Archive for August, 2011

Grooming Your English BulldogEnglish Bulldogs really enjoy being groomed (although some do protest nail trimming), and many especially enjoy taking baths. In fact, if you bathe your English Bulldog in the bathtub, be sure to close your bathroom door tightly when taking your own bath or he may try to share the tub with you.
The English Bulldog has a smooth, short coat and is naturally a reasonably clean dog. Because of this short coat, many people think grooming is not necessary. But even short coats need care.
Grooming your Bulldog should be regular and routine, just as it is for you. Don’t wait until your puppy has grown to get started. Instead, begin when he is young and he will grow up cooperative.

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Feeding English BulldogSome English Bulldog owners like to fill a bowl with dog food and leave it out all day, letting the dog munch at will. Although it may be convenient, it is not a good idea for several reasons. First of all, outdoors the bowl of food may attract birds, squirrels, and ants. Indoors, the food may attract ants, flies, and cockroaches. In addition, the food could become rancid.
When you are housetraining your puppy, free feeding makes it difficult to set up a routine. Your Bulldog puppy will need to relieve herself after eating, and if she munches all day long, you won’t be able to tell when she should go outside.
Last, but certainly not least, psychologically your dog needs to know that you are the giver of the food. How better for her to learn it than when you hand her a bowl twice a day? If the food is always available, you are not the one giving it. It’s always there –  at least as far as your dog is concerned.

How Much?

Each and every English Bulldog needs a different amount of food. When puppies are growing quickly they will need more food. When your English Bulldog is all grown up, if she continues eating that same amount of food, she will get fat. The dog’s individual body metabolism, activity rate, and lifestyle all affect her nutritional needs.
Most dog food manufacturers print a chart on the bag showing how much to feed your dog. It’s important to note that these are suggested guidelines. If your puppy or dog is soft, round, and fat, cut back on the food. If your dog is thin and always hungry, give her more food. A healthy, well-nourished dog will have bright eyes, an alert expression, a shiny coat, supple skin, and energy to work and play.

Meal Times

Most experts recommend that puppies eat two to three times a day. Most adult dogs do very well with two meals, ten or twelve hours apart, so feed your Bulldog after you eat breakfast and then again after you have dinner.
While you are eating, don’t feed your English Bulldog from the table or toss her scraps; it will cause her to beg from anyone at the table –  a very bad habit. Don’t toss her leftovers as you are cooking, either. That can lead to begging and even stealing in the kitchen. Bulldogs are bright enough to figure out how to open cupboard doors and are bold enough to raid the kitchen trash can.

Treats

An occasional dog biscuit or some training treats will not spoil your Bulldog’s appetite, but don’t get in the habit of offering treats just for the pleasure of it.
Many dogs are overweight, and obesity is a leading killer of English Bulldogs. Unfortunately, with their ever-present appetite and their love of comfort, Bulldogs do tend to gain weight easily.
When you do offer treats, offer either treats made specifically for dogs or something that is low in calories and nutritious, like a carrot. Don’t offer candy, cookies, leftover tacos, or anything like that. Your Bulldog doesn’t need sugar, chocolate is deadly for dogs, and spicy foods can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach. Play it safe and give your Bulldog good-quality nutritious snacks very sparingly.
If you are using treats to train your English Bulldog, use good ones – nutritious treats – and cut back on all other treats. Training treats can be tiny pieces of cooked meats such as chicken or beef; just dice the pieces very small. Cheese is also a great training treat. Cut it into tiny pieces, put it in a sandwich bag, and toss it in the freezer. Bring out a few frozen pieces for each training session. (Cheese is easy to handle when frozen, and your dog won’t mind).

Five Mistakes to Avoid
1. Don’t feed your English Bulldog chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, or any highly spiced, greasy, or salty foods. The first five can be toxic, and spicy or junk foods can lead to an upset stomach.
2. Don’t believe all the dog food advertising you see and hear. Keep in mind that advertising has one goal: to get you to buy that product.
3. If you change foods for any reason, don’t do it all at once. Mix the foods so that the dog has 25 percent new food and 75% old food for a week. Then feed half and half for a week. Finally, offer 75% new food and 25% old food for a week. This will decrease the chances of an upset stomach. If your Bulldog develops diarrhea during the switching process, you’re making the change too quickly.
4. Don’t feed your English Bulldog from the table. This will lead to begging and even stealing. Feed her in her own spot after the family has eaten.
5. Raw food diets are very popular, including those that recommend giving the dog raw bones. Be careful giving your English Bulldog any bones except raw beef knucklebones. Adult Bulldogs have powerful jaws and could crack, splinter, and ingest smaller bones with the potential of damage to the gastrointestinal system.

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English Bulldog - Homemade DietsEnglish Bulldog owners who feed homemade diets usually do so because they are concerned about the quality of commercially available foods. Some owners do not want their dogs eating the additives or preservatives that are in many commercial dog foods. Others cook their dog’s food so that they can control exactly what their English Bulldogs eat. Many people began making homemade diets for their dogs during and after the pet food recalls of 2007.

