier than she used to be. Still, I wouldn't just bring another dog into the house. You have to get your problem dog stabilized before you bring another dog into the house.
So, just say no to dog psychics. Yes to plenty of exercise, discipline, and the help of your veterinarian and dog trainer. I don't know what most dog trainers charge, but ours charged us less than $100 for her initial evaluation and no charge for advice via e-mail and phone calls. We spent more money getting anti-anxiety pills from the vet than consulting with the trainer. Your money is far better spent on a qualified dog trainer than on a "psychic."