Exercise needs of different breeds differ
Q: How much exercise does my pet needs to maintain a healthy weight? Vividha Mishra
You have not mentioned the breed or the age of your dog! For most dogs, a 20-to 30-minute walk twice a day is a sufficient amount of exercise. However, traditionally active breeds or high-energy dogs may require more exercise, including the chance to run off leash in a safe area for longer periods of time. In addition, your pet’s exercise needs will vary based on their age, size and overall health. While exercise is one important aspect of maintaining a healthy body weight, proper diet and feeding practices are equally important. Pets should be offered portion-controlled meals of a high-quality, balanced diet while avoiding people foods or excessive quantities of treats.
Q: My cat is painfully shy and hides almost all day. How do I get him out of his shell? Parveen Iqbal
Just like people, some cats are quite introverted and it can take a fair amount of effort to get them out of their shells. For many of these cats, their ‘shyness’ is actually a sign of stress and anxiety, which is often fear-related. Try to find something your cat enjoys – a special treat, ear scratches, playing with the laser pointer – and encourage your cat to approach you. Do not force any interaction, as this often makes stress and anxiety worse. It may take a bit of patience and time. If these strategies are not successful, it may be best to consult a veterinary behaviorist for further advice.
Q. My dog is friendly off leash, but when we meet another dog on a walk, he barks and lunges. How can I stop him from acting out? S Chaturvedi
The behavior you are describing sounds like barrier frustration. Barrier frustration is distinct from aggression in that the canine is friendly toward other dogs when he is off leash, but is reactive when he is restrained by a barrier. The barrier can be anything from a fence or window to a leash. As with all behavior issues, the first step is a trip to the veterinarian to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions contributing to your dog’s behavior. Once your dog has been given a clean bill of health, it’s time to start training. In the case of barrier frustration, training should start as soon as possible, as reactions toward other dogs can intensify over time. Begin by teaching your dog that the sight of another dog means good things will happen. Employ your dog’s favorite doggy friends for these practice sessions, and keep all dogs on leash while you are training. Once your dog has mastered the basics, you can begin to expose him to strange dogs while on leash, either at a dog park or in your neighborhood. Start with the other dog far enough away that your dog notices him but does not react. Next, teach your dog to heel on leash as he approaches the other dog. Hold your dog on a loose leash; a tight leash can heighten reactivity. Treat your dog when he walks next to you; if he pulls on the leash or crosses in front of you, stop walking. Use a treat to lure him back to your side. Walk toward the other dog at an angle or perpendicular to the other dog, rather than head on. After a series of successful approaches, reward your dog with an off-leash play session in a safe area.