All posts tagged: pets corner

Pets Corner: Biting puppies

In the course of lockdown there has been an enormous increase in puppy ownership. Every other call I have had has been from a new owner who is worried and confused by puppy biting.  They ask, is this normal? Surely it should not be this bad? Will I cope? I want to reassure as many new owners as possible that, yes, biting is normal, and, yes, it hurts. The solution involves a consistent and systematic approach by everyone interacting with your puppy. There can be no half measures if you want to nip puppy biting in the bud. Most pups will have had plenty of practice terrorising and roughing up litter mates. It is surprising how intense puppy play can be.  Using needle sharp teeth, pups explore the limits of play and inadvertently hurt each other. Once a pup is hurt, he may snarl and retaliate but often as not he will simply remove himself for a while and the ‘biter’ loses his playmate. Each pup learns very quickly if I want to play with …

Pets Corner: can a dog be too ‘friendly’?

The problem with over- friendly dogs and puppies is something I have written about before, however, with so many of you getting new pups, now feels a good time for a refresh. How can a dog ever be too friendly you ask? To be clear a friendly, relaxed outlook is great, we do not want nervous, uptight dogs and puppies. However, there is friendly and then there is rude, boorish, overbearing behaviour that is erroneously labelled as friendly. Dogs are intelligent enough but they are not capable of self-analysis or reflective thought. A dog is incapable of reasoning that their own behaviour might have caused another dog or person to respond to them in an aggressive manner. There lies the rub. Allow your dog or your puppy to impose itself uninvited onto other dogs and you run the risk of an unfriendly response which in turn may lead your dog to learn other dogs are unreliable, resulting in anxiety and possibly aggression down the line. Of course, some dogs may welcome interactions with most dogs …

Pets Corner: life in lockdown

Leonie St Clair writes Pets Corner for SE Magazines.  Read her latest article here: As I write this it is difficult to know for how much longer lockdown is to continue. A phased return to the workplace in June could still leave significant numbers facing isolation, although it is hoped that by high summer there may be some respite, if only until the autumn. In terms of the impact of the pandemic on pet owners, there has been plenty of online information.  From the government and other reputable sources about managing pets as well as the important fact that pets can carry the virus on their fur and paws, making regular hand washing after contact with your pet a must. Fortunately, dog walking has been viewed as essential exercise and many will have benefitted from this, not least the dogs. However, peering into the future, two possible consequences of lockdown are of particular concern for behaviourists. The first is in igniting or augmenting separation issues in dogs, the second is the impact on socialisation of …

Pets Corner: Avoid pet disasters at Christmas

  Avoid pet disasters at Christmas When the Christmas season is upon us the demands on our time and energy are invariably overwhelming. Alas, we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads or multiple hands. Unfortunately for us, that cute puppy or kitten purchased in the summer is now in the full throes of adolescence. Like all teenagers they just want to have fun and explore new stuff. Christmas is an Aladdin’s cave of pet-fun opportunity and it is easy for things to go wrong, ruining family time and resulting in costly vet bills. Here is a quickie checklist, to remind ourselves how to keep our furry friends safe over the holiday. Christmas trees and ornaments  All that glitters, dingles and dangles is an open invitation for cats and young dogs to have their own kind of festive fun with your tree and its adornments. Cats can access trees from all sorts of cunning vantage points- and the desire to leap, capture and kill  enticing glass ornaments, lights, flexes, and even candles, can …

Pets Corner: Teaching your cat how to use a cat flap

Most cats will benefit from being able to use a cat flap but it is not unusual for early stages of training to founder. As with so many areas of animal training, the solution lies in trying to see everything from the animal’s perspective. Remember, where cats are concerned we are talking about a relatively solitary animal that values its territory and space. Choosing a cat flap An obvious point but do look at how large your cat is or ask about the size of your kitten’s parents. Some cats will need a dog flap. There are a number of reputable brands out there, so do shop around. The proper height of the cat flap should align with the distance of your cat’s belly to the floor. Installation Try to put your cat flap in a relatively protected area or place plant pots and similar either side of the cat flap outside the house. When looking through the cat flap cats are unable to scan for predators or ambush by rival cats and this can …