English Bulldog Food vs People Food
Many of the foods we eat are excellent sources of nutrients – after all, we do just fine on them. But dogs, like us, need the right combination of meat and other ingredients for a complete and balanced diet, and a bowl of meat doesn’t provide that. In the wild, dogs eat the fur, skin, bones, and guts of their prey, and even the contents of the stomach.
This doesn’t mean your dog can’t eat what you eat. A little meat, dairy, bread, some fruits, or vegetables as a treat are great. Just remember, we’re talking about the same food you eat, not the gristly, greasy leftovers you would normally toss in the trash. Stay away from sugar, too, and remember that chocolate and alcohol are toxic to English Bulldogs.
If you want to share your food with your Bulldog, be sure the total amount you give her each day doesn’t make up more than 15% of her diet, and that the rest of what you feed her is a top-quality complete and balanced dog food. (More people food could upset the balance of nutrients in the commercial food).
Can your dog eat an entirely homemade diet? Certainly, if you are willing to work at it. Any homemade diet will have to be carefully balanced, with all the right nutrients in just the right amounts. It requires a lot of research to make a proper homemade diet, but it can be done. It’s best to work with a veterinary nutritionist.

There are many resources now available to English Bulldog owners who wish to feed a homemade diet. Just make sure the diet is complete and contains all the nutrients your English Bulldog needs. Keep a line of communication open with your veterinarian so that they can monitor your dog’s continued good health.

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English Bulldog - Commercial Dog FoodsDog food sales in the United States are a huge business with tremendous com-petition among manufacturers. English Bulldog owners should understand that as a big business, the goals of these companies include making a profit. Although adver-tising may show a dog and owner in a warm and fuzzy, heart-tugging moment, the nutrition your dog might get from the food being advertised has nothing to do with that heart-tugging moment. It’s all about getting you to buy the food.

Reading English Bulldog Food Labels
Dog food labels are not always easy to read, but if you know what to look for, they can tell you a lot about what your dog is eating.
– The label should have a statement saying the dog food meets or exceeds the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines. If the dog food doesn’t meet AAFCO guidelines, it can’t be considered complete and balanced, and can cause nutritional deficiencies.
– The guaranteed analysis lists the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat and the maximum percentages of crude fiber and water. AAFCO requires a minimum of 18 percent crude protein for adult dogs and 22% crude protein for puppies on a dry matter basis (that means with the water removed; canned foods will have less protein because they have more water). English Bulldog food must also have a minimum of 5 percent crude fat for adults and 8% crude fat for puppies.
– The ingredients list the most common item in the food first, and so on until you get to the least common item, which is listed last.
– Look for a dog food that lists an animal protein source first, such as chicken or poultry meal, beef or beef by-products, and that has other protein sources listed among the top five ingredients. That’s because a food that lists chicken, wheat, wheat gluten, corn, and wheat fiber as the first five ingredients has more chicken than wheat, but may not have more chicken than all the grain products put together.
– Other ingredients may include a carbohydrate source, fat, vitamins and minerals, preservatives, fiber, and sometimes other additives purported to be healthy.
– Some brands may add artificial colors, sugar, and fillers –  all of which should be avoided.

Read the dog food labels, check out the manufacturers’ Web sites, check the recall lists, and talk to dog food experts, including your veterinarian if they have a background in nutrition.
A good-quality food is necessary for your Bulldog’s health. Dog foods vary in quality, from the very good to the terrible. To make sure you are using a high-quality food, read the labels on the packages. Make sure the food offers the levels of protein, carbohydrates, and fats recommended earlier in this chapter.
Read the list of ingredients, too. If one of the first ingredients listed is by-products, be leery of the food. By-products are the parts of slaughtered animals that are not muscle meat –  lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, fatty tissue, stomach, and intestines. Dog food manufacturers can meet protein requirements by including by-products, but they are inferior forms of protein that do not metabolize as completely in the dog’s body.
English Bulldogs do well on a dog food that uses a muscle meat as the first ingredient. Muscle meats are listed on the label simply as beef, chicken, fish, and so on. Steer away from foods with a lot of soy or soy products, as these are thought to contribute to stomach gas, which can lead to bloat.

