[Dear Annie]

To celebrate 1994 as the Year of the Dog, Director and volunteer dog walker, Lucie Tomson, has asked her dog, Annie, to help out with canine concerns. Annie, a border collie, does her best to help her fellow dogs with their questions.

Annie's picture Dear Annie:
The day most canines dread finally came... my owners now have a little human - another pack member. At first it was not so bad since the little human just lay there and slept but my owners did not have much time to walk, train or play with me. It is better now that they realized that they needed to pay more attention to me. I started to chew things and be a general nuisance because I was bored and under exercised.

Here is the problem. This little human is walking around and now finds me interesting. I do not enjoy being stepped or fallen on. I do not enjoy things being stuck in my ears and I certainly do not enjoy screeching in my ears. I have no place to run. The little human always finds me. Help !!!

Dear Hounded:
I have heard from many dogs in your situation . Consider yourself fortunate that your owners did realize that you need play and exercise. Some owners get rid of their dog when they have children because they do not give the attention, exercise and training that is necessary to keep a dog mentally and physically stimulated. Behavioural problems such as barking, digging, chewing and aggression can set in.

Children and pets are not natural playmates. Owners not only have prepare themselves for children but must also prepare their pets. Owners can prepare their dog by handling its paws, ears and tail more often. Praise the dog while handling. If a dog is particularly tough sensitive, feed treats when handling the dog at first then wean off the treats. Work on being able to take away anything from the dog - their food bowl, bone or toy. Immediately give back whatever is taken away after the dog is praised. This should be done randomly a few times a week. It is good practice to randomly place a treat in the food bowl while the dog is eating so that the dog does not become defensive of its food.

Dogs need their space and deserve to live in an environment where they can live injury free, pain free and anxiety free. Owners should not allow their children to do anything to a pet that they would not allow them to do to another child. This means hitting, teasing, jumping on, screeching at and chasing the dog. Owners must think about the fact that even if their dog tolerates this behaviour - the next dog your children meet may not. The results can be disastrous. All children (and adult humans for that matter) should learn how to behave around all animals.

Owners can prepare children at a very early age by teaching proper and gentle animal handling. Stop any teasing, hitting or running toward the dog immediately. Teach children not to bother the dog when they are sleeping or lying down quietly. Train the dog with children so that everybody in the household uses the same commands and the dog learns that the children are on a higher level than them in the pack. Children learn by example so owners must ensure that their animal etiquette is top notch.

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