Is the Pet Insurance Industry Regulated?

What every dog owner needs to know about pet insurance

When it comes to the safety of our pets, loving owners are prepared to do just about anything to protect them. We provide the best diet, a comfortable place to sleep, healthy hygiene, and plenty of attention to keep their minds fresh and young.

While all these topics are clearly precautions to prevent dangerous situations, there is always the concern of “what if?” What can happen? Because we live in a world of infinite variables, everything is possible to some degree. And as a result, accidents and the unexpected do happen, which is why we have insurance.

But, there is something unique about pet insurance and while we pet owners clearly understand that our dog is a living, breathing creature, they are still treated as objects and statistical numbers by entities and government departments.

Needless to say, many insurance companies will also see your pet the same way. So consider what you should be aware of when considering insurance for you dog, because there are large differences and a few topics that need to be addressed before you make an investment in any form of coverage.

Government oversight

Consider the fact that insurance companies can be divided into two very distinct groups based on what they can and can’t do.

Admitted insurance companies and organizations are the baseline providers and have been accepted by the State Insurance Department because they offer particular coverage and specific qualifications. This means that the insurance companies provide services according strictly to the government’s requirements, often limiting their abilities and opportunities they can offer. Though, in case of their inability to cover a claim, the state will step in and insure your coverage.

Non-admitted are supposed to offer specialty insurances that state regulated or admitted insurance companies cannot approve or provide. These situations may be rated as “high-risk.” In some cases, they may not have been approved by the state’s insurance department oversights, and therefore don’t fit the criteria dubbed necessary to provide approved insurance services.

The only problem with this type of insurance is that because there is no government oversight, if the insurance company falls out or is unable to cover claims, there is basically no guarantee that a pet owner will ever be able to collect on their insurance claims.

What to be concerned about

Keep in mind that you will have to adhere to insurance policies, which often require that you use certain products, veterinarians and hospitals, certain drugs, and adhere to their specific protocols. In addition, you’ll likely have to maintain documentation about what you do and where it takes place.

If you don’t follow policies, rules, and regulations, you may be forfeiting your dog’s insurance policy and not even know it until you have to make a claim.

Basically, you may have to use pet insurance approved products, which can cost more or be inconvenient or even against your personal choices for your dog (such as choosing natural products instead of modern chemical based products).

There is also the concern of what a particular insurance actually covers for your pet. Medical expenses, accidents, and theft are just some of the popular coverage topics, but they aren’t always included. You need to be sure to ask your insurance broker what exactly is covered on your pet.

While you can attain different types of insurance on your pet, the option of pet-medical insurance is often not carried or provided because of the low commission fee that many insurance brokers are accustomed to. This makes it financially inconvenient for most brokers to carry certain types of pet insurance, which is exactly why you need to inquire as to exactly what your insurance would cover and if it is actually worth the cost.

Regulated vs. unregulated

In cases of insurance where there is no government oversight, plans may be largely more flexible, and are most often used for “show” dogs and large claims that state regulated insurance companies can’t legally provide. This is also beneficial for those dogs with pre-existing conditions in which case government controlled insurance providers would and could not feasibly provide coverage.

The positive side to regulated insurance companies is that they are often less costly and have standardized prices, mostly because they are backed by the state and the pricing is then controlled. This is also because clients are often at far less risk, since dogs with pre-existing conditions are not commonly accepted.

Pet insurance isn’t there necessarily because something will happen, but rather it is there so nothing will happen that you aren’t prepared for. If you’re interested in pet insurance, don’t consider it as something you can easily pick up at your insurance broker. Ask around and make sure that your dog is really getting what you’re paying for.

Categories Dog CareTags , ,

3 Comments on Is the Pet Insurance Industry Regulated?

Dog Behavior Modification Takes Consistency

Everyone wants their dogs to behave. They take the time to train them and teach them the basics, like potty training. But there is a step beyond training. This is called behavior modification and it is the basis on which training is best developed.

Behavior modification is an extremely valuable tool that helps both dogs and their owners, providing a platform in which a dog can easily learn and develop future skills. The only problem is that behavior modification demands consistency, or else it will become counterproductive to the process. If you begin teaching using an outside source such as a trainer and then take them home and contradict or neglect what they’ve learned, your dog won’t be able to learn properly.

Continuing the behavior modification process

The first and most effective lesson you can learn is the act of teaching your dog how to learn. This process is simple, but provides the basis by which all other training is done. From here, it is your job, regardless of whether you have a trainer or not, to constantly solidify your dog’s teachings. Always start by isolating them from distraction. If they receive outside communication, even if another person is trying to help, it can confuse your dog and distract him from the lesson. Your own house is ideal for this, since the outdoors can produce numerous sounds and scents, and a new environment can be confusing and more interesting all on its own.

An ongoing experience

Even though you may be using an outside professional trainer, it is imperative that you continue the work that is being done. Like a student coming home from school, there is always homework that needs to be done and discipline that is required. Spend time affirming what they’ve been taught. Remember that young puppies can easily get bored or frustrated, so you may consider including games in the learning process.

Rewards are something should be given when they are deserved. This is one of the biggest problems in contradicting the learning process. Owners are renowned for giving their dogs treats, like rawhide or toys, without reason. While it may seem that a dog would definitely deserve it (they are the epitome of affection), it is definitely a contradiction to the behavioral training process. Rather than simply giving your dog a treat, have them give you full attention prior to giving it. Don’t be fooled by their supposed attention when they may likely have their attention targeted towards the treat. Have them “see” you first. You can confirm this by offering a variable command (change it every time so they don’t get used to one). When they succeed, give them the treat.

