Welcome to Petplan’s blog, a space where you can read up on the latest pet-news, find out interesting facts and tips about keeping your pets happy and healthy, and share your views on hot topics.
Q: My Manchester Terrier cross is constantly nibbling and scratching herself, mainly on her lower back. The vet cleaned the glands near her tail, but this hasn’t helped. What can you suggest?
A: Many dogs’ skin irritations are due to pollen, but there could be medical causes, such as pain, or behavioural reasons, such as stress. Skin problems are notoriously difficult to deal with, but your first port of call has to be back to the vet.
Have you been vigilant with your flea treatment? Even one bite can cause some dogs a lot of irritation.
Keep a diary of when and how often your terrier is nibbling. Giving your vet as much information as possible will mean they’re more likely to determine whether the problem is medical or potentially behavioural.
Q: My dog is always pulling on her lead and a dog trainer I’ve consulted says I should use a choke chain and jerk her back. I’m not at all keen to do this, but do you think it’s a case of me being too soft?
A: No, you are being very sensible. Choke chains are a very old-fashioned method of training dogs. They can cause pain and even damage the dog’s neck.
I suggest that you find a trainer who uses reward-based techniques. Go along to watch a class and make sure you’re happy with the methods used.
You should also take note of whether the dogs and their owners are enjoying the class, because training should be fun and pleasurable for both dog and owner. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is a voluntary organisation that advocates kind methods, and lists its members on its website (www.apdt.co.uk).
Q: We have foxes in our garden, and when I let my Collie out for his bedtime wee, he charges about barking. How can I stop this?
A: It seems your Collie is being aroused by the scent and possibility of foxes. It’s almost impossible to stop them coming on to your property, so, rather than letting him into the garden last thing at night, why not take him out on his lead for a quick pavement walk instead?
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