Pet Talk
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Pet Talk

May 19, 2021

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka gives tips on how to combat possessiveness in pet dogs

By Maneka Gandhi

After how many days can we take our puppy for a walk on the street?

 You can take your puppy for a walk after 14-16 weeks of age, but wait until 10-14 days after your puppy’s last vaccination booster.

How can I stop my dog from being possessive about his food ?

 One tactic for putting a stop to protective tendencies in a dog is to teach him that good things happen, when other humans or animals approach their food or belongings, from a young age. Use your hands to fill your dog’s bowl with food at mealtimes, so the puppy learns that when others come near their feeding bowl, something positive will occur. You can also bring a high value treat toward the bowl with your hand while the dog is eating. You can help your dog develop self-control, respect, and good behaviour by teaching your pup that food, treats, and toys must be earned. 

Before serving meals, handing over treats, or giving up toys, have your dog perform a task, such as sitting or lying down. This lets your dog know it is not okay to take whatever he wants, and he must work for food and rewards. Before giving food, treats, or toys to your dog, ensure it recognises that you are the owner. 

Asserting ownership is another way to deal with over-possessiveness. One tactic for asserting ownership is to have your dog wait before accessing its food or belongings. Stand over the food bowl or item confidently, and do not allow her to run for it until she has sat and waited patiently for your permission. You can teach a dog to respond to the “leave” command when he has possession of something in his mouth. Hold out a treat, and call out the command “leave” as he lets go of the item and walks towards you. Reward it with the treat for his obedience, and remove the item as quickly as possible. 

“Give” is another useful command for combating possessiveness in your dog. You can teach your dog to give when he has a toy in his mouth. Gently take the toy in your hand without trying to pull it away. With your other hand, show your dogs some treats. When he lets go of the item to take the treats, speak the command “Give”. Reward him with the treat, and let him have the toy back. With these, over protective tendencies in a dog can be stopped.

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 Can you leave a dog in a car with AC on?

 Do not leave your dogs alone in parked cars. Cracking windows, short periods of time, relatively mild days, leaving water, or running the air conditioner, do not make a parked car a safe place for a pet to be alone.

 Do dogs remember if you hit them?

 Dogs will not remember that you hit them in many cases, as long as it is not a frequent occurrence. Dogs do have episodic memory, allowing them to remember specific instances of intense abuse. While a dog’s memory is limited, they do have the capacity to associate habitual abuse with their owner. Dogs are very forgiving and want to please, so long as you do not habitually abuse your dog, or use excessive force, the dog is unlikely to remember it for very long. The stronger your relationship is with your dog, the quicker the memory will be erased. Dogs tend to feed directly off your energy, so as long as you exhibit calm and positive energy, they will likely bounce right back. The use of excessive force can quickly result in the dog associating you with negative treatment, placing your relationship with the dog on the wrong foot and getting him unduly scared of you. If you’ve taken the time to build a relationship with your dog, a display of your disapproval will be all that you require. Positive reinforcement is a far better way to train a dog, when possible, by rewarding positive behaviour more than punishing negative ones.

 How do I say sorry to my dog?

 It’s hard to say whether dogs do understand when you say sorry, so, if you are going to apologise to your dog, do it right at the point you did whatever it was that was wrong. By saying sorry to your dog at the point you upset them, scared them, and broke their trust, there’s more chance that they might understand the context of the apology. If you have just trodden on their toe and made them yelp, the best way how to let your dog know you’re sorry is to be ultra-calm. 

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Do this by lowering the tone and volume of your voice, moving down to their level, and talking in soft and soothing tones. You can supplement this soft apology approach with tactile messages, such as strokes, whilst apologizing to your dog for hurting them. 

Give them a little physical space and talk calmly to them. That way it’s more likely that your dogs will forgive you when you accidentally hurt them. If you have been out all day, or perhaps haven’t been giving your dogs the attention they deserve, then you might owe them an apology. The best way to do that with active dogs is to take them out to do what they love. You can offer an apology to your dogs by playing with them, showering them with attention, and making them your sole focus. Whilst they might not understand the apology, they will appreciate the love and attention you can give to them.

 Can we give dogs porridge after whelping?

 Porridge can be given to dogs after whelping. Oats are a wonderful ingredient, as they are very digestible and also high in protein. After whelping, the mother may appear to go off food. This is not unusual, but you can help her digest her food by soaking oats in a little warm milk and making a mash with a porridge-like consistency.

Does a dog’s behaviour change when she is pregnant?

 One of the earliest and most common symptoms that one is likely to notice is a sudden change in their appetite. Dogs can experience morning sickness, which can put them off their food during the first few weeks. One can also notice lack of energy, behavioural changes, and one of the most noticeable sign that dog is pregnant will be changes to their nipples, which will begin to appear more swollen and become darker, particularly the ones closest to their hind legs. 

The behaviour of pregnant dogs change. They may become less active and lethargic and may not want to eat regular foods. They might experience nesting urges, where they might hoard food or other items. Pregnant dogs may become usually irritable to noise and strangers, and will want more attention and affection.

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