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Acast recommends, podcasts we love. How are you doing there? This is the Dave McWilliams podcast, podcast that makes economics accessible digestible and far more relevant to your life. And fun. Of course, it's fun. It's always crack. And not only that, there's history, there's politics, geo politics, lots of really good interviews of people you don't hear anywhere else. And of course, we tell the odd yarn or two.




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Hi, I'm Raj Gabby, Head of Identity Content at Health Post.


I'm Noah Michelson, Head of Health Post, Personal.


Welcome to Am I Doing It Wrong, the show that explores the all too human anxieties we have about trying to get our lives right.


Okay, Raj, before we get into today's episode, we've been getting a ton of email because our email address finally works. I love it. People have been sending great questions and topic ideas. We got one from Lisa that I want to read. She, like so many people, were obsessed with the laundry episode we did. So good. With Patrick Richardson, the laundry evangelizer. Alice. And she said, I've always wondered just how full we can get a front-loading washing machine. I've heard the fuller, the better, as long as the clothes are not packed and tight. But can we fill it to the top of the drum? Is this true? And she's worried about whether the spin cycle can handle all that weight. So Patrick was nice enough to email us back, and he said, You should check your manual, but usually you can fill it about 80% of the way full. The real key is the weight. If you're washing things that are going to be really heavy, like jeans, maybe pack it a little less full. Got it. He said, You don't want to wash clothes that are going to weigh more than 25 pounds, and that's usually about 15 pairs of jeans.


So he said, Basically, fill it as full as you can as long as the items aren't super heavy. Makes sense. Yeah. So thanks for that, Lisa. And thanks, Patrick, for coming to our rescue once again.


We love Patrick.


We do.


All right, so let's get down to business for today. Noah, I know that you are a dog zaddy, okay? I am. Have you always been a dog person?


I have not. So I grew up with dogs. We had Airdales, we had Tobetten Terriers, and I like them fine, but I've always been a cat guy. In fact, when I would be looking for a boyfriend on the dating apps, if they had a dog, I usually swiped right on by because I didn't want to deal with a dog. I find them annoying. Oh, no. But now I love dogs. Now that I have a dog, I'm obsessed. That's all it really took.


Are you a dog person? I mean, it works like that. I've been a dog person my entire life. I understand them. They understand me. I am a bit of a dog. I'm just excited all the time, et cetera. But now I have a cat. My partner moved in with a cat, and she's the love of my life. And now I'm a cat person. I miaou sometimes in reaction to things.


I think the hard thing, whether it's a dog or a cat, is, are they happy? And how do we make them happy?


Yeah. And it's literally my most important goal in life. Yeah. I totally agree. Thankfully, today We have Dr. Emily Levine with us. She's an animal behaviorist with a background in veterinary medicine, and she is just the queen dog whisperer.


Let's get Emily in here and figure out what the hell is going on with our dogs. Let's do it.


Okay, Emily, first of all, thank you so much for being here. We are so excited to talk about puppers for the next 45 minutes.


I'm excited to be here. I'm really excited to talk about this information.


Wonderful. Okay, first question. Can you tell us what makes a dog behaviorist different from a vet?


Absolutely. This is such an important question because It's so confusing to so many people. I often say it's clear as mud when you're out there trying to find help for your dog. And I think what's most important to know, if you're a dog trainer, you don't have to have any education at all, and you can call yourself whatever you want. You can call yourself a dog behaviorist, a dog trainer, a dog trainer who specializes in aggressive, anxious dogs. There There are no regulations out there, no governing body to make sure they are skilled to work with your precious pet. That's terrifying. It is absolutely terrifying. The way I look at it is there are dog trainers who should be able to teach basic stuff, sit down, stay, wait, and maybe advise what sport your dog might like, and they should all be using positive methods. And hopefully they have some initials after their name to show that they've at least done some- Formal training. Formal training or taken some online courses and passed some tests. So we want some initials after their name. Then there's a higher level of trainer or a different skillset, I should say.


And these generally are called dog behaviorists or behavior consultants. And they should have the letters I-A-A-B-C after their name. It's a different skill set. Those dog trainers have done a little more education and work to work with dogs who don't just need basic dog manners, but who may have some anxiety issues or aggression issues. And then there are veterinary behaviorists, which is what I am. So I'm a veterinarian. I went to vet school. I did an internship, I practice in regular medicine. I then did a residency in animal behavior at at Cornell. And what we do is, in addition to learning traditional medicine, we then become proficient in psychopharmacology, behavioral endocrinology, different type of neurology. Because when we're looking at dogs as a veterinary behaviorist, we should know all the stuff that a dog trainer should know or a dog behaviorist should know and what behavior models. But we have the medical knowledge to know, is there a physical issue that is causing the behavior Is there a physical issue that's making it worse? I would say the number one thing I see in my practice that makes dogs, causes anxiety or aggression or making it worse is discomfort and pain.


That is just easily missed for so many reasons. It's very, very common. So we can prescribe treatments for pain, but we can also prescribe behavioral medications for our pets. If they're really, if they're having compulsive disorders or severe anxiety disorders or a lot of frustration aggression. As a medical professional, we can look at both the internal factors and the external factors and do an overall treatment plan.


Well, this is why we have you here because nothing but the best for our listeners.


The whole package. Exactly. Yes.


I have a dog with my boyfriend. His name is Jumanji. We call him Jumi. He's three. He's a Pit German Shepherd mix, but a whole bunch of stuff. He's a rescue, so I'll probably talk about him a lot. But one of the things I wonder about, I think this is a great place to to start is just how much do we know about what a dog is thinking? And is there more research that's happened in the last 20 or 30 years, or is it still a mystery? I have no idea what's going on in his head, and it's the most frustrating thing.


And I know you stare into his soul just asking. Completely.


And I talk to him like I do. But what do we know about what dogs understand or what they are thinking?


We still have a lot to learn. But what we can certainly say is that But dogs certainly do think they have to or they couldn't survive and adapt. An example of that is they have to know that, Hey, when this person's opening the fridge, they're probably going to get out food, so I better get in there and hang out and wait politely or pester them not so politely for food. They have to be able to make associations or they wouldn't survive. We all do. And that's thinking. They also have the basic emotional parts of their brain that allow them to feel or experience anxiety, frustration, aggression, care, friendship. These are basic parts of the brain. These are not special to humans. That has been proven. So the emotions and the motivations are what allow the animal to really think and make associations and things of that nature.


So interesting. And this is a continuation of that question. I mean, in the way that we know that they sniff things to figure things out. They shake hands by sniffing butts, I've heard. So can you tell me a little bit I like that.


I like that, yes. Dogs have a wonderful sense of smell, so they get a lot of information by smelling. And I don't think we have the faintest clue all the information they're getting from that sense. But that's a huge sense for them. In fact, there are some dogs that I'll see that they'll make a decision if they like someone or not only after they sniff them. Yeah, totally. And when you see dogs meet, how they, they'll sniff the head. Then if that's okay, They go to the butt. I call it speed dating. You're going to get a lot of information very quickly and decide if you want to hang out or move on. So dogs can get a lot of information from sniffing, and it's a great way to enrich their world. Dogs also have an excellent sense of hearing. They can hear things we can't. They also are, and most people don't realize, they can see color, but they're red-green color blind. So they'll see shades of blues and yellows as opposed to reds and Oh, interesting. But they can see color. So just like us, they have all the senses to help them interpret their world, navigate their world, and help make decisions about things.


The smell thing is so cool to me because I've watched hundreds of dog documentaries, and I feel like I remember there are some emotional and physical support dogs that actually can smell certain enzymes and body chemicals as to when someone is going to have an episode. I mean, this is crazy to me.


