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Pet World: What to do when new cat and old dog don’t get along

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

–Dan and Martha Cover, Tucson, Arizona

Dear Dan and Martha,

Dogs who lack confidence can become quite vocal in an attempt to keep other dogs away.

If your sweet dog was never properly socialized with other dogs, she might experience anxiety when meeting another dog on the street. I suggest starting with some basic obedience training – i.e. sit, stay, down, come, and heel (walk beside you on a leash). On the surface, this may not make any sense considering the problem. But, the goal of obedience training is two-fold — to encourage your dog to always look to you for what to do next and to build your dog’s confidence, which makes for a mentally healthier dog.

When you’re actually walking her, encourage her to heel.. If she gets out too far ahead of you or misbehaves at an approaching dog, turn quickly, and walk in the opposite direction. This surprise maneuver reminds your dog to pay attention to you.


Finally, consider giving her an over-the-counter anxiety supplement prior to the walk. Look for products with ingredients like melatonin, valerian root and L-theanine, which can help calm her mind and make it easier for her to learn.


(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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