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English Bulldog – Nutritional Building Blocks (Part II)Vitamins

Vitamins are vital elements necessary for growth and the maintenance of life. There are two classes of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins include the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins are absorbed by the body during digestion using the water found in the dog’s food. Although it’s usually a good idea to allow the English Bulldog to drink water whenever she’s thirsty, additional water is not needed for digestion of these vitamins, because the water in the dog’s body is sufficient as long as the dog is not dehydrated. Excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted from the body in the urine, so it’s difficult to oversupplement these vitamins – although too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea.
The B vitamins serve a number of functions, including the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. The B vitamins are involved in many biochemical processes, and deficiencies can show up as weight loss, slow growth, dry and flaky skin, or anemia, depending on the specific deficiency. The B vitamins can be obtained from meat and dairy products, beans, and eggs.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and, at the same time, a controversial vitamin. Some respected sources state that it is not a required dietary supplement for dogs, yet others regard C as a miracle vitamin. Some feel it can help prevent hip dysplasia and other potential problems, but these claims have not been proven. Dogs can produce a certain amount of vitamin C in their bodies, but this amount is often not sufficient, especially if the dog is under stress from work, injury, or illness.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins require some fats in the dog’s diet for adequate absorption. Fats are in the meat in your dog’s diet and are added to commercial dog foods. Excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fat. Excess vitamins of this type can cause problems, including toxicity. These vitamins should be added to the diet with care.
Vitamin A deficiencies show up as slow or retarded growth, reproductive failure, and skin and vision problems. Green and yellow vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin A, as are carrots, fish oils, and animal livers. The vegetables should be lightly cooked so that the dog can digest them.
Vitamin D is needed for the correct absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and is necessary for the growth and development of bones and teeth and for muscle strength. Many dogs will produce a certain amount of vitamin D when exposed to sunlight; however, often that is not enough, and supplementation is needed. Balanced dog foods will generally have vitamin D in sufficient quantities.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that also works with several enzymes in the body. It has been shown to be effective in maintaining heart health and the immune system. It is also vital to other bodily systems, including the blood, nerves, muscles, and skin.
Vitamin K is needed for the proper clotting of blood. It is also important for healthy bones. Vitamin K is produced in the intestinal tract, and normally supple-mentation is not needed. However, if the dog is having digestion problems or is on antibiotics, supple-mentation may be required. Vitamin K can be found in dark green vegetables, including kale and spinach. These should be lightly cooked before feeding them to your English Bulldog.

Minerals

Minerals, like vitamins, are necessary for life and physical well-being. Minerals can affect the body in many ways. A deficiency of calcium can lead to rickets, a deficiency of manganese can cause reproductive failure, and a zinc deficiency can lead to growth retardation and skin problems.
Many minerals are tied in with vitamins; in other words, a vitamin deficiency will also result in a mineral deficiency. For example, an adequate amount of vitamin B ensures there is also an adequate amount of cobalt because cobalt, a mineral, is a constituent of B   .
Minerals are normally added to commercial dog foods. If you’re feeding a homemade diet, it can be supplemented with a vitamin and mineral tablet to make sure the dog has sufficient minerals.

Water

It may seem like common sense to say that your English Bulldog will need water, but the importance of water cannot be emphasized enough. Water makes up about 70% of a dog’s weight. Water facilitates the generation of energy, the transportation of nutrients, and the disposal of wastes. Water is in the bloodstream, in the eyes, in the cerebrospinal fluid, and in the gastrointestinal tract. Water is vital to all of the body’s functions in some way. Don’t forget to clean your dog’s water bowl every day.

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English Bulldog - Nutritional Building Blocks (Part I)Nutrition is a constantly ongoing process that starts at conception (with the mother dog’s diet) and ends only with death. Everything that is consumed becomes part of the dog’s daily nutrition, whether it’s good for her or not. In other words, anything your English Bulldog eats and digests (including snails, worms, or the kids’ peanut butter sandwich) can give her some kind of nutrition. However, what the Bulldog eats, the food’s actual digestibility, and how the dog’s body uses that food can all affect the actual nutrition gained by eating.
Although your English Bulldog can eat many things, including a lot of materials that may not be good for her, there are some substances she must eat regularly to keep her healthy. These can be a part of the commercial dog food you feed her, part of a homemade diet, or in the supplements added to her food.

Protein

Proteins are a varied group of biological compounds that affect many different functions in your English Bulldog’s body, including the immune system, cell structure, and growth. As omnivores (dogs eat meat as well as some plant materials), dogs can digest protein from several sources. The most common are meats, grains, dairy products, and legumes. Recommendations vary as to how much of the dog’s diet should be protein, but in general, most nutritionists agree that a diet that contains between 20 and 40 percent quality protein is good for a dog.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, like proteins, have many functions in the dog’s body, including serving as structural components of cells. However, the most important function is as an energy source. Carbohydrates can be obtained from many sources, including tubers (such as potatoes and sweet potatoes), plants (such as greens like broccoli and collard greens), and cereals. However, dogs do not have the necessary digestive enzymes to adequately digest all cereal grains. Therefore, the better sources of carbohydrates are tubers and noncitrus fruits, such as apples and bananas. Most experts recommend that a dog’s diet contain from 20 to 40% carbohydrates of the right kind.

Fat

Fats have many uses in the body. They are the most important way the body stores energy. Fats also make up some of the structural elements of cells and are vital to the absorption of several vitamins. Certain fats are also beneficial in keeping the skin and coat healthy. Fats in dog foods are found primarily in meat and dairy products. Recommended levels are from 10 to 20%.

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Feeding Your English BulldogMost Bulldogs