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Your Very First Puppy - Home Tips & Training

So you're all settled in at home with the puppy; that's when the real fun begins.

In this episode, Dr Chris Brown explores the different behaviours that your new puppy might start showing. One of the major challenges you will have with your puppy is doing the toilet inside. One great piece of advice is putting dirt and grass on your puppy's inside indoor toilet box. They associate the smells with going to the toilet, and will eventually start only using the box. After a while you won't need to put the dirt and grass in there.

Socialisation is also very important, so once they are able to, it is a good idea to get them outside to encounter different people, animals (particularly other dogs) and situations. Make sure you do this after 13 weeks. Socialising at home is also really important, some tips include:

- Feed your pets separately to avoid competition at dinner time
- Give them their own space to live and sleep
- Ensure cats have space higher up (e.g. raised surfaces), as they will feel a lot more comfortable with a new dog around

Don't worry if there are little squabbles with the cat at the start, that's what breeds familiarity with your pets. Just try to keep it playful.

Looking out for poisonous plants in your outdoor areas is also vital. There are plenty of innocent looking plants that can cause serious for your puppy. There are over 80 plants that are poisonous to your pets, including:

1. Brunfelsia (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow)
2. Tulips (bulb plants)
3. Cycads (Sago Palm)
4. Vitis (Grape Vine)
5. Nerium Oleander

Getting your puppy training on a reputable course is also great idea - ask your friends for some recommendations. You can enrole them in puppy school from about 12 weeks old. The average cost for 4 x 1 hour classes is about $150.

Cockatiel plucking her feathers

Hi! I hope you can help me with my cockatiel, I write from Spain and here they aren't that common so vets don't know much about treating them. I have a 5 years old female cockatiel and she is very affectionate, 2 years ago I had to spend a couple of months at a hospital and my parents during that time were either working or visiting me, so she felt lonely and started plucking her feathers. Even after I went back home she continued with this behaviour and hasn't stopped. I took her to different vets, they told me to give her small amounts of a syrup that was meant for calming itching and an antibiotic in case it was something producing an itching, but neither worked. I also tried a spray called "Pluck-no-more" with the same results. In case she was lonely we got her a mate, but it may be also female since they don't pay attention to each other at all. She rubs her cloaca on the perch often but the other tiel ignores it (the pet shop said it was male but they said the same with her and then she laid an egg...). The layer that covers the feather while growing (not sure of the name in English) doesn't grow normally, looks more like bland plastic than a hard cover like the ones on my other birds pin feathers (besides her, I have another cockatiel and a lovebird). Is as if the feathers on the plucking areas aren't growing correctly. The areas she plucks are under the wings, the part where wings join the body, and the body area that is covered by the wings while resting. While plucking she lets out small cries. The fluff covers these areas so by just looking at her isn't easy to tell, unless you watch her while preening. I let her play outside of the cage very often, but lately she can't fly well and I think it may be caused by the loss of these feathers. As I said, vets in this area are more specialized in cats and dogs and know little about parrots, so I hope you can advise me since these birds are native to Australia. Is there some kind of balm or spray I can apply on her skin to soothe it? Some medicine I can ask my local vet to use? I love her and it hurts seeing her in pain everytime she preens. Any advice would be much appreciated. Greetings from Spain!