A few common problems faced by pets and some practical remedies
· Your mischievous mutt knows how to get out of his collar: Dogs sometimes succeed in wriggling out of their collars by walking backwards and slipping their heads out. If your pet does this on walks, consider using a harness that wraps gently around the chest, along with the leash and collar. This reduces strain on the neck (particularly helpful for hyperactive dogs) and will prevent your precious pooch from running off into traffic.
· Your cat is desperate to sharpen her claws on furniture legs: Cats need to sharpen their claws regularly and derive great joy out of the process. But if you’d like to keep chair legs off limits, offer them a corrugated coir mat. Even if you can’t access or afford a store-bought scratching post, your cat will be delighted with an unused jute or Rexene folder. If there’s a handbag that you’ve been meaning to toss out, give it to her instead.
· There’s an aggressive pet on your route while walking: Territorial pets on other streets sometimes display aggression towards your dog, or vice versa. If you cannot find a different route, carry a bottle of cool water with you during walks and use it to dispel fights if they erupt. Never use sticks that might hurt either pet. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, so he is protected in the rare event of a bite.
· Your pets don’t get along: Pets sometimes exhibit feelings of jealousy in multi-pet households. If you find that your pets are being hostile to each other, explore the reason. They must always have separate food bowls and sleeping areas (with some small stuffed toys to call their own). If they are dogs, get another family member to help take them out for a long, daily walk (separate leashes, separate humans) to tire them out and reduce aggression. If one pet is significantly more powerful than the other, do not leave them together unsupervised.
· Your dog doesn’t obey or understand basic commands: Dogs must respond to their owner’s request to ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘come’ (stay away from unnecessary tricks, though). Never use harsh training (or professional trainers who beat or terrify the dog). Log on to aspcabehavior.org and train your dog yourself using positive reinforcement. This strengthens the bond between you and your companion animal and uses a method that does not cause fear or resentment.