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Understanding your pet better

It’s essential to read your pet’s body language as it helps in building a trustworthy relationship

Understanding your pet better
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I recently adopted a cat but she is very shy. What should I do to make her feel more welcome?

Go slow at first. A new cat may need seven to fourteen days to relax into her new environment. Offer her a safe place to hide while she gets her bearings. She'll appreciate the chance to observe her new family's routine from a small, dark space or one high above the action.

Take your cat to a caring veterinarian for a wellness exam within one week after adoption.

Provide the same diet she had at the shelter at least for the first week or two. Cats must scratch, so make sure to provide yours with a sturdy, rough-textured scratching post to save wear and tear on furniture.

Cat-proof your home before giving your new feline run of the house. Put away harsh cleaning products, human medications, and household poisons. Re-home any poisonous houseplants.

My street has a watch guard. Every night for security purposes he whistles which causes my dog to start barking in the dead of the night. What should I do?

There are certain things you need to know before you attempt to train your dog on barking.

Your dog gets some kind of reward when he barks. Otherwise, he wouldn't do it. Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. If he barks at people or animals passing by the window, manage his behaviour by closing the curtains or putting your dog in another room.

If he barks at passersby when he's in the yard, bring him into the house.

Ignore your dog's barking for as long as it takes him to stop. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don't talk to him, don't touch him and don't look at him. When he finally quiets down, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat.

To teach your dog to bark on command, give him the command to 'speak', wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say 'speak.' Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the 'quiet' command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to 'speak.' When he starts barking, say 'quiet' and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A well-exhausted dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks, as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

You might introduce him to the watchman and let him whistle in front of the dog.

Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com

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