cowering puppyQ: We just adopted (2 days ago) a little dog that cowers at times. We plan to make an appointment, but what to do in the meantime?

A: Congratulations on your new adoption! Hattie is a lucky girl. Cowering can be normal behavior for a little dog and is quite common for dogs that have lived in many homes or been in a shelter. It can also be a sign that she is fearful or maybe has even been over-disciplined in the past. She needs love and support. Move slowly and give her lots of reassurance. Fear can turn into aggressiveness, so be a little cautious. If you see any signs of aggression, get help immediately as you will want to control this before it becomes habit.

From a medical point of view, she should be examined by a veterinarian right away – please do not delay in making your appointment. Most of our long term clients bring new adoptions to us within 48 hours. There is a lot to learn on your first visit and lot for us to learn about Hattie. I hope we will be the lucky ones who get to do her initial exam! Best of luck to you!  -Dr. Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP