Monday, 10 December 2018
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Ask Dr Bruce Chard: How can I stop my dog barking at men?

You can train your shy dog to be more accepting of men.

Emmanuelle BONZAMI

You can train your shy dog to be more accepting of men.

Our 3-year old miniature schnauzer called Max always barks when adult males visit our house. He is fine with my husband and has never had a bad experience with a man. How can we overcome this behaviour?

It is often found that shy dogs are more upset by men than women. It is mistakenly assumed that your dog has had a bad experience with a male but the cause is unknown. It is speculated that men are more assertive than women and dogs are sensitive to this. Try to train Max by having a male friend who owns dogs to visit your house. Have Max under control and instruct your friend to not look directly at Max, or approach him. When Max is settled he may approach your friend who should speak softly and offer Max a treat. Petting should only be on Max’s chest not on his head. Once Max is more accepting of your friend have another male repeat the procedure to reinforce the behaviour.

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Big Boy, my 14 year old cat, has problems with constipation. He is on a mixed diet of dry and wet food and we give him a solution to try to soften his motions. Recently our vet had to give him an enema under anaesthetic. Are there any other means of treating his problem?

It is important that you work closely with your vet to help Big Boy. Be very strict with his food and use easily digested wet food and sachets to help keep his motions soft. Do not feed raw meat or dry food. Use lactulose daily, which he is probably on, as it causes fluid to stay in his intestines to keep his motions soft. Try adding extra fibre to his food such as Metamucil. Use a litter tray so that you can keep a check on his frequency of passing motions. If he continues to need enemas under anaesthetic look very seriously at a specialist surgery option where part of the large intestine is removed.

Dr Bruce Chard owns North Harbour Veterinary Clinic in Auckland. He has been a vet for more than 40 years and has a pekingese dog and two burmese cats. Visit or email



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