It is fascinating. There are dogs who can be serviced dogs for if someone has their heart rate is getting too low, the dog will alert them to take a pill or you're about to have a seizure, Yeah. Well, this doesn't require smell, but I still think it's cool. People who can't turn over and bed themselves, but they have to, otherwise they'll get bed sores, the dog can lay next to them and they hold on to the dog and the dog will turn them over. I mean, it's really... And they have dogs that sniff out cancer cells. They also use dogs to sniff out in airports, not just drugs. I mean, I think most people are like, Oh, they're here to sniff drugs, but also cash, large amounts of cash. Wow.


They're narcs.


I maintain, and I'm going to say throughout this episode, that dogs are better than humans. Oh, 100%.


I would rather hang up with a dog and get.


150%. We do not deserve that.


No, not at all.


Dogs don't have agendas, right? They're just innocent and pure, and they wear their emotions on their sleeves, so to speak. There are no hidden agendas.


Not at all. And because of that, and the whole purpose of this episode is really that we want to make our dogs as happy as possible. Absolutely. So let's talk about that. But I think to start, we should talk about how do we know if our dog is happy? Because it's a mystery to me. So why don't we just run through a couple of things that historically people have said, Oh, if you see this, that means they're happy. So tail wagging. Does that mean that they're happy?




Here we go. I know. Here we go.


I was going to really stress you out.


It is.


We have to look at more than just the actual wag. I would say if a tail is wagging very stiffly and rhythmically, you have to look at the rest of the dog's body. You can't just look at one body part to tell what they're feeling, because there are dogs who will, quote, happily agress. Their tail is stiff. They're just aroused. It's arousal. Whether it's positive or negative, we don't know unless we look at the rest of the body language and the context. I usually just tell people, if you want to guarantee, Hey, this means the dog's happy, their whole butt is going back and forth, side to That, they're happy. They're wiggly.


I'm just thinking of Corgies. Corgies have infamous Waguih butts.


Yeah, yeah. They are the best. And like you said, you can see it in their face. Their face. I think so. Yes.


There's what's called the happy face, where they have their mouth I mean, this is a podcast, you can't see what I'm doing with my hands. But they have their mouth halfway open with their tongue hanging out and their eyes, and they just have loose body language. It's like the happy face. It's the best. Or if they're doing play bow. But just a tail wag, there are different kinds of wags. If it's fast and loose versus stiff and rhythmical, the direction it goes more towards, all of that can be varied emotions.


Okay, what about the kiss? When dogs lick your face.


Yeah. So dogs can lick your face for different reasons. Sometimes it's just they're super excited to see you. It's their greeting. And other times, and I will say, I read and hear a lot of people say, Kiss to dismiss. Like they're just saying, please go away or don't move further. I don't know that. We know that. So I can't... I just don't know. But it's a theory. It's a theory. I think more science has to be done on that. But licking can certainly be done as a positive thing. And I'm sure there are times where it can be not so positive. But I think we have a lot to learn about that.


If we do some more studies, I would like to be a participant in the dog affection. I want to be in the control group with the happy dog.


Yes, just getting licked to death. Yeah, exactly.


Oh, my God. It's like Xanax.




What do we know about how dogs feel about getting affection from the other way? Oh, yeah. I love to kiss Jumi. I love to hug Jumi. I love to pet Jumi. But sometimes it seems like he's not into that.


Yeah, I'm the same. I love to smush my dog and kiss him to pieces, even though I know he doesn't really care for it. Now, he's not growling. He's not biting. But he's clearly just tolerating it and puts up with it. He does a little groan. But many dogs, it's really interesting, but many dogs really don't find being pet and hugged and kissed particularly nice. They just don't enjoy it very much. I mean, there are some dogs who, don't get me wrong, yes, scratch my bud. I love a good butt scratch. Or when you first come home or they haven't seen you in a while because they're so excited to see you, that may mask how they really feel about it. But when you really watch a dog's body language, when they're hanging out doing their own thing, most of them are just tolerating it at best. There are lots of dogs where, quite frankly, they get so frustrated and annoyed that they start to growel and say, Hey, please back off. I'm really not enjoying this.


