Question: I have a beautiful German Shepherd, he is 8 months old and recently started to walk with a limp in his back legs. The vets informed me that he had Hip Dysplasia, and that he might have to have an operation when he is two. He has excellent pedigree papers, how did he get this the breeder said the parents were healthy?
Answer: Hip Dysplasia (HD) is a condition causing great concern to professional breeders. Most large breeds are affected and it is seen mostly in the larger breeds. HD is hereditary and the blame must be placed on the breeders lap. I do not think a week goes by without one of my clients finding they have purchased a pet with HD. While most pet dogs can lead a fairly normal life with HD the breeder is the key to prevention.
A good breeder will ensure that the breeding pair have full blood tests and X Rays which must be scrutinized by experts who will classify the animal as fit, or not fit. No one should ever breed a dog with HD however justified they may feel. I term people that produce puppies and sell them with HD criminal.
Dogs which have HD, must have quite lives, must never be overweight, and if children are about, do watch they do not pull the dogs legs. Expect your pet to have arthritic problems as it grows older.
In Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany all registered breeders have to take their pets for full examinations before breeding. All dogs are fitted with microchips for identification. All Kennel Club papers and puppies are then guaranteed by the Government and at the time of this book going to press the official statistics are not available, but I am assured by reliable sources that they have reduced HD by more than seventy per cent.
Question: My cross Terrier is terrified when I take him to the vet, he sometimes gets aggressive and to be very honest I am also very frightened. My vet cannot even stroke him. I pray for my dogs health so that we do not have to go to the vet.
Answer: I am so sorry that your vet allowed this situation to develop. Most vets recognize a nervous dog and a number of them are now giving treats so that the dog associates that this is the place for goodies.
On the other hand lets take a look at this from the dogs point of view! The car, "The only time I go in the car is to the vets for an injection and rough handling " wow, bad behavior in the car. Mum now gets annoyed" Be Quite" "Shut Up" and so on, so the behavior patterns starts way before the vets clinic.
At the clinic, you are anxious, and so is your dog, and maybe so are the other dogs, so here are some guidelines that should assist you.
Every day you should brush your dog, and if possible on a table or stool. Touch his ears and have a look inside talking to him all the time. Touch the side of his mouth and rub his gums gently, he will love that. Pick up his paws and have a look at his nails, and of course touch his tail and make a good game of it but be firm.
Your pet will now be used to you handling him, and that is most important. Next time you take him in the car, do not go to the vet, go to the park, or to a friend. Should you go to a friend, show your friend how you can touch his ears, mouth, paws and tail, that's good practice, and maybe let your friend touch his mouth, paws and generally pretend to be the vet.
After a while this will all be a good bit of fun to both you and the dog. We now move to the next step which is to take your dog to the vet for a social visit out of surgery hours, to be petted by the staff and given some of his favorite treats. Over a period of a few weeks he will just love to go and be handled.
Although house visits are very popular, I think this might be more of a problem to overcome, since you are now bringing the vet onto the dogs territory. One final piece of advice, when visiting a dog which is not under complete control, it might be an idea to leave the dog outside in the car and report in to the receptionist. When it is your turn the receptionist will come out and inform you. This way you can walk straight into the surgery, maybe avoiding that little bunny rabbit or cat.
Question: Whenever my friends come to our home my Jack Russell "Joe" keeps jumping up at them, how can I stop him?
Answer: I do not like dogs jumping up at visitors either. The best way to deal with this is to put him away, and not allow him to "greet" your guests. He is acting like an Alpha, a Top Dog. Best whenever the bell rings, put him away, after a few days he will automatically be ready to be put away. When your friends arrive and have settled, he can then be brought into the room, on your terms. By bringing him into the room, he now has to try to establish his status. Best not to look at him or talk to him for a few minutes, I bet he will settle down within a few minutes !
Question: I am having a lot of problems getting tablets down my dogs throat. He just will not swallow them, and he is so clever he pretends then spits them out, and advice?
Answer: I have found that the best way to give medication, is to place the tablet into a piece of cheese, Cut up a few cubes and just watch how quick the tablets get swallowed, try it, it works.
Question: My dog is a cross Labrador/Collie and has never been in Kennels before. Can you give me any tips about kennels?
Answer: The best advice I can ever give is "Do not book, unless you can look". Most vets have lists of local kennel facilities, but cannot really recommend a kennel for a number of ethical reasons. I would ask a few friends first if they know of a good kennel. Once you have found a suitable kennel that is staffed 24 hours, that has a vet on 24 hour call, you should prepare yourself and your dog.
You should now start to feed your dog on a regular premium dried dog food, after all you cannot expect a kennel to give him his chocolate biscuit, at 11 o'clock! By feeding dried food the kennel will be able to continue so there is no breakdown in feeding routine. It would be better for both of you to put him into the kennel for an odd day before you go away, this way he will get used to the place.
The kennels will want sight of your vaccination book, supply a list of his "Mummies" special names. Do not forget his toys and let him have an old sweater of yours to sniff at.
Whenever anyone complains to me about a kennel, I always ask what food was fed, the wrong diet will cause scratching, licking and a very dull coat. If your dog comes out of a kennel and you are happy, then tell your friends and your vet, and if he does not come out in good condition, also tell your friends and your vet.
Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.
Questions and Answers About Dogs Part 3
by David the Dogman
David is a Canine Behaviourist who works and lives in Marbella, Spain. Tel/Fax (00345) 2883388. His web site is located at: www.thedogman.net. David has his own radio and TV shows, and writes for many newspapers and magazines. David has been working with dogs for many years and started his career in Israel, working on the Border Police. He has been involved in all forms of training, including air sea rescue, air scent work, and has trained dogs for finding drugs. David has devoted the past 10 years to studying behaviour and the very passive approach. He does not use choke chains, check chains, or any form of aggression.