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Ask Zena - Zena answersz your dog questionz

Ask Zena your dog-related questions

When Zena and her dog Zippy aren't going for walks, they're hard at work answering your dog-related questions.

Go ahead and submit your question today, and who knows - when Zena comes back from her walk she might just answer your question.




* The most recent questions are listed first *





Question




Dear Zena,


I am contemplating adopting a Great Pyrenees/ Labrador mix from a local animal shelter. I'm aware they are quite large, but most people I've spoken to don't know what kind of temperament they have or space requirements. Is the Great Pyrenees/Labrador a good house dog?



Rich (Louisiana, USA)







Answer




Dear Rich,




It is always difficult to predict the temperament of a crossbreed, due to the fact that two or more breeds are blended resulting in the mixing of temperaments as well. With dogs that come from a tried and true bloodline, the temperament is easier to predict as responsible breeders have extensive knowledge about the dog's generational history, breed characteristics, and the predisposition of the breed. Of course this is not predictable 100% of the time, but for the most part, you know what you are getting. With a crossbred dog, it is always a crapshoot. The dog could present the temperament of one of the two breeds, or a combination of both.

This does not rule out the importance of training and the environment. In most cases training and consistency can help to mould the dog's character, change unwanted behaviours, and teach better social skills.

Your best bet would be to research the temperament of both the Great Pyrenees and the Labrador Retriever. Both breeds were developed for specific purposes, the Great Pyrenees to guard flocks of sheep and the Lab to retrieve birds and perform other water related jobs. The Great Pyrenees may prefer to stand guard in the back yard while the Lab may prefer to lie on the couch. The Lab will appreciate time at the lake, but perhaps the Great Pyrenees will prefer to stay dry. The Great Pyrenees is wary of strangers and may challenge other dogs while the Lab loves everybody. Either way, this new addition will require daily walks and possibly some off leash time whenever possible.

Before making any decisions spend time with the dog and get to know her. Ask the shelter staff and volunteers questions about her behaviour with a wide range of people, most importantly children. Trust your instincts. Don't rush into your decision, you may live happily ever after, or you may regret your choice.

Hope that helps.



Sincerely Zena & Zippy



 





Question




Dear Zena,


I have a 5 month old Black Labrador and my mother says something is wrong with him because he does not "hike" his leg to urinate. I think he is still too young. At about what age will he quit squatting and start "hiking" his leg?
Thank you



Labrador owner (Ohio, USA)







Answer




Dear Labrador owner,




In some cases, male dogs never adopt the more masculine approach to urinating; instead they squat much like the females. This opposite is true as well with females lifting their legs to relieve themselves. Sometimes this behaviour stays with the dog for the extent of their life. "If it ain?t broke don?t fix it."

There are questions as to why some males adopt the lifting and repetitive marking while others do not. Some vets believe this behaviour is related to the dog?s testosterone level while others believe it is behavioural; picking up the behaviour from other males.

So it sounds like your boy will be just fine. Hope that helps.



Sincerely Zena & Zippy



 





Question




Dear Zena,


Our dog Buster is an 8-month-old Chocolate Labrador. Lately he has been going nuts chasing shadows; his shadow and our shadows. Is this a puppy phase? Will he grow out of chasing his shadow?

Thank you.



Worried dog owner (Oklahoma, USA)







Answer




Dear worried,




This is not an uncommon behaviour for an 8-month-old dog. It would appear that Buster might be going through adolescence, a troubling time for both human and canine children. The period between 6 and 12 months of age marks canine puberty indicating sexual maturity. During this period, male dogs may try to test the hierarchy by becoming a little pushy. This is a great time to demonstrate your own responsibility to Buster and society by ensuring that he is neutered.

You may also notice that suddenly Buster has lost all sense of intelligence. He may forget commands that earlier he had mastered. He may appear to have a limited attention span, often becoming distracted by his environment or more interesting sights and sounds.

As a parent it is important that you show Buster some patience to ride out the storm. Consistency in training and all round social skills will help and the pay off will be soon appreciated as he settles into his own around the age of one.

Hang in there; Buster is probably as confused as you are.

Hope that helps.



Sincerely Zena & Zippy



 





Question




Dear Zena,


Why does my three month old puppy sleep all day and play all night and keep me awake? I tried to keep her up all day so she would sleep at night, but it doesn't work. What should I do?



Courtney (Leoville, Saskatchewan)







Answer




Dear Courtney,




It is always a good idea to crate train your puppy. This is perhaps one of the most important pieces of equipment to add to your home. Crates are not restrictive and punitive as some people may believe. Their use is based on the dog's natural need for a den, their home away from home where they can feel safe and secure.

Around bedtime take your little girl and her crate to your bedroom after first ensuring that she has had her evening playtime and her opportunity to do her business. By placing the crate beside your bed, you can reach out to her during the night, and you can calm her with your soothing voice. If she awakens during the night, it is a great time to take her outside.

Keep some safe toys in her crate so that she can quietly keep herself busy if she has trouble sleeping. A three month old puppy should not be crated for more than three hours. Her bladder is still very small.

During the day your puppy requires a large amount of sleep, a normal behaviour for dogs. As she becomes more familiar with your sleeping pattern, she will adjust hers accordingly.

Hope this helps,



Sincerely Zena & Zippy



 




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