Behavior is forever

The reason these techniques must be practiced consistently is because dogs are renowned for developing habits. If you tell your dog to “sit” every time, they will always sit when you speak. This is a habit you’ve trained into them. While repetition is essential to mastery, you must include variables into the education process.

It is recommended that a quality training experience last no longer than fifteen minutes at a time. These increments should be scattered periodically throughout the day. During these training periods, incorporate a different task to learn each time or your dog may develop a habit out of the command.

This process helps to develop a dependency on you, rather than simply a reaction. This is the process of teaching to learn. While it may seem simple, it is the basic structure that helps your dog develop behavior modification in a positive light.

Training your dog to perform tasks is slightly different from behavioral training. When your dog develops the right behavior, training is as simple as instruction. This is where behavior modification plays an essential role in dog development. While classes and personal instruction can help, it is vital that you continue teaching your dog how to act and learn.

In order for your dog to succeed, you must be willing to teach and your dog must be willing to learn. This is a fact shared between every teacher and student. Behavior modification helps your dog learn how to learn for the rest of their life. But it takes the persistence and dedication of a good teacher to remain consistent during the process.

Categories Dog TrainingTags ,

Leave a comment on Dog Behavior Modification Takes Consistency

Steps to Control Dog Aggression

Something that we don’t often consider about dogs is that we don’t necessarily know what they’re thinking. One minute, they’ll be running, jumping, and licking your hand. But in a split second, they can decide that they want to fight a fellow playmate, or even worse, a person.

For instance, my border collie often fights with my friend’s basset hound (separating them is a challenge of its own). At first, I couldn’t figure out why, but then it struck me. The two dogs played wonderfully together when no one was around (I was watching through the window). They often sleep next to each other, and even chase one another through the yard while they play. But, when my friend or I approach to pet one or the other, they get mad at each other: A hint of jealousy perhaps, but it is difficult to understand exactly what they were thinking. Regardless, it has made interaction between the two decline to a very limited basis.

This raises the question of dogs and their aggression. Whether you’re visiting the local dog park or just over at a friend’s house to enjoy some company, dogs can sporadically become aggressive, and the worst part is that you may not even know when it will happen.

Protecting you

One of the most common stimuli of aggression is when a dog senses danger. Now, keep in mind that many owners have their dogs for that exact reason- to protect. They have the instinctive nature to love you and the unbreakable desire to protect you from harm. When out and about, another dog may want to simply explore or even meet you. But, to your dog, they may appear to be trying to do harm to you. They don’t always know the difference.

This is why socialization is imperative to a dog’s development. When you meet new dogs, familiarize yourself with both dogs at the same time. Pet them both, while restraining them both, along with your fellow dog owner. This definitely needs to be a group effort.

Mine! Mine! Mine!

Now, that brings about another important topic for dog aggression. Who’s in my space? Bedding, food, and even toys are all “mine” to a dog. The den, as a dog would know, is a private sanctuary where they have the desire and need to feel safe at all times. When another dog intrudes, even if they are harmless, it can raise aggression to dangerous levels.

Keep in mind that your dogs need to meet on neutral grounds. Territorial invasion is amongst your dog’s dislikes. So, it is in your dog’s best interests to always be introduced to another away from their own territory, such as in a park.

Unfortunately, aggression can be difficult to spot until it’s too late, which brings about the subject of spreading the aggressors apart. NEVER get between them. That is a definite “don’t do” interaction. You can be bitten or injured in the attempt. One of the safest and possibly best ways to stop a fight is to utilize water. It’s harmless to anybody, and definitely cools down a situation. How you dispense it is up to your intuitive thoughts.

Dog aggression and people

An uncommon, but dangerous issue is when a dog shows aggression to others. This can be dangerous, but it’s also important for any dog owner to be able to tell the difference between wanting to play (such as chasing a jogger or playing child) and attempts to intimidate or attack another person.

Do keep in mind that dogs are very protective of you, their loving owner, but it is also your job to protect those around you from your dog’s protective instincts. Perhaps the best way to introduce a new person is to positively interact with them. You may find your dog barking at first, attempting to scare an intruder away (especially when they ring the doorbell), but if you simply shake hands and act in a friendly manner, your dog can pick up on your attitude in the situation. A friendly handshake is always good. You may avoid hugging, though, since it may be taken as an attack. Instead, restrain your dog and allow them to watch while you interact with another person. Keep in mind that sniffing and inspecting are important before acceptance.

With small children, this can be difficult. Many times, youngsters may pull hair, ears, or even tails, causing pain to a dog. They may correct the child as they would their own pup, by nipping or biting. Because of the extreme danger that can present, if you have young children in the presence of your dog, avoid unsupervised situations where this can happen. Dogs are very curious creatures (even more so than cats), but children are much more, so take preventative measures to ensure that curiosity doesn’t get the better of either.

Dogs are very protective creatures. Some are aggressive, while others are passive, but we must always remember that they are our friends. So, it is up to us dog lovers and owners to help teach and prevent situations in which a dog might feel obligated to become aggressive. When you do this, you construct a happy, perfect home for your beloved pet.

Categories Dog Care, Dog TrainingTags ,

Leave a comment on Steps to Control Dog Aggression