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Dear Pooja: My dog won't leave me alone

By POOJA SATHE GAWANDE
April 26, 2021 13:54 IST
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Canine lover and dog trainer Pooja Sathe Gawande answers your queries.

Can you feed your pup the food you eat?

Is your pup too aggressive?

Is it facing separation anxiety?

Does it refuse to mingle with other dogs?

Send in your queries to Pooja Sathe Gawande at getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: Pooja, can you help?). Do mention your name, your dog’s breed, age and the number of members in your family You can send in your pet's picture as well.

Akshay Kumar in Entertainment

*IMAGE: Junior -- The Wonder Dog and Akshay Kumar in Entertainment.

Hi Pooja.
I am Sagar.
We adopted a cocker spaniel around two months ago; he is now five months old.
There are six members in our family: my dad (75 years), mom (70 years), wife (35 years), daughter (8 years), brother (23 years), me (38 years) and, of course, this new guy.
The major problem that I have been facing is that he does not leave me. Wherever I go, he follows me. Due to this, I am not able to go anywhere.
He just doesn't want to be with other members of the family.
As a result, since he came, I have hardly been out of the house. I’m working from home somehow and that is creating problems in my work life.
Honestly, my mom and dad are against this decision of bringing a pet in the house. My wife supports me but she also has to go out for her work.
I brought him with the thought that my daughter will have a companion as we cannot have a second child. I felt this was a good option as both she and I love dogs. But, since then, I have got stuck and don't know what to do.
Sometimes, I feel I should give him back.
Kindly guide me.
Regards,
Sagar

Hi Sagar.

Due to the lockdown, this has happened to many puppies as they had constant access to their human parents.

You will have to slowly get him used to others and teach him to be on his own without you.

You can divide his daily routine duties with other family members.

1. Ask someone else to feed him every day.

2. Ask your brother/wife to take him out for daily walks.

3. Take him for longer walks, play outdoors with a long leash and make him run outside.

In short, get him tired and then you can give him a good quality chew bone, etc, to keep him occupied while you can work in the other room.

4. Start by reducing your involvement in his daily activities. Then keep him in the hall/ living area while you are in the other room. Start with few minutes and then gradually increase the time you are staying away from him.

5. Practise this daily.

6. Do not pay attention to his crying, barking, whining when he is away from you.

7. Ask your daughter to play some dog puzzles and mental stimulation games with him to build their rapport.

You can watch the training videos available on our Instagram handle @crazyk9campers for reference

Have patience and practise every day.

 

Hi Pooja.
My French bulldog is a year old and she is a very fussy eater.
Her diet over the week includes paneer, mutton, curds, fish, chicken, egg and processed dog food.
Sometimes, I give her soaked almonds and banana.
She seems to have a sweet tooth as she is always sniffing around when I eat something sweet.
But she is so fussy that sometimes she does not eat the whole day. At the same time, she is very active and loves to play and when she does not eat, her ribs show.
How do I make her a good eater?
Chitra

Hi Chitra.

Her diet seems to have good variety.

Here is what you can do.

1. Fix her meal times. Her food should be available to her only for 15-20 minutes. Food shouldn't be kept on the floor the whole time.

2. If she doesn’t eat, do not worry. Just pick it up and feed her only at the next meal time.

3. Don’t give in to the temptation of adding something more/better to the food bowl when she doesn’t eat.

4. It’s absolutely fine for a dog to skip a meal. They will eat when they are hungry.

5. Do not feel sorry and try to hand feed if she is not eating.

6. Check her weight and overall health with a vet every month. If she is fine, do not stress about her skipping one or two meals.

7. Do not give her any human food/sweets/chocolates, etc.

I think you are stressing yourself unnecessarily. Just be calm and trust your dog.

Dear Pooja
I have an indie. He is seven months old.
He is very friendly and loves people. When the door bell rings, he goes crazy. Even before someone can enter the house, he will jump on them and whine and lick wherever he can reach.
Some people don’t mind this, but some get scared and we have close him in another room. He hates this and so do we.
How to handle this situation?
Suraj.

Hi Suraj.

Training him is your answer.

Dogs get super-excited when the doorbell rings because they get attention from you and your family members unknowingly.

Please avoid saying anything when the doorbell rings like, ‘Look who has come?’, ‘Who is it at the door?’, etc.

Teach him to sit before you open the door.

Get a trainer who will work with you and your pet and work on basic manners.

Get him used to being on a leash near you while you have guests. Start with guests who will help you train him.

If you have to leave him alone in the room, first get him used to that without any guests being present.

Dogs learn with practice. Get professional help and train your dog. He is young and will pick up fast.

Hi.
Our labrador is a year-and-a-half old and she won’t sleep alone or in her bed.
She needs my husband or me around and will only sleep when her body is touching us. If we move, she gets up.
She is also a very light sleeper and any noise wakes her.
How can we get her to sleep well and to sleep on her own?
Madhuri

Hi Madhuri.

You will have to train her to be alone slowly.

1. Start by distancing yourself from her for a few minutes every day.

2. Give her high value chewing bones/toys to keep her occupied.

3. Practise every day.

4. Get a crate and crate train her during the day. Then, practise at night.

5. Teach her to sleep in her crate for everyday few minutes.

6. Get professional help if needed.

7. Dogs learn through regular practice. Be patient.

8. It’s fine for dogs to be light sleepers. Don’t stress about it.

Pug

Photograph: Kind courtesy Proneet

Hello Madam.
My three-year-old black male pug urinates everywhere even though he is potty-trained.
He urinates in his bed and on the walls.
He just can't help it.
Can you please help?
Proneet

Hi Proneet.

First get a check up done by the vet to rule out any medical condition.

Then,

1. Toilet-train him to do it in the bathroom/balcony/selected spots inside the house.

2. Does he pee when left alone? Or when you are angry with him?

3. Take him for regular walks and let him sniff/explore as much as he wants.

4. I will need more information about the situation in the house, ie has anything major changed in the house? In his daily routine, his walks, play time, etc?

5. Have you considered neutering him? Do discuss with your vet.

You can limit his access to parts of the house. Do not give him unsupervised access to beds/sofa, etc.


Pooja Sathe Gawande is an internationally certified dog trainer and behaviourist and the founder of Crazy K9 Campers.

Understanding and communicating with dogs comes naturally to her and she has trained over 2,000 dogs till date. Her specialty is getting pet parents involved in every aspect of having a pet at home and helping them create a special bond through training and parental behaviour modification programmes.

She also runs an agility training centre in Mumbai. 

Pooja lives with her enthusiastic young Dalmatian, Ollie. You can follow their canine adventures here.

*Kindly note that this image has been used for representational purposes only.

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