Hazel Carter

Pet Behaviourist


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Brief Case Histories

The Terrier Terror
This character had made his owners lives a nightmare for over a year. When I visited him he was behaving in his normal way; barking non-stop, except for brief interludes when he demanded his games by growling, but he was fairly quiet when he attached himself to their legs with his teeth!

I was there for about an hour trying to conduct an in-depth consultation before giving advice. I tried many, usually successful tactics but none worked with this clever dog but in the end I cracked it. It was so simple, all we had to do was for everyone in the room to hold a large newspaper up in front of their faces when he barked or got over excited so he could not see them. The barking stopped and he sat there like a little angel. As soon as he did that he had a game or was talked to quietly. Their nightmare was over.

The House Wrecking Lurcher
This energetic dog had perfected the art of house and content demolition over a period of fifteen months. By the time I saw him all the family wanted him to go, the children found it difficult to explain at school why their home work and books where always ripped to shreds. I conducted my consultation in a room resembling a bombsite, with the distraction of loud crashes as large logs were dragged from the fireplace and hurled across the room by this busy dog.

I came up with a plan to swap demolition activities for more constructive work and play in the house. In under a week this dog had changed completely, all the family wanted to keep him and were really enjoying him.

Attention Seeking Cat
This cat I will call Tabby was a stray who had been adopted by a lady four years previously. He had had a very hard life before his luck changed and he found his new comfortable home. There had been a lot of problems at first; all of these had been resolved except for one. He was determined to make up for lost time by demanding reassurance, loads of fuss and attention. He would achieve this by constantly following his owner every where in the house and garden crying loudly until his demands where met. Even on her nap he would complain loudly if the stroking stopped for a minute. Life was very stressful for Tabby�s owner who could not get on in the house, or relax doing the gardening.

I spent some time asking questions while watching both of them closely. It was hard concentrating when Tabby was so noisy; I then started my strategy. My aim was to reduce the stress that both cat and owner was experiencing. Timing was vital .my advice was to ignore the noise and the second it stopped Tabby would be rewarded with eye contact, fuss and praise, if he made one sound all contact would immediately cease. Gradually the quiet times lengthened and he was more relaxed, even at a distance knowing he would have attention if he was quiet. After the consultation had finished I was invited to look round the garden which was lovely and quite big so it took some time to go round it and admire the plants. Normally poor Tabby would have followed his owner closely constantly crying. However by now Tabby was so relaxed and happy he was content to just saunter about and enjoy the garden. He had never done this before.

Sadly Tabby was killed a few weeks after my visit and his owner kindly let me know his last few weeks were relaxed and happy.

Two Nervous Dogs
One was a young Sheltie who had broken it's leg very badly when it was a puppy so had to be confined to an indoor cage for a long time. The other case was a Collie who had been badly treated in his previous home, and both were suspicious and frightened of people. The Sheltie expressed its fear by barking continuously when visitors came. The Collie was also afraid of visitors, and hid upstairs under the bed, never daring to come down while guests were in the house.

In both cases I ignored the dogs and sat down quietly while I talked to the owners. I discovered the Collie had been given a new ball for its birthday which it loved and suggested that the owner should throw the ball up the staircase so the dog would hear it bounce down the stairs into the room we were sitting in. This worked and soon the dog was happily playing all round the room her fears forgotten. The Sheltie also loved to play with her toys and I soon had the whole family involved in fantastic games all round the room. Because her family was so relaxed and the games were so interesting she also forgot her fears.