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New pup's so shy; pets corner.

Byline: Vivian Silverstein

QI rescued a Shih Tzu from a puppy farm. He is so scared he lives behind the couch and only comes out to eat. He is totally nuts and scared of everything and everybody. We throw food at him because he won't come out and eat off a plate. We have two others that are great.

AI'm afraid this isn't an unfamiliar story told by many that have acquired their dogs from 'puppy farms'.

It is the result of what amounts to total neglect with regards to socialisation and habituation.

Often they are imported from Ireland as very young pups and sold on arrival through unscrupulous dealers.

Your dog may always have a problem to some extent, but there are things you can do to help even now, 12 months after getting him.

First get him checked out by your vet to make sure he is healthy and pain-free.

Stop throwing food towards him because this is encouraging him to stay put. Try to 'Hansel and Gretel' him out inch by inch.

Make no sudden moves or noises. He may gain enough confidence and slowly become more social.

You may also need the help of a qualified behaviourist.

Q My cats are inconsistent when it comes to using the litter tray. Sometimes they are good and other times they use anywhere in the house. Why is this and what can I do? A The first rule is one litter tray per cat in the household, PLUS one. So if you had six cats you would need seven trays scattered all over the house.

Cats hate to use soiled litter even if they did the soiling, so cleaning would encourage use.

Keep it as simple as possible.

Blocking any places your cats may have used outside the litter box and cleaning thoroughly may stop the habit.

Q One of my dogs still gets excited even after being neutered. Is this normal? I have little confidence after one of my other dogs had a large operation which caused him some problems in that area.

A As far as I know, yes it is very normal you will be pleased to hear.

If you require an explanation, contact your vet who is in a better position to explain everything in detail.

If your cat's crazy or your dog is barking mad, email Vivian runs the Pet Behaviour Centre in Cambuslang,
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 29, 2012
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