Q: I know Chow Chows can be willful, and our dog is trying to dominate us. The first hint was that Max would jump on the sofa when we weren't home. He knows he's not supposed to be up there, yet we find his hair on the sofa when we arrive home. The other day, I even caught him on the sofa. I have to repeat over and over what I want him to do. I tried the Cesar (Millan) method with mixed success. How can I show my dog who's boss?
A: You have two major problems to deal with here. The first is your belief that your dog wants to dominate you. Dogs do have a social structure, but they know people aren't dogs. I can assure you, Max has no agenda to dominate you. However, you do need to be clear, consistent and motivating with him. Here lies your second problem. I suggest there's a specific reason that Max jumps on the sofa (aside from it being more comfortable than the floor) and generally doesn't listen to you. It has to do with a lack of clarity, consistency and/or motivation.
Are you sure everyone in the family is consistent about the rules? Perhaps, the kids (if you have kids) or another person in the household doesn't mind Max on the sofa. As a result, Max really doesn't understand what to do or not do, or he's taking advantage of the inconsistency. Sometimes, such behavior is not a matter of obedience or dominance, but simply taking advantage of an opportunity.
To deter Max, consider buying a plastic runner and placing it over the sofa, nubby side up, when you leave the house. Also, consider a dog training class. This would open a window of communication with your pet. Seek out a fun, upbeat class. Efforts to dominate dogs through intimidation aren't nearly as successful as efforts to encourage them through motivation.
Q: My 3-year-old cat has a problem with constipation. I've had him to the vet three times since January to be "unblocked." The first two times, I didn't realize what was happening; he was vomiting and acting lethargic. The problem was so bad they had to put him under (anesthesia) at the clinic to remove the stool. We now have the cat on a high-fiber prescription food and enulose twice daily. I'm hoping we can avoid this from happening again. Or will it always be a problem?
A: Dr. Anna Worth, president of the American Animal Hospital Assn., feels for you and your cat.
"This constipation issue appears pretty severe for such a young cat," says Worth, who practices in Bennington, Vt. "I can't help but wonder if there's something else going on (perhaps a disease known as megacolon). We see this (severe constipation) in cats who've been hit by cars and have suffered a pelvic injury. If there seems to be no other explanation, this may be more or less how this cat will be. Aside from enuluse, there are other laxatives your vet can recommend, and perhaps one will work better. Also, ask your vet about adding water to (the cat's) food. So many cats believe they're camels, and water can help constipation. You may even have to learn to give your cat an occasional enema."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun