Since we have so many pet parents on Malini’s Girl Tribe, last week on International Dog Day, we invited Dog Trainer and Behaviourist Dr Devanshi Desai to host an Ask Me Anything session for the Tribe. Dog Day is observed on August 26 every year to encourage adoption, and to draw attention to the plight of canines around the world.
Dr Desai addressed all questions related to pet parenting, shared tips on training pups, recommended stimulating games you can play with your doggos, busted some myths, shared ways to spend quality time with our furry friends, tips on travelling with pets, and more! Read on to know her fabulous tips and tricks!
Q. Can dogs thrive on a vegetarian diet? We are vegetarians, hence it is tough for us to think of buying meat for our dog.
When you talk about ‘thriving’, it’s enjoying the things that naturally come to us. Dogs are naturally carnivorous and do not have the teeth nor the gut for an all-vegetarian diet. I understand meat isn’t an option, but if you could give him dog food that isn’t vegetarian, it would keep him healthier! A lot of dogs do not show immediate reactions to a vegetarian diet, but it affects them in the long run.
Q. How can I stop my pup from biting and chewing on furniture, hands and clothes?
First, work on building a fun relationship with your puppy where you become the person he/she wants to listen to. Teach them what you want instead of just trying to correct their behaviour. That’s only fair! Biting can be because of multiple reasons so tackling each reason correctly is an art that must be learnt.
Q. How can I help a traumatised dog who was rescued after two major accidents and getting run over by a car when he was a tiny pup? He has a brother of the opposite nature, and they break into such horrible fights and sometimes it seems like he will kill his weak brother. I love them both and I’m desperate for help!
Trauma does affect a dog’s temperament, I agree, but it’s also how you teach the dog to deal with it. Dogs are natural survivors and if given the right support of behaviour work, confidence building and training, they can get better and you could help improve their quality of life. You need to separate both brothers for some time, because the brother may not be a good educator for the fearful under-confident pup. Animals follow no relationships as such; they believe in survival of the fittest.
Q. We have a 4-year-old mutt and an 11-month old baby. The dog is scared of the baby. She runs away most of the time when the baby goes to play with her. How can we get her more comfortable with the baby?
Please understand that ‘flight’ is always a better option than ‘fight’. Your dog is politely walking away from your baby right now, and it’s actually a flight behaviour because your mutt can’t understand that the baby is trying to play. I recommend getting a safety gate and that they both maintain a safe distance until the child is older.
Q. How do you introduce puppies to other dogs?
You can definitely introduce puppies to adult dogs who will teach them better, either by ignoring or mildly correcting by growls, snaps and snarls. Introducing pups to a tolerant adult dog, a fearful adult dog or to another puppy without teaching him how to behave with them will only invite him to be rough in play and a big bully when he grows up.
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