All posts tagged: pets

Pets Corner- teaching a dog to settle

Getting the right balance between activity and rest is a tough call for many dog and puppy owners. Attempting to burn off energy by increasing exercise and activity only adds to the problem, creating an adrenalin junkie pet. What every dog and owner needs is an ‘off switch’ and one way is by teaching the dog to settle on cue. There are two phases to teaching settle. In the first part we use a mat to teach the dog to move to a specific place. In the second we teach the dog to lie down and relax while he is in that place, slowly increasing the duration. Teach your dog to settle in a specific place using a mat (always put the mat away after training). Put the mat down on the floor away from distractions. Now put a treat onto it and allow your dog to investigate the treat. As soon as he puts his paws on the mat say ‘yes’ give another, better treat. Now pick up the mat. Repeat, putting the mat …

Pets Corner: The problem with prey drive

Recently I have witnessed a variety of dogs whizzing around various local parks, off lead and in hot pursuit of some small furry- usually a squirrel. I’ve seen them repeatedly leap, baying and clawing at the nearest tree in an effort to reach the object of their blood lust, which is seeking refuge in the branches. Others adopt the classic ‘pointer pose’- a statue-like, motionless fixation on a furry object of desire, one paw up, nose and body pointed forward, and in this immoveable state, completely impervious to owner entreaty or command- that is if the owner is anywhere to be seen, and mostly they are not. It seems a proportion of dog owners feel this is excellent exercise and a great way for their pet to let off steam. Well, I must disagree. Is it instinctive? Yes, highly. Do some dogs want to do it more than others? Yes. Do some of us view squirrels and rats as pestilent and therefore fair game? Sadly, yes. However, those owners should think what they are encouraging …

Pets Corner: New Year New Puppy

It’s 2018 and many of you will be welcoming a new puppy into your life and looking for tips on the best way forward. First of all, don’t delay, book into a reputable training class as soon as you can. Positive training will help you bond with your pup, establishing clear communication and boundaries. With very young pups focus first on socialisation and housetraining and then separation training- but be sure you know what all these terms mean. The following are just the headlines for the new puppy owner. For the in-depth information you’ll certainly need, get a good puppy primer. Gwen Bailey’s book The Perfect Puppy is excellent. Ensure you join a good class or have one to one sessions with a qualified trainer. Daily structure. Have a strict daily regime, with short bursts of play, training, feeding and lots of sleep. The habit of switching off and resting should be instilled early and resting pups should be left well alone. A crate or den, with a blanket thrown over to block light and …

Pets Corner: Keeping dogs happy and healthy at Christmas

Current reports say that we are in for a cold Christmas and we might even get snow. After indulging at the Christmas table one of the great seasonal pleasures is to take a long family walk and having a dog only adds to the experience. If the weather is really cold or wet, a few precautions will ensure you have a healthy and happy Christmas all round. Slippery snow and ice Many of us seem to go stir crazy in the snow and decide to give our dog the equivalent of a year’s worth of aerobic exercise. We break out the ball chucker and run the dog until he can run no more. If your hound is already as fit as the proverbial butcher’s dog you might just get away with this sudden burst of extreme exercise. However, for those that gently walk their dog a few times a week this way disaster lies. The biggest risk is often to the cruciate ligament and this major injury will not only blow your bank balance but …

Pet’s Corner: Why is my cat weeing around the house?

Cat wee around the home has to be one of the most maddening issues a pet owner faces, not least because it stinks, but also because it can present a seemingly intractable issue that crops up for no apparent reason. Obviously the stakes are higher if you own an indoor cat, but even outdoor cats can start urinating in the home. In such a short article it is impossible to cover all the bases, but here is a brief guide signposting potential reasons and solutions. Adopt the mind-set of a detective and systematically exclude each possibility and solution before moving on to the next. If in doubt, speak to your vet and a feline behaviourist. Spraying or puddles Identifying which your cat is doing can help point to the root cause. Some cats do both. Spray is generally found on vertical surfaces. Close monitoring of your cat’s behaviour may also reveal what is going on. Paw kneading and treading, vibrating an upright tail while backing up to vertical surfaces, usually occur just before spraying. Neuter …