petplanet.co.uk
Free Delivery Price Promise
  Home  
  Dog
Food
 
  Cat
Food
 
  Dog
Products
 
  Cat
Products
 
  Fish
Supplies
 
  Rabbit
Supplies
 
  Hamster
Products
 
  Guinea Pig
Products
 
  Pet
Medicines
 
  All Pet
Supplies
 
  Pet
Information
 
Log On
Pet Information Home  |  Health & Welfare  |  Common Pests  |  Diet  |  Training  |  Grooming  |  Pet Care  |  Veterinary Q&A  |  Behaviour Advice
Free delivery on orders over 39


Online Pet Shop
 
  My Favourites
  My Previous Purchases
 
  Featured Dog Promotions
  Featured Cat Promotions
  Clearance up to 75% Off!
  November Offers
  Special Offers
      On Sale Now
      Multi-Buys
      Freebies
      Clearance Sale
  Christmas Pet Gifts
  Dog Food
      Dog Food: All
      Dog Food by Type
      Royal Canin
      Hills Dog Food
      James Wellbeloved
      Beta Dog Food
      Orijen Dog Food
      Wafcol Dog
      Purina Pro Plan Dog
      Arden Grange Dog
      Eukanuba
      Burns Dog Food
      Bakers Complete
      Acana Dog Food
      Barking Heads Dog Food
      Green Dog Food
      Simpsons Premium Dog
      Skinners Dog Food
      Other Dog Food Brands
  Dog Products
      Dog Beds
      Dog Bowls & Feeders
      Dog Cages & Crates
      Dog Carriers
      Dog Coats & Clothes
      Dog Collars
      Dog Cooling Products
      Dog Pools
      Dog Flaps
      Dog Grooming
      Dog Harnesses
      Dog Health & Hygiene
      Dog Kennels
      Dog Leads
      Dog Ramps and Steps
      Dog Safety
      Dog Toys
      Dog Training
      Dog Travel
      Dog Treats & Chews
      Puppy Products
      Pet Gates & Pens
  Cat Food
      Cat Food: All
      Royal Canin Cat Food
      Hills Cat Food
      James Wellbeloved Cat
      Iams Cat Food
      Purina Pro Plan Cat
      Purina One
      Felix
      Applaws Natural Cat
      Sheba Cat Food
      Whiskas
      Orijen Cat
      Cat Treats
      Purina Gourmet
      Burgess Cat Food
      Kitten Food
      Other Cat Food Brands
  Cat Products
      Kitten Care
      Cat Bowls & Feeders
      Cat Beds, Blankets & Mats
      Cat Litter Trays
      Cat Litter
      Cat Activity Centres
      Cat Collars & Harnesses
      Cat Toys
      Cat Health
      Cat Flaps
      Cat Gift Ideas
      Cat Grooming
      Cat Hygiene
      Cat Carriers
      Catnip and Catnip Toys
  Rabbit Supplies
      Rabbit Hutches
      Rabbit Food & Treats
      Rabbit Litter & Bedding
      Rabbit Toys
  Hamster Products
      Hamster Food & Treats
      Hamster Litter & Bedding
      Hamster Toys
  Fish Supplies
      Fish Tanks
      Fish Food
  Other Pet Products
      Guinea Pig Products
      Chicken Supplies
      Wildlife Supplies
      Other Small Furries
      Pet Meds
      Free Gifts
      Gift Vouchers
      New Pet Products
      Seasonal Pet Products
 
  Pet Insurance

Pet Health
Behaviour Advice from Vanessa Amey

<Back to behaviour advice

Too much love

This information is to be used as guidelines only. Decisions made about the future of any pet should be based on a professional assessment and a course of treatment that is personalised for the pet's individual situation.

He's Mummy's Boy

We recently purchased a male German Shepherd puppy which is now 13 weeks old. In general the pup has adjusted well to our home and is learning quickly. The problem which is becoming more apparent daily is the dog's single person dependency. We have both noticed how the dog's approach to me changes while my wife is around. I become unimportant to the dog and often fail to get any form of greeting even after being away at work. I feed the dog regularly and do spend as much time playing with him as I can. When my wife is away, the dog greets me initially then proceeds on a search for her only to return to its bed when it fails to find her. This behaviour also extends to its toilet training. When I put the dog onto the lawn, it runs back to the door crying and scraping. Is there any way of halting this dependency? I fear that if this behaviour continues, it will become the norm for the dog and any hope of change will diminish.

Your puppy's behaviour is not uncommon. Quite often a dog will overbond with one member of the family. This is usually due to that family member being associated with all things the dog deems to be good. Reinforcing this bond, inadvertently, is exceptionally easy to do. For example, if, when your puppy has greeted you, then searches and finds your wife, she acknowledges him, this is reinforcing the behaviour. The acknowledgment need not be stroking or talking to him: just giving eye contact can be perceived as being reinforcement by the dog.

To enable the bond between you and your puppy to grow you must not try to gain his attention. He has got to need you, and you can manipulate this by becoming the provider of all things good in his life. Although it is difficult, your wife has to take a step back and distance herself as much as possible from your puppy. This means ignoring any demands for attention your puppy may make. Also, where possible, you should take over feeding, walking, grooming and all other activities in your puppy's life. I appreciate you may not be available for all feeds. You can overcome this by preparing the meals your puppy needs during your absence, so your scent is on the dishes, leaving them for your wife to place on the floor. When your wife goes to feed him ensure he is out of sight when the bowl goes down. When you are home at feeding times, make sure the puppy sees you prepare his meal, and give it to him whilst he is watching you.

Try to have tasty food rewards on you so when your puppy approaches you or looks at you, you can give him a treat. This will really make you popular in his eyes.

If your puppy has greeted you briefly and is then off searching for your wife, you know he goes to his bed if he fails to find her. Be there before him, sit on the floor, and give him a treat when he comes pass you. But do not attempt to stroke him unless he has come close and is clear that he wants you to.

With regard to toileting, ensure that every time you are home, you are the one to let him in and out of doors. Always remain calm and soft voiced: if he is feeling slightly nervous, this will relax him and allow him to feel safe. If there is something your wife does that he really enjoys, maybe having his ears stroked or anything that you can identify, copy her. The sooner you can swap roles the better because as your puppy matures this behaviour will become ingrained and possibly harder to alter.

My dog hates walks

I have had a rescue Staffordshire bull terrier for a week now. It hates going for a walk. When we go out it goes to the toilet within a few hundred yards, then wants to go home. Will the dog let me know when he wants to go to the toilet? He is 16 months old. Also how can I make him go for a walk? I presume his previous owners had trained him to do this! He is also not eating what a dog his size should eat. I presume this small appetite is due to the small amount of exercise he takes.

Being re-homed is often a very stressful time for a dog and I would hazard a guess that your dog is feeling stressed. But you do need to eliminate any possible health problems that may be causing his lack of appetite. Please take him to a vet for assessment.

Cat hates new dog

We have just rehomed Jack, our two year old Terrier. Unfortunately the cat (13yrs old) has taken an instant dislike to him. The dog loves to get close but he cat just growls, spits and heads for the high ground. This speedy withdrawal seems to hint to Jack that the game is on and a chase develops, which is leaving a trail of destruction throughout the house. What can we do to restore some sanity to the environment?

Jack is satisfying his terrier instinct and will find chasing your cat very rewarding. You need to re-direct his attention to a toy, squeaky or with movable arms/legs, that over time he will want more than your cat. Initially you will need to work with Jack when your cat is out. Show him the toy, shake or squeak it to get his attention and every time he looks at the toy reward him. Give him a food treat: not food he is given every day, but a treat that is highly appetising to him. Pet and praise him in abundance also. But do not give him the toy yet; your aim is to make him want the toy more than anything else in his life.

Once you are confident that when Jack gets sight or sound of the toy you have his attention at least 95% of the time, you can now practice when your cat is present. During this time if Jack gives you his full attention, you can now give him the toy for short play sessions. Eventually you will reach the point of Jack responding to the toy consistently and not to your cat. When you do reach this reduce the frequency of the rewards. This will encourage Jack to try harder to get his toy.

So now you should be able to get Jacks attention at anytime by shaking or squeaking his toy. If you think Jack is about to chase your cat use his toy to distract him. This will give your cat time to reach a safe haven out of Jack's reach without being chased.

Red setter that's too clingy

My red setter Rosie has been a very clingy dog ever since we got her. She was then three months old and I don't think she had been socialised properly. Anyway, we've never been able to get her to sleep on her own at night and we've tried just about everything. Eventually my husband, in desperation, brought her up to our bedroom. Now when she's there she's as good as gold, quiet, doesn't move, just snuggles up between us. Of course it's not an ideal solution. We've been thinking of getting another dog. I would like a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Do you think if Rosie had a pal she would be less attached to us? She seems to like being with other dogs. Or would we end up with two dogs howling their heads off every night!

Yes, you are right, you would probably end up with two dogs howling every night. You need to teach Rosie that being alone is pleasurable before you could leave her with a new puppy, who would be likely to copy.

New hamster acting strange

I just bought a hamster three days ago, and he's acting a bit strange. I know that he's probably scared and not used to his surroundings, but how do I know whether his behaviour is out of fear, or illness? Can you give me some advice, or a website where I can get some information?...thank you in advance.

All new pets should be checked over by a vet. If your Hamster has not yet been seen by a vet I would advise booking him an appointment sooner rather than later.

Subscribe to receive special offers

Or Log on here
To be notified of exclusive offers
Follow Us On:
Follow PetPlanet on Twitter
Best Selling
Pet Meds
Drontal Plus Bone Shaped Worming Tablet ( 1 Tablet )
Drontal Plus Bone Shaped Worming Tablet ( 1 Tablet )
ONLY 2.29
Frontline Spot On Cat 6x0.5ml
Frontline Spot On Cat 6x0.5ml
FROM 12.49
Frontline Spot On Dog 20kg - 40kg 6x2.68ml
Frontline Spot On Dog 20kg - 40kg 6x2.68ml
FROM 18.89
Feliway Diffuser Refill 48ml
Feliway Diffuser Refill 48ml
ONLY 15.49
Drontal Plus XL Worming Tablet (1 Tablet)
Drontal Plus XL Worming Tablet (1 Tablet)
ONLY 6.79
Frontline Spot On Dog 2-10kg 6x0.67ml
Frontline Spot On Dog 2-10kg 6x0.67ml
FROM 15.99
Featured
Pet Food Brands
Royal Canin Pet Food
Royal Canin Dog Royal Canin Cat
Hill's Pet Food
Hill's Dog Hill's Cat
James Wellbeloved
James Wellbeloved Dog James Wellbeloved Cat
Beta
Beta
Orijen
Orijen Dog Orijen Cat
Wafcol
Wafcol
Purina Pro Plan
Purina Pro Plan Dog Purina Pro Plan Cat
Arden Grange
Arden Grange
Eukanuba
Eukanuba
Click here for more pet food brands ...

The UKs favourite online pet shop

  • Guaranteed Cheapest
  • Express & Free Delivery
  • Widest Range
  • Secure Shopping
  • Great customer service
  • Honest product reviews
  • Acceptance Mark
    About Us | Contact Us | Cookie Policy | Popular Searches | WEEE | Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Small Animal Breeds | Store Offers | Affiliates | Pet Supplies | Pet Food
    Copyright PetPlanet.co.uk Ltd. 2014