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My Pet World: Give anxious cats more places to hide in the home

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Finally, cats feel safer up high, so if you can afford it, buy her a tall scratching post with a hideaway hole located at the top for your television room. Leave a few liver treats in the hole to encourage her to climb up. If she doesn't discover it on her own after a week, gently place her in it. She needs lots of hiding places around the house, so she can explore safely and learn there is nothing to be afraid of in your home.

Dear Cathy,

My eight-month-old puppy has started to show aggression. He growls and tries to bite when you try to pick him up or put on a leash. Treats are not working. Suggestions? -- Eileen, Commack, NY

Dear Eileen,

If this is a new behavior, take him to a veterinarian to rule out a health problem. If he is not fixed, get him fixed right away.

After doing these things, he needs to learn who is in charge, and that only comes from consistent training. Right now, your stubborn little guy has learned he can control the household with a few well-placed growls and snaps. But you can begin to reshape his responses by training him to "sit," "stay," and "come" when called. The more you train him to listen to your simple commands, the less likely he will behave this way.

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For example, instead of picking him up, walk over to him, then turn away, slap the side of your leg to get his attention, and say "come" to get him to follow you. Puppies love to follow people, especially if their voices sound happy. When he moves from his spot, you should be able to pick him up with no issues.

Once he learns to come when called, call him to you at least ten times a day, always giving him a treat to reinforce the behavior. This repetitive behavior teaches him you are more important than his spot.

If these things don't help or he gets worse, please find a dog trainer or an animal behaviorist to evaluate his behavior.


(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)



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