My two year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is aggressive towards strange dogs he meets on walks, barking, lunging and growling as we pass them. How can we stop this?
This is called “lead reactivity”: it’s a result of fear, either due to under-socialisation with dogs or a bad experience. A specific technique solves this. Identify his reaction threshold i.e. how close dogs can come without upsetting him. Then train him to receive rewards for calmly looking at stranger dogs just further away than this. Keep repeating this. Over time, he should gradually get used to dog coming closer to him. For other useful tips visit careforreactivedogs.com
A friendly pregnant stray cat arrived on our doorstep. Our vet checked her (she isn’t microchipped) and she had three kittens. Since they were born, she has become intermittently aggressive, purring happily then suddenly going for us, biting and scratching. How can we stop this?
Many cats exhibit this type of aggression and it’s difficult to stop. Such creatures seem to love some human contact (e.g. brief petting on head and shoulders) but they get agitated and angry at other times (e.g. if petting goes on longer than they’d like, or if their tummy or legs are touched). To enjoy her company, you need to learn to spot when she is about to “turn” (e.g. flattened ears, twitching tail), and back off from her before she lashes out. You will need to warn visitors that she isn’t a cuddly cat, despite her initial outward friendliness.
Preventing cruelty by educating young people
The Veterinary Animal Welfare Coalition – which includes vets, vet nurses and animal welfare organisations – has launched a set of stickers to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of the UK Animal Welfare Acts, designed to help children learn about animals’ welfare needs. To order free sticker, email [email protected]
All sick animals should be taken to a vet.
Pet Subjects by Peter Wedderburn is published by Aurum Press (£12.99). To order your copy for £10.99 plus p&p call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk