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Questions and Answers - 2

Question: My dog seems to be going deaf, he is 6 years old and just does not
seem to hear. He certainly was not born deaf. Do dogs hearing get bad as they
get older?

Answer: I am afraid that most of our dogs hearing start to deteriorate from about
5 years of age. About forty five per cent are deaf by the age of ten years. Like us,
as our dogs get older the eyes and hearing deteriorate.

Question: Is it better to fast a dog one day in the week or one day in the month?

Answer: Neither we never fast a dog unless instructed by a vet. Most people
prefer to feed a dog once a day by the age of twelve months. I always
recommend two feeds a day, half in the morning and half in the evening. It is 
then easier for the dog to extract the right nutrients from the food. Most dogs 
are fed far in excess of their requirements.

Question: I am giving my dog a good quality dried food recommend by our vet,
but it looks so boring ! I always add some meat or chicken, can this do any

Answer: Most vets are recommending complete dried food. It is really
detrimental to add any supplement to dry food. This will create an imbalance 
in the completed balanced food. Most behavioral problems stem from incorrect
feeding. Red meat or any high protein can cause aggressiveness or nervousness.
High protein can increase the scale of aggression, moods, and jumpiness.

Question : Will you confirm that it is good to give my dog bones?

Answer: I am afraid that I am unable to confirm that it is good to give your dog
bones. Your vet will also confirm that this will cause teeth to be broken, and if
your pet swallows a lump of bone, he may have to have an operation. I would
suggest a Kong stuffed with treats, a platted twisted rope, stuffed in between 
with liver treats or a few pieces of dried food to make it interesting. I encourage
dogs to chew, but it's better that they chew what we want them to chew, eh?

Question : Is it better to feed my dog before his walk, or after his walk ?

Answer: Neither, it is better to feed either one hour before a walk or one hour
after a walk. I prefer to feed one hour after a walk, now he has something to 
come home to.

Question: During the past few months I have taken up part-time work, my
beautiful 12 year old Labrador has been soiling in the house, any idea what 
is wrong, the vet says he is fine?

Answer: I am afraid this is called separation anxiety and this is more apparent 
in older dogs. Your boy has become too attached to you. Older dogs when left
alone are apt to become stressed and lonely. I really do not know of any
treatment for this type of problem, and I would think it pointless to apply any 
form of behavior modification. This might well be a good time to bring into the
family the second dog, and provided it is a puppy or a young dog it will do your
boy a lot of good.

Question: I have a Jack Russell Terrier, he is fantastic at home, but whenever I
take him out, he growls at people and dogs, so I have to pick him up, am I doing
the right thing ?

Answer: Actually you are unknowingly rewarding your dog for his unwanted
behavior by picking him up. This kind of aggression is defensive and is a 
learned behavioral response. When dogs discover that growling will cause 
people or dogs to back off, plus being encouraged by you comforting him, by
saying words like "don't be a silly Billy" and picking him up.

Unfortunately fear is mostly influenced by heredity and the environment. I would
suggest that you attend a social dog class so that your pet can socialize with
other dogs and people under the watchful eye of a professional person. It can be
done in a few visits, both of you will enjoy and you will both have better lives.

Question: My dog is so frightened of people he hides behind the settee and 
even hides behind me, is this normal?

Answer: Most fearful dogs tend to stay quite close to their owner. This type of
dog should be encouraged to have a toy. Encourage the dog to carry this toy as
a retrieve article. Play by throwing and gradually increase the distance that you
throw the toy. The excitement of the hunting sequence helps negate any fears 
of being away from you.

Try to make yourself less available in general to the dog. This will ensure that 
the dog learns to cope without relying on you as much. An indoor plastic or 
mesh type kennel can be used to advantage after carefully conditioning the 
dog to enter on his own. This can be achieved by feeding at the entrance and
over a few days putting the food more inside. This can also be achieved by
throwing the retrieve toy closer and closer, then inside using tit bits. Eventually
the indoor kennel will be seen as a safe haven. Place your dog inside when
friends arrive, he will feel safer than hiding behind a settee.

I would also pay attention to the dogs diet and remember that raw meat or
unpasturised milk should never be fed to a dog, speak to your vet about a dried
balanced food. Dogs are creatures of routine, and the more routine for this type 
of the more confident he will become. Meal times must be carried out at the
same time each day.

Question: Whenever I go near my Poodle when he eats, he growls at me, and 
is very nasty, why is he doing this and should I smack him?

Answer: When dogs growl over food never be aggressive or challenge him. The
best way to deal with this problem very quickly is to simply give him a spoonful 
of food when you put his bowl on the ground, as soon as he is finished, give him
another spoonful. Within a few minutes he will fully understand that you are 
giving and not taking. He will stand back when you next go near his food bowl.

Question: I have a beautiful Husky, he was castrated when he was 6 months 
old and yet he still tries to mount dogs, even male dogs, is there something
wrong, because I thought that castrated dogs did not do this?

Answer: Castration will not make any difference to his behavior, I have known
castrated dogs that have penetrated females on heat. The mounting of male 
dogs is also a form of masturbation. I would have a word with your vet, maybe 
he will consider some female hormone to calm him down.

Question: I am having problems with my Cocker Spaniel, he is 4 months old 
and will not walk on his lead, he just lays on the ground. Do you think I am
training him too soon?

Answer: No I think you are starting at the correct time, but would recommend
that you go to a local dog training establishment for some help. Dogs that are
dominant will usually pull on the lead when you walk them, by doing this they 
are leading the pack. On the other hand a dominant dog will also slow down his
pack, and he is doing just that by laying on the ground, he has stopped you
walking. The quick way around this is to carry on walking, and not allow him to
stop the pack. You make the decisions not him.

Question: I have a female boxer called Lady she is 3 years old. Her teats have
swollen and the vet informed me she is having a phantom pregnancy, she has
never had sex. Is this usual and what would you recommend?

Answer: A phantom pregnancy is when a female imagines and goes through 
all the symptoms of believing she is pregnant. Females will store toys and treat
them like young puppies, her teats will get large (enlarged mammary glands )
and she will even produce milk. Her Abdomen will swell and her appetite will
change. The behavior is not good during this period.

At whelping time she will be very hyperactive and very excitable, she will pant
and even tremble. She will curl up to her toys (puppies) varying symptoms are
restlessness, whining and crying. Some females will go off their food and 
expect a lot of abnormal behavior. Females will become very affectionate to 
the family. Your vet should see the female who will no doubt recommend to
reduce her diet and fluid intake, since the more she drinks the more milk will 
be produced. Dried food is best and plenty of exercise to keep her bowels 
moving so as to excrete all the excess fluid produced by her body.

A phantom pregnancy is not to be considered a neurotic tendency, but should 
be considered as normal behavior due to an abnormality of the ovaries.

Another theory is that the wild only the dominant female in the pack will be
covered by a dominant male of her choosing. The other females normally 
produce milk for the litter which can be in excess of ten puppies. The other
females in the pack produce milk to help the mother to feed the puppies. I 
would not be surprised that another female in your area in about one kilometer
has had puppies and your pet is producing milk for them.

Your vet will treat your dog, and then I would recommend that she be spayed, 
so that she will not suffer again. Having a phantom pregnancy does not mean
that the bitch is sterile and unable to be mated and bear a litter.

Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

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