The Coastal Star

Paws Up for Pets: Top dog in animal behavior coming to town

Nicholas Dodman, editor of Catnip magazine, will speak about animal behavior.

Photo provided

By Arden Moore

In my office, the number of books on dogs and cats fills a bookcase that spans nearly an entire wall. They are written by some of the best veterinarians and animal behaviorists. I cherish five books because they are written by the person I regard as the best when it comes to merging veterinary medicine with companion animal behavior — Nicholas Dodman, BVMS.

For nearly 10 years, I worked as an investigative reporter for the Sun-Sentinel. Day 1 on the job an editor told me that he had one rule he wanted all of his reporters to heed: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

Great advice then and now. For the past dozen years, I’ve applied my journalistic skills in the pet world. During this time, I’ve had the opportunity to observe Dodman interact with dogs and cats in his role as director of the world-renowned Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. I’ve read his peer-reviewed studies and best-selling books. I’ve interviewed him for various publications and invited him as a guest on my Oh Behave show on Pet Life Radio.

As editor of Catnip, the national monthly affiliated with Tufts University, I work closely with Dodman on stories appearing in the publication as well as in our sister magazine, Your Dog

I’ve checked him out — he is the real deal. And he is coming to South Florida. 

He is presenting two comprehensive behavior workshops on dogs and cats Nov. 4-6 at Florida Atlantic University in Davie. You can choose the two- or three-day workshop, and both merit continuing education credits for professional dog trainers, veterinarians and behaviorists. If you are a dedicated pet owner/parent/guardian (you pick the term that best describes you), this is a rare opportunity to spend a few days with a man who has dedicated his career to understanding why cats and dogs do what they do and in finding solutions to make them happy and healthy pets.

His workshops will cover dominance and conflict aggression, separation anxiety, phobias, compulsive behaviors, medical causes of behavior problems, the role of psychopharmacology in addressing behavior issues and much more. He will also offer his seven-step plan to producing a happy, healthy, well-adjusted pet. 

To learn more about his workshops, visit And, if you can’t attend in person, you can buy DVDs from his workshops. Prices and times are posted on the site. 

It is hard for Dodman to stay out of the headlines. In the early 1990s, he pioneered the use of Prozac in pets as a pharmacological control of obsessive-compulsive disorders, aggression and separation anxiety. Some pets are weaned off the drug, while others are kept on it for the rest of their lives. 

A few years ago, he led a team of scientists in discovering the canine chromosome linked to sucking on flanks — an obsessive behavior displayed in Doberman pinschers. 

Results of his study have opened the door for experts to look at other types of obsessive behaviors in dogs of all breeds. 

He appears regularly on radio and television, including 20/20, Today, Good Morning America, Dateline, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, NPR and CNN’s Headline News.

He serves as a columnist and blogger for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine and writes a behavior blog for Victoria Stilwell’s site.

And yes, he is the guy who authored five best sellers based on his case studies involving dogs and cats contending with various degrees of behavior issues: The Dog Who Loved Too Much, The Cat Who Cried for Help, Dogs Behaving Badly, If Only They Could Speak and The Well-Adjusted Dog. Most recently, he served as editor for the breakthrough book on senior dogs called Good Old Dog, which features key Tufts faculty members and their insights into care for aging canines.

“We wrote this book because we realized that there is a big void of knowledge about how to care for senior dogs,” he told me. “For starters, it is time to recognize that old age is not a disease. It is simply a stage of life.”

He added, “Yes, muzzles do gray; metabolisms do slow down; bone density does decrease as a dog ages. But these are all simply normal physiologic shifts as a dog enters his geriatric years.” 

That’s ageless advice from the veterinary behaviorist who has been improving the lives of dogs and cats for decades. 


Arden Moore, founder of, is an animal behavior consultant, editor, author, professional speaker and certified pet first aid instructor. She happily shares her home with two dogs, two cats and one overworked vacuum cleaner. Tune in to her “Oh Behave!” show on Pet Life and learn more by visiting

Views: 225


You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

© 2021   Created by Mary Kate Leming.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service