Oh my God, are dogs actually cats?


This is the secret of this show. Illuminating. But this breaks my heart a little bit because I don't want to stop doing that. I know. But it sounds like I should. Yeah?


Well, this is where we have a little bit of a culture clash, human culture and dog culture. It is important. We have dogs. We love them. And I would say if they're tolerating it, as long as they're not aggressing or it's making them very anxious, tail-tucked ears back. If they're tolerating it, it's a little bit like hugging your kid, especially as they become more of a teenager. Sometimes you're just going to hug them and kiss them, and they just have to put up with it. So I don't think it's a terrible thing to pet and hug and kiss your dog if they tolerate and don't love it. I think we shouldn't be doing it if it clearly makes them anxious or they're using aggression as a strategy to say, Stop. Because most people, and if we ignore the early signs, the growel, let's say, then dogs sometimes feel they have to escalate their message. Fair enough, because we are not getting that. Boundaries. Boundaries, exactly.


Also, I've read that a lot of dogs don't love the hug in particular because you make them feel a little suffocated. So maybe the pets are nicer for them. So there's a little bit of compromise, perhaps.


And the cheek and the chin, probably avoiding going along down the back and that type of stuff. And you can keep it brief, too. I think as long as, very honestly, it's a relationship that we have with our dogs, and there's always give and take and stuff like that. As long as that's not the only thing you ever do with your dog, right? Let's make sure they're getting time to play or getting time to do things that they find enjoyable. Well, it's give and take.


Yeah, we get our fix, and then maybe we move on. Yes. What I love about this already is this is something we learn on the podcast in different episodes. We just did one about food storage and leftovers. And the thing we took away from that one is your food wants to tell you when it's not happy anymore. There are signs. You can smell it, you can see it, there's mold, whatever. And it sounds like you're saying as much as we don't know about dogs, they're giving us signals as well. Stay attention. And we should be able to read those, and that will help us know what to do. So if they look like they're not loving you, hugging them, they're probably not.


Exactly. Learning the best thing any owner can probably do of a dog to really understand their dog is to learn how to read their body language because they're constantly constantly telling us how they feel. Constantly. We just have to learn how to read it. We're not born understanding that. No dog owner should feel guilty about not knowing how to read their dog. But there are lots of resources, body language videos and resources where you can learn how they exactly are communicating. What does it mean when they have this body posture or ear position? For different breeds, some breeds are harder to read than others. But it's the best thing, really, that a dog owner can do to really get to know their dog, learn how they speak because they're speaking all the time. Yeah.


Let's take a quick break, and we'll be right back with more Am I Doing It Wrong?


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So if you want that every Tuesday and Thursday, listen to the Dave McWilliams podcast, Economics Made Accessible, all the way from Dublin. Acast is home to the world's best podcasts, including the Blindboy podcast, Ready to be Real with Sheila Shoiger, and the one you're listening to right now.


Welcome back to Am I Doing It Wrong?


What about taking dogs for walks? Will you lay out for us the ideal things we should be doing? I read somewhere recently that this person was saying, I have two different kinds of walks. I have the walks that are for me, and basically I'm taking the dog out to get the dog's business done and then a little exercise. And then I do what I call a sniff about. And that is when I actually know the dog is just, I'm going to let them sniff. And we might only make it two blocks in 25 minutes because they're sniffing every single third foot. But I'm going to let them do that. So talk to us about your thoughts on walking a dog.


Absolutely. And I would say this depends on the dog, their age, their health, all that good stuff. But generally speaking, when people go on a walk and don't let the dog sniff, I equate that to I'm going to take you to a movie theater, but I'm going to blindfold you during the movie. Like, they need to sniff. That's where they get so much enrichment and information. We have to let them sniff. And that's actually why people will say, I will often say, I'm going to have two different kinds of walks, because, again, it's a relationship and we have to make everything work for all of us. If there are times we're like, look, I got to get to work. You got to go out. You got to do your business. I can't spend three hours letting you sniff one blade of grass. So that's why for some dogs, okay, this is an elimination walk. You have some maybe word or a different color leash or something that this is this walk we're going to do. And then you should, if the dog is a dog who likes to sniff. Make sure you go on Sniffarries or whatever.


