Male Westies Started Falling Out

Milos is the more confident Westie


It took me a while to tell these two beautiful little dogs apart, but they are very different really. Milo is more nervous but more bossy, and Merlin is more confident but the bigger barker. Milo loves to be cuddled, but Merlin may grumble if touched or moved against his will.

Both are show dogs so they are entire. You can see how beautifully groomed Milo on the left is. The two used to play together and get on famously until, strangely, a few weeks ago their diet was changed. It was changed to raw meat, chicken wings, cooked rice and what should be an excellent diet. However, it brought out food aggression, especially over the chicken wings, and although they have been withdrawn things have never been the same since. With feeding ‘real food’, raw or cooked, it can be quite a responsibility getting the dietary balance right. It’s a known fact that too much protein can affect hyperactivity just as the additives and colourings in certain complete brands can.

All is not quite well in other respects though, so this was maybe just the catalyst. Both dogs have been obsessive lickers of carpets, sofas etc. As soon as there is any stress of any sort, they turn to licking in order to ease it – releasing the calming pheromones. It’s understandable to keep shouting at them each time they start, but we demonstrated while I was there that although they wouldn’t be distracted, by ignoring it they actually stopped a lot sooner.

The dogs are now growling at each other much of the time.  Milo eyeballs and controls Merlin. Merlin growls. Milo thenThe two Westies asleep together growls. They growl around the lady owner and around doorways. They are constantly ‘ready to go’ as soon as they hear something outside. Barking frantically they skid across the kitchen floor in a race to get to the back door first, resulting in a scrap when they get there. Again, shouting at dogs for barking makes it worse, they could even think you are joining in with more angry noise. It’s also unfair when the dogs are doing the job they have been given. Best is to relieve them of the job!

I suggest the dogs revert to their original diet seeing as it was working well. Having chosen the highest quality dry brand available, they should avoid all the extras which have no nutritional value and upset the careful nutritional balance. Everything should be done to keep the dogs as calm as possible.

When I ask people for a list of the things that stir their dogs up, it’s surprising just how many stressful, over-exciting or over-stimulating things can be cut right down or avoided altogether.

A month has passed by: “we have seen a vast improvement since we first saw you…… they played a little last week.  It was only for a minute or so but Milo was the one who instigated it, which made me really happy.  I haven’t seen them play together for so long, so it was really nice – made my day and showed that we are doing the right things.
I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog. Please just check the map and contact me.

Westie – A Very Important Dog

Westie Hamish is the KingLook at him! This is Hamish, a Very Important Dog, and he knows it.

He is no trouble at all most of the time but he has his family jumping to his bidding.  He has them up and down opening the garden door, and then may decide he doesn’t want to go out anyway. He takes them his food bowl when he wants food, and obediently they fill it. Whenever he brings them a toy, they will always play. When he wants to be fussed or touched, they always oblige.

However, things are a bit different if they want to do something with him, if his own space is invaded.  He has bitten several times, mostly when they take his collar to either inspect his feet or groom him. When they go into his space he may back into a corner and bite. He has been chewing his back feet, but they can’t inspect them.

He went absolutely frantic at the vets recently, biting his male owner in the car park and having to be restrained with a catch pole in the surgery. This sort of experience will guarantee future vet visits will be even worse, if that’s possible.

If his owners give him better leadership and make him work a little for some of their attention, Hamish should then start to value them when they want to attend to him. They need to learn not to corner him – we wouldn’t like that either. He needs to want to come over to them – to please them. He needs to learn that to get attention he sometimes has to work for it.

For dogs that have problems with people invading their personal space, you need to work slowly and imagine how it feels to the dog. First, I would say that putting him somewhere high to groom him, maybe a garden table, would be less challenging for him. It all has to be done in tiny increments, starting with him being happy simply being lifted on and off the table. Then he can be massaged and touched in areas where he’s less touchy – no brush or scissors in sight. All the time he needs to be watched for signs of stress, as that is the time to stop that particular session.

He needs to change vets to give him a fresh start. There is a vet nearby at the back of a pet shop. This would mean he first would smell toys and treats, he could be called through at the last moment. He could be taken there beforehand a few times to buy his dog food. He also needs to be weaned into wearing a muzzle, and this also need to be done in tiny increments, until he’s happy wearing it around the house. It’s essential that the muzzle is not associated with going to the vet.

In other respects Hamish is a chilled and confident little dog and no trouble at all (apart from being another Westie like I met a couple of weeks ago that barks at animals on telly!). A beautiful boy.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.

Attacking the TV

Much of the time Westie Snoopy is an obedient, relaxed and happy little doI have been to mansions to help with dogs and I have been to tiny flats. Yesterday I went to a houseboat on a marina.  I couldn’t believe how spacious it was, like walking through a little door into another world.

I met a beautiful little Westie called Snoopy (a female Snoopy!). She is 21 months old.

The couple  have never had a dog before. They carefully researched dog ownership and have done a very good job. Sometimes circumstances can work against us. Snoopy’s start in life wasn’t ideal in that she had no socialisation until about nine weeks old, and when she eventually went to puppy classes she was so scared she disrupted the class with her yelping vocalisings that they had to give up. This was not a good first encounter with other dogs, and will have been to do with how the class was handled, too much noise, and too many dogs including some whose own behaviour will have been scary to a tiny Westie puppy.

Now Snoopy is wary and reactive to many dogs, and recently went for a dog that jumped up at her gentleman owner – she may have been protecting him. She can be a bit scared of people as well. She makes her screaming vocalisations at certain things like the sound of the venetian blinds being raised or the window opening. One of the reasons I was called was her reaction to animals on TV. She barks, lunges and snarls and is so stressed and hyped up that she may even, uncharacteristically, go for them if they take her collar to remove her. This makes peaceful evenings watching telly rather difficult! Besides, it builds up Snoopy’s stress levels and it’s a vicious circle. Stressed by barking, she is more ready to bark.

Much of the time Snoopy is an obedient, relaxed and happy little dog. She is given sensible rules and boundaries. It is only on the protection front that she seems not to quite trust her owners and thinks she needs to do the job herself, so leadership needs tightening up. She needs to be shown that it’s not her job to worry about animals on TV, nor other dogs on walks. This means the couple will need to ‘think dog’. A good leader/parent would protect the pack/family and never lead them into trouble. So, on walks, a different strategy needs to be used around other dogs. The walk itself needs to be a calmer and more comfortable affair. Pulling frantically on lead must be so uncomfortable for her little neck that she will already be in a heightened state when she meets a dog.

Her frantic TV behaviour needs a patient and consistent approach, again – ‘thinking dog’. Why is she doing this? What would a kind and wise leader do in her eyes?

In every other respect Snoopy is the perfect dog for life on a boat.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.