Interview with Dr. Wailani Sung, MS, PhD, DVM, DACVB
[PupPod] Tell us about yourself and your practice.
[Dr. Sung] My name is Wailani Sung. I am a veterinary behaviorist. That means I have a board certification in animal behavior. I'm a veterinarian and have also done a behavior program and have a doctorate in animal behavior - a psychology degree. My practice treats primarily dogs and cats and other animals with behavioral issues. Not just lack of obedience, but things like aggressive behavior, anxiety, for cats...not using the litter box or aggression toward the owners or other cats, rabbits not using the litter box or aggression towards people in the family, birds for attention seeking behavior, feather picking, aggression toward the owner, so a wide variety of behavior problems.
[PupPod] What are your thoughts on PupPod?
[Dr. Sung] I think PupPod is a super interesting toy and concept. I think it's a good tool. Not just a toy but a tool to help keep our dogs mental active and physically fit. I think that the varying levels are really interesting because it kind of helps you determine how smart your dog is. I think some dogs, just like people, learn at different rates. Some dogs get some concepts and some dogs don't. I think it's really interesting to have your dog play it and figure out, can they learn? Because you start off very simple, with simple levels and then you have some associations they have to figure out. And then as they get more advanced. So it engages them mentally, physically and it can help determine their problem solve ability. So I think it's really interesting and amazing to see my dogs do it. One of my dogs that I thought was really smart, wasn't as smart as I thought. And the other one who I thought was not as brilliant, was really focused on the toy and he did perform a lot better than I anticipated. So it was very interesting, the insight, on our dogs and how they think and react to problems.
[PupPod] Are there behavioral problems that run across with your clients that you think PupPod might help with?
[Dr. Sung] Well I think PupPod can help with providing them with a lot of mental stimulation and physical activity. We have a lot of dogs in veterinary medicine alone that over eat. They inhale their food and if you look in the pet stores, there are tons of products out there like slow blows, different types of interactive feeders. So with PupPod, they can mentally work their brains and physically work and help slow down their eating, help increase their physical activity, and also give them something to do. If your dog eats his food in 2-seconds and with PupPod it take 15 or 20 minutes, then that dog spends a lot more time working on their food vs another 15-20 minutes being worried or being pre-occupied or being destructive. So I think it's really helpful for any pets with behavior issues.
[PupPod] Do you regularly recommend puzzle toys? How big of a part of your practice is that?
[Dr. Sung] Oh, I recommend puzzles for everyone. I don't think dogs should be fed in bowls. I always recommend 2 or 3 puzzle toys for meals so the dog spends 10-20 minutes working on puzzle toys for meals because then they are more mentally active, they think about things. And I think if you see your dog play with them, I think a lot of dogs get really excited about it. Rather than inhaling their food and their done, they spend 15-20 minutes really enjoying what they are doing.