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My Pet World: You can't force Fido to adore you

December 21, 2010|By Steve Dale

Q: How can I get my puppy to be more attached to me? She's a mixed breed we adopted two months ago from a shelter. She's 9 months old. It's not like she dislikes our family but she doesn't seem madly in love with us like other dogs have been. I don't see Daisy standing in front of a train to give her life for us. — D.H., Cyberspace

A: "Give the honeymoon more time," says dog trainer Victoria Schade, author "Bonding with Your Dog: A Trainer's Secrets for Building a Better Relationship." "Is the dog appreciating physical contact, or maybe you're making too much contact for this individual dog. I mean, you didn't even date first. Instead of trying too hard, let the dog come to you. And think about speaking softly and offering soft massages."

A great way to bond with a dog is an upbeat training class, adds Schade, of Bucks County, Pa.. You're having fun together and working for a common goal, even if that goal is simply walking without the pup pulling you. Speaking of fun, have a good time doing what your dog likes, be that playing fetch or pulling a wiggle toy.

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"It's not likely, and unpopular to talk about, but it's possible you may not be the right family for Daisy," Schade adds. Some dogs can't tolerate young children. They may never be aggressive but they just don't like kids, no matter what you do. But, first, try to have fun, don't think too much, and give the relationship more time." My only additional advice: Be careful at train tracks.

Q: My 9-year-old Sheltie recently began to eat hymnals and novels. At first, I thought he was after the glue in the binding, but then Charley began to destroy sheet music. I took him to the vet to discuss the problem. The exam only revealed protein in Charley's urine. The vet didn't know what to do except give him steroids. Now, we've also caught our 4-year-old Sheltie in the act. Any advice? — C.W., Las Vegas

A: I doubt steroids would help much, and might not be a good idea given your dog's potential kidney problems. Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman, chair of the behavior clinic at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Mass., says the protein in the urine may indicate kidney disease, which may go hand-in-glove with anemia, which may cause the dog's indiscriminate appetite. Speak to your vet about the suspected kidney issue, and see if treatment for this problem lessens Charley's appetite for paper.

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