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Byline: Trude Mostue

IF you have a problem with your pet and don't know where to turn, put pen to paper and get in touch with our top TV vetQMY black tan King Charles Cavalier Cabar will be three years old in September. He barks every time we go out and everyone in the street knows he's coming. Somebody told me to try giving him titbits and if I say: "That's it, you're going home," he stops right away. I love him so much as I was given him after my husband passed on and he is just adorable apart from this. He is on medication twice a day for epilepsy. - Mrs M Duffus, Trades Park, Nairn.

AMOST dogs communicate with smell and body language, and barking is mainly used for alarm calls. But your dog has chosen to communicate with you through barks, which you can understand from his point of view. Not only does he get your attention but he also gets a treat for it! You think you are rewarding him for stopping barking - but your dog thinks you are rewarding him for doing it.

My advice is to start taking him for short walks and if he starts to bark, put him back inside and leave him until he stops. Then try to take him out again. If he comes out and is quiet for a moment, give him a titbit, but don't move before he is quiet.This can take a long time, but most dogs get the point fairly quickly as long as you are consistent and persistent. You might want to contact a local dog trainer to start you off.

Regarding his epilepsy, he can be treated like a normal dog as long as the drugs control the symptoms and he has regular check-ups. I am sure that by retraining him you will build up an even stronger bond.

QI HAVE recently become the owner of a pedigree Lab Retriever. It is 16 months old. What is the best way to clean his ears without causing him harm? - S. Baillie, age 13, Linwood.

AIN general you don't need to clean dogs'' ears unless there has been a problem, or if you have one of the extremely long-eared breeds such as the cocker spaniel. A healthy ear should be smell-free, with a nice, pink ear canal and no excessive dark wax. It is normal to find some ear wax, but if there is discharge and your dog seems to scratch and shake its head, there might be an ear infection or a foreign body in there, such as grass seeds. However, I do think it is a very good idea to get your young dog used to you handling him as much as possible, so that if you should need to apply ear drops, clean his ears, give tablets or clean and clip nails/claws, you can do so easily without having to fight him every time.You should touch and look inside his ears, open his mouth, check his teeth, and touch his feet every day as a part of a training routine.

Now, if you do feel his ears are too waxy, and they do smell, I would take him to the vet for a check-up, because he might need medicated drops. If he is prone to ear infections, then regular weekly ear cleaning is a brilliant idea.Use a medicated ear cleaner from pet shops or the vets. Hold his ear flap in one hand, pulling it slightly to stretch out the l-shaped ear canal. Drop the ear cleaner at the ear canal entrance - no need to stick the bottle all the way in. Keep the ear lifted, then massage the ear canal from the outside. You should hear a squashy noise. Most dogs love this, but it can be painful if there is an infection.

Then, take cotton wool on your finger and wipe the ear clean, only wiping the entrance to the ear canal and as far as you can get with the cotton wool. Do not poke your finger inside the canal and never use cotton buds. They can break off if your dog swings his head around too fast. The rest of the ear wax and what is left inside the canal will be dissolved by the ear cleaner, and will unfortunately be shaken out and end up on your walls or in your hair. If you are in doubt, pop down to the vets for a demo - the nurses can easily show you how to do it.

QOUR cross collie, has a very small extra bit of pink skin in the corner of an eye but no eyesight problems and it doesn't bother him. Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don't, but it's grown a wee bit since last year. It is the same colour as the inside of his eyelids and comes from there. Would it need cutting out or seeing to? - Margaret, Ayrshire.

ATHIS could be a prolapsed part of the third eye lid, a wart, or a loose skin flap from an injury. I quite often see this in dogs who have been fighting with cats - cats' claws can catch the third eyelid, and partly rip a piece of it off. It could also just be that his third eyelid is more visible than usual, but you would normally see them in both eyes in their inner corners. It is nothing to worry about but it may be best to have it checked just in case.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 5, 2001
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