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My Pet World: Ways to deal with a timid stray kitten and company

May 03, 2011

There's no way to predict how your dog might respond to a real bear. However, it's very unlikely Charlie Horse would wag his tail and beg the bear to pet him. There's a good chance he would bark a warning. Some dogs will do what they can, holding their ground, as perhaps your neighbor's dog did. Others will quietly, or not so quietly, run and hide.

Emerging from winter hibernation, bears are hungry. Experts suggest keeping trash securely closed (use bear-proof trash bins), and never leaving food out in your yard. Remove plants with berries, a bear delicacy. Some people claim wolf urine (available at some feed stores) is a deterrent.

You could dribble it around the edges of your property. If it works at all, it will only be effective until the first significant rain. While a large dog can be a deterrent, I don't recommend leaving your dog outside unsupervised. It would be wise to install outdoor lighting and make lots of noise when you go outdoors at night.

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You could encourage your dog to bark at any unusual sound -- which many dogs routinely do anyway. However, be careful what you wish for. I worry that in a month you'll write me again, complaining that your dog's barking has become unbearable.

Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column. Write to Steve at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to PETWORLD(at)STEVE DALE.TV. Include your name, city and state. Steve's website is http://www.stevedalepetworld.com; he also hosts the nationally syndicated "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute." He's also a contributing editor to USA Weekend.

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