Sniffarries? Sniff walks. And I don't care if they just stay in one spot right by the door. For them, that's what can be very enriching. Yeah.


That's really funny that you say that because Because I definitely, when I will walk one of my friends' dogs, I'll do a little narration. When he's sniffing a tire, I'll be like, Oh, Gina has been here, and she peed on this. She's dating Max again. They can sniff other animals. They want to know what's going out in their neighborhood.


I'll call it pea-mail. Oh, my God. I love that. They're leaving little messages. I know when my dog's sniffing a lot at a particular post all the time, I just like, Oh, it's their little Starbucks. They're leaving these messages.


I love that.


That's adorable. I'm lucky because Jimmy never barks unless there is some danger. He's not a talker in that way, which I love. I had dogs growing up that were definitely barkers. But let's say someone does have a dog that's a barker and they want it to be barking less. What can you do?


What they need to do is figure out, and this is where you want to enlist a qualified trainer. You need to figure out why the dog's barking. If they're barking, so I would say a common thing that I see is dogs often bark to get attention because If and again, people were busy, were busy. Sometimes we know that dogs need to go on a walk and they need exercise and they need to play. But some dogs, and what most of us forget or don't make enough time for, myself included, is that dogs also need mental stimulation and enrichment. A lot of these dogs are very smart, but they're bored, really bored. And so there are different levels of enrichment. So let's say it's a dog who's barking and it's deemed, okay, this dog is just needs a little... He's bored and frustrated him, so he's barking because he wants to do something. There's like, elementary school level enrichment, high school level enrichment, and collegiate level enrichment. And so there are dog foraging puzzles. I consider that elementary school level. A lot of the dogs that I end up seeing need more high school or collegiate level.


So things like trick training. I don't care if dogs know trick, but it's the act of learning that is fulfilling and tiring. I know I taught my... I have a little dog. I taught him how to get a tissue and I make the sneezzing sound or put toys away in a toy box. And once or another great enrichment for dogs who really need it is scent work, where they have to solve odor problems. So that's a great thing. So if you have a dog who's barking because they're not getting enough stuff and the owner walks them, say, Hey, I walk them, they go out in the yard. What else can I do? They're probably bored and they need to work their brain more. And the smarter the dog is, that means you're going to have to teach them a lot of things because once they learn something, that no longer counts as mental stimulation. That's like me asking you, What's one plus one? What's one plus one? Oh, my God, I'll go bark at something. If it's a dog who just needs more stimulation, really doing that cognitive enrichment is huge.


What is that scent work? Give us an example of something that you Yeah, great.


Actually, it's turning into this big dog sport, scent work, and their online courses people can take to do with their dog. That's what I did. There are trainers that specialize in it or have certification in it. And a lot of people I was like, well, how easy is this going to be for my dog? I mean, my dog has a good nose, and it starts with boxes on the ground and treats in the boxes. How hard could that be? But you do that initial set up just for you to learn the rules of the game and for the dog to learn the rules of the game. And Then what happens is you're now just putting, and you usually start with treats, in random boxes. So they don't know and they have to figure it out. Got it. Now you're making it harder. Now you're going to put one of the boxes on a raised piece of furniture, an airflow. Do you have windows open? Do you have a fan on? Do you have the heat? Because now what happens is smells form odor cones. Interesting. So they're really solving odor problems. And then you can elevate from treats to sense, really doing scent work.


And then you can do outside, which is much harder because you have the wind and everything else. It tires their brains out so much. I love this.


It's like PhD-level work.


