Compassionate Dog Training
Our philosophy regarding dog training is simple.  Our ultimate goal is to have you end up with a happy, obedient, well-reounded dog that is a valued addition to your family.


Q and A with Sandy

Dear Sandy:
My daughter adopted Moose, a 15-pound beagle look-alike from the Humane Society about 6 months ago. I'm sure this dog must have been thrown out of her original home because she is so bad....cute and sweet, but bad. She must have been abused because she is scared of any loud noise or fast movement.

The problem is that she has destructive puppy-like behavior...chewing on things like blankets or bedspreads as if it is a game (doesn't differentiate between her toys and NOT her toys), stealing laundry (clean or dirty) and running away with it, difficulty learning obedience commands, eating the plants even though she has been scolded 100 times, and her housebreaking leaves a bit to be desired. She knows where she is supposed to go because she does it 95% of the time, but then out of nowhere she will squat on the couch. She is crated during the day because my daughter can't trust her by herself all day. She goes home lunchtime to let her out and play a little, but then back in the crate. My daughter did take her to school, but her bad habits are difficult to break and Moose just doesn't seem to be an easy student. I'm sure she needs some very diligent training and I'm hoping you can show us the right direction.

Dear Abby:
Your daughter needs to call a trainer who will come to her home, assess the situation and start her and Moose on a complete training program right away. It sounds like Moose is out of control and in need of strict discipline. Group classes would not benefit them because the problems occur at home. In addition, a trainer in a group class cannot devote one-on-one time with her or Moose. On top of that Moose is a beagle or at least part beagle. Beagles can be harder to train than some other breeds. They can be stubborn and willful. He has also had a rough start in life and carries some baggage. Tell her not to give up on him!

Dear Sandy:
I have a question for you concerning adding a new cat to my household. I had 2 cats, 11 yrs. old, who were sisters/littermates & who I'd had since they were kittens. They were very affectionate toward each other. Just before Christmas, my tabby, Maybelline, the more affectionate with me, died from kidney failure. I was too distraught to get a new cat right away. I wanted to wait and wanted to see how my other cat, Dottie was going to be. She's shyer but actually has become more talkative and hangs around a little closer to me now rather than in her hammock. But I worry that she's lonely all day when I'm at work, and at 10 p.m. when she & Maybelline had their nightly "exercise" run around. I thought I wanted another female but maybe not a kitten, perhaps in the 3-6 yr old range.

So I went to Orphans of the Storm & wandered around for a couple of hours. The staff there said I shouldn't get a female as Dottie would get territorial & spray, but I've had numerous cats & never had a male & really don't want one. I know they spray. Anyway, I like the female temperament, especially as my cats are indoor, apartment cats. The staff did suggest not getting a kitten as a kitten would be too much "action" for Dottie who, although she has her moments, is in late middle age & fairly sedate. I saw some beautiful cats but since one didn't steal my heart, I decided to wait & get some more info. My question to you is what do you think? Male or female? I really do think Dottie needs some company but I rent my apartment & could not deal with a cat spraying, either Dottie or the new one.

Hi Maria,
Your situation is definitely complicated. There is always an adjustment period when a new cat is introduced into the home. It is also never a guarantee that the cats will become buddies. There are some things you can do to try and pick out the right cat. In your case you should adopt a passive, laid back cat. Spend a lot time observing each cat and make sure you can pick him/her up, pet him/her all over and rub the belly. Their body should remain relaxed and their eyes calm and relaxed. If you are at a shelter observe how the cat interacts with others. Make sure he/she is not acting dominant or aggressive (big body language, hissing, swatting).

Whenever introducing cats start out with them in separate areas. For example, have the new cat in a closed bedroom and let the two cats sniff each other under the door. Another plus to enclosing the new cat is that it will be close to his/her litter box. After a few days or a week take the new cat out and hold him/her and let your cat make the first move towards it. Don't be alarmed if there is some hissing or growling. Cats are usually not the type of animals that love another cat at first sight. They are usually slower to adjust.

After a while (it may be an a few days depending on how they react to each other) let the cats approach each other and just supervise. (Have a squirt bottle in hand just in case of fighting. If they fight squirt them.) Then when that seems to go well and there is no growling, hissing or swatting you can consider the new cat, and the old, adjusted. As far as male vs. female I think it really depends on the cats themselves. Interesting fact: male cats roam a larger territory than females. Male or female cats can spray and yes indeed it can be a serious problem! So, if you pick wisely and go through the introductions slowly, your whole family should adjust well. Good luck!

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