Yes. So one thing, we are really worried that Jumi is bored because we both work all day, and we take him on walks. We take him to the off leash in the park in the morning. We try and get him, but there are just times when we can't. Absolutely. So one thing that we learned was to... Our dog trainer said, When you feed your dog and you just put the food in their bowl, they're done in 30 seconds. And you're missing an opportunity. So now we play this game called ping pong, where we take a cup full of kibble and we take a piece, and we say, we look him in the eye, and then we say, Find it, and we throw it across the room, and then he comes back, and then we say, Find it, and we throw it to another part of the room. So he eats his cup of kibble. It takes 20 minutes, and he's running around the apartment. He's activated. He's looking for something, and he's learning that this is a game we play. He looks forward to And we've only been doing it for a week and a half, but he loves it.


It's so many dogs love this type of engagement. They just love it. And when you think of dogs or cats, they spend a lot of time in nature foraging for their meals. That's how you have to spend a lot of their time budget on that. And nowadays, it's like us, right? We just put it in the microwave and get it. We don't have to hunt and do all that stuff.


And that's something you can do for free. I mean, you can buy those puzzles, but they're expensive. I mean, the dog industry as well. Like the pet industry, you can spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on your pet, and we will. I would, yes. But if I don't have to spend it on a game and I can just play ping pong with Jumi, I'd rather do that. Absolutely.


You said something earlier that I think we should reemphasize, and that's the idea of when you're training a dog, it should be a positive experience because I think you still hear about a lot of people who are punishing.


Yeah, it's like a discipline thing. Using shock colors.


It's awful. Things It's so outdated. It's so archaic. And unfortunately, it's still very, very here in the present.


So would you say, though, anyone who is really qualified to be giving information, they would never be using that a technique? Correct. Okay. Correct. So if you meet someone and they want you to do that with your dog, you should go in the other way.


Absolutely not. If they're recommending prong collars or shock collars, or they're talking all about dominant and being alpha, those are uneducated, outdated. If you don't have the skill set to teach a dog in different ways, you're over your head with what you're doing. Or the dog may genuinely have some temperament traits that are making it very difficult for them to learn.


And that's possible, too.


I know we do temperament tests on all of our dogs that have been validated. Some dogs have cognitive impulsivity. They can't control their impulses. It is so hard to learn. So sometimes We have to help them regulate their emotional system so that they can learn. When people don't know that, or obviously, the dog trainers can't prescribe meds for it if that's an issue, then what people do is, Well, what I'm doing isn't working, so I'm going to get more heavy-handed. If we want to keep our dogs happy, we want people who are teaching them to teach them in a fun, science-based way. Yeah. With clarity. With clarity. That makes a lot of sense.


What about dogs that are Are you being aggressive? Can you just talk a little bit about aggression? I think some people think that dogs are bred that way. Is that actually a thing? And what should someone do if their dog is being aggressive?


There are dogs where there can be genetic things passed down. So a very ugly topic. But people who breed dogs to fight. Horrible, terrible, disgusting. They keep records on which dog can do the most damage? Which dog is the most aggressive? And they will then make sure to breed those dogs. So genetically, it can be something that is passed down. Now, there are dogs will aggress for a million different reasons, and sometimes it is absolutely normal and absolutely appropriate. You stick your hand in a food bowl that a dog is eating and they growl, that dog's not being inappropriate. That's like we're being rude, and they're trying to say, back off. I'm not going to stick my hand in your dessert while you're eating it. If a dog is resting, it's one of the few old wives tales, I believe, let a resting dog lie. If a dog is resting and doesn't want to be bothered, so you go up and pet or hug or kiss and they're like, grr, that's normal and okay. They're allowed to have their feelings and their perspective, and they're communicating to you in an appropriate way. Where we get into trouble, again, is if we ignore it and just continue, and then they have to like, yell at us, meaning snap or bite.


Then there are dogs who are aggressive in contexts that don't make any sense. Like someone crossed their legs, now they're going to go after them. And we see those all the time. And that's where we're looking at more complicated issues. This is beyond training. This is more probably medications, making sure there's no pain, very specific behavior modifications. Dogs will aggress out of pain. They'll aggress out of frustration. They'll aggress out of anxiety. They will aggress if they perceive someone as a social cheat and They're like, Hey, don't come into my group. You don't belong. So there are all sorts of reasons dogs can aggress. And it's about finding out why are they doing it? What's their emotion? What's their motivation? And what are the context in which it occurs? And then from there, we can devise a plan.


It's like a Nancy Drew book. It is.


It's like a mystery that you have to be looking for the clues. That's why I fell in love with behavior, honestly.


Would you say the number one thing you should do if a dog is aggressive or anxious or acting strangely is to go get a medical checkup? Yes, absolutely. To check for pain or other things?


Absolutely. That should be the very first thing. I think one of the biggest things we have to appreciate and get out there is so many people think, understandably, my dog can run and lunge at people or just run and play. Therefore, he or she cannot be in pain or discomfort. We have a very narrow view of what pain is. People have arthritis. It doesn't mean every time they take a step, they're screaming, ouch. And the way the brain works is the brain is going to suppress pain when the brain sees something it really wants to do. So I've learned that just because a dog runs and plays or can still lunge and react, it means nothing to me. They still could be in discomfort. And I have the luxuries. My appointments are an hour long, and I have a big room. So the luxuries, I can see these dogs just walk the way they would normally walk. And where I find most signs that I'm concerned something is wrong is when they're just doing their normal walk at a slow pace, because that's when I'll see subtle lameness issues. But have do a trot or a run, and suddenly everything looks perfect.


So it is the very first thing you should do is and tell your veterinarian, I'm concerned my dog may be in some discomfort. And so we want to palpate all the muscles and all the joy points, et cetera.


Speaking of pain that you can't see, just like humans who sometimes have clinical depression that you can't see when you're walking down the street, can you tell me about sad dogs? How do we know our dog is sad? Why does this happen? What can we do?


Yeah, that's a good question. And from a scientific basis, should we be using the word sad? But going over all that, I think if your dog is lying around with that sad-looking face and isn't able to experience joy. So they're not happy when they go for a walk. They're not happy when you want to play. They're not happy when you try and engage them. Then I think we have to look at, is there something medical going on or are we a little depressed? And if so, why? And what can we do about that? Okay.


Makes sense. What are your thoughts about antidepressants for dogs?


They're Absolutely necessary in certain dogs, for sure. And they work? Yes. So in dogs, we use a lot of the same medicine they use in people. We use Prozac and Paxol and Zoloft, Xanex and Valium, gabapentin, A lot of the same stuff. Brain chemistry is brain chemistry. They use dogs to study Alzheimer's because the pathogenesis is similar. They use dogs to study PTSD. They use dogs for certain anxiety models, all to benefit people. But dogs can experience so many of the things that we can because all of these neurotransmitters, again, basic biology, it's like you have to have emotions to be able to then have motivation to make decisions about what you want to do. It's like, so this is not just a human thing. It's in many species.


On a happier note.


Let's do that. Let's move away from this.


On a happier note, Noah once told me that even I know Jumi is a big boy. He sleeps in the bed with Noah and his partner, which is just a sleepover I want to be invited to. The cuteest thing on planet Earth. I can't imagine because my tiny cat sleeps in the bed with us, and it's still absolutely absolute chaos all the time.


Is that okay for Jimmy to be in the bed with us? Please say yes. It's absolutely okay. My dog sleeps in my bed with me. The only time it's not okay, or I should say safe, is if you have a dog that when you move in your sleep, it bites you. That type of thing. If the dog is going to show aggression, then it's probably the safest thing to do to not allow the dog to sleep in a bed. But that's, again, an outdated, archaic, So your dog sleeps in the bed with you or is on the furniture, they're going to think they're alpha or in charge. Dogs just want to be warm and cuddly and have a comfortable place to rest just like we do. So I love that my dog sleeps with me in bed. Me too.


That makes me really happy because it is an old wives' tale that they'll believe that they're your equal or exactly that they can do whatever they want. Which is crazy.


Because we control everything about their lives. They're just trying to figure it out. It's so crazy.


This has been so interesting. I'm wondering, are there Any other things you can think of that we expect from our dogs that we shouldn't? Any myths that you want to bust about how we interact with our dogs or making our dogs happy?


I think we already touched on this, but it's so important that we just get past this dogs want to be dominant, dogs want to be alpha. It's as archaic as saying women shouldn't vote. Just let's move on. That's a myth. Get a different person to help you if that's what you're being told. I think the other thing really is expecting dogs to let us, as their family members or anyone, do anything we want to them, and they should never, ever growl or say, Please stop. Dogs have their own wants, desires. They're adult beings. So we can't expect a dog to let us do whatever we want anytime we want. And we also can't expect them to be very Some dogs aren't super social with other dogs, and some dogs aren't super social with other people, and that's okay. I think we have to respect that, and you have to get to know your own dog, and you may have to create who's their friend profile if you don't just have one of these overtly social dogs. I think let's get rid of the dominant stuff. It's just enough is enough already with that nonsense. And then also appreciating your dog as an individual being, and they're going to have their own wants and desires and likes and dislikes.


And we just have to learn to live together as best we can.


I love that.


I love that, too.


Let your dog be them.


Thank you for being here. My pleasure. This has been so illuminating.


I love it. Oh, God. I feel so good, and I'm just imagining puppers, and I can't wait to have six of them. And my one cat.


Now it's time for Better in 5. These are our top five takeaways from this episode.


All right, number one. Dogs are thinking, feeling creatures that have boundaries and ways that they communicate with us. Our job is to pay attention and look for their signals.


Number two, sniffing is such a huge part of how dogs understand the world. So treating them well means giving them ample time to sniff.


Going to snifari. All right, number three, there are ways to tell if our dog is happy, but it's a combination of factors and not as simple as paying attention to a wagging tail or kisses.


Number four, as much as we love to kiss and hug and pet our dogs, they just might not be into it. So So we need to pay attention to their reactions and maybe concentrate on quality rather than quantity with your affection.


Number five, just like us, dogs have their own unique personalities. Some are introverts, some are extroverts. We need to learn to respect that and acclimate to it.


Raj, on a scale of 1-10, how much did you learn during this episode about dogs?


Oh, my God. An 11, for sure. My mind is blown, especially the part about dispelling the myth that you need to be this dominant, authoritarian figure to your dog. That's not really my jam and my brand anyway with animals. I want to be friends. I want us to love and respect each other. I'm processing that.


What about you? Completely. I think the thing for me, and this kills me to say this, but I do think I'm going to back off Jumi a little bit. My thing is I just want to kiss him or rub his belly or hug him every single time I see him. I honestly don't think he loves that. So So now I'm going to try and make my kisses really count. So when I give him a kiss, it really matters. But I'm not going to, every single time I see him on the couch, go over to him and bother him.


This is a recipe for sadness for you and happiness for Jimmy. It is. No, no, no. You know what? You're going to feel really happy now because you're going to know that restraining yourself a little bit is actually making him feel more loved. And that's what you want.


And I think that's exactly it. And the other thing, too, is like Emily said, it's not just about us. These are adults, I think, as she put it. Adult beings. Yeah, they have lives and they have wants and they have desires and boundaries. And so the more that we can respect that, I think the better our relationship is going to be. It is like having a teenager. It is. And they have their own lives and we have I respect that. I love that.


Jimmy just texted me. He said that he loves you so much.


I wish he did. I have the idea of his little pause on a phone, and that is just breaking my heart in the best way. Anyway, until next time. As long as there are things to get wrong, we're going to be right here to help you do them better.


Love you all.


Do you have something you think you're doing wrong? Email us at amidoingitwrong@huffpost. Com and let us know.


I hear you some wire needs a fixer, ma'am. The name's Buzz.


On account of my work.


No chance.


Not all cowboys ride horses. All safe electric registered electrical contractors must give you a certificate of completion that shows their work meets approved standards. Find one nearby on safeelectric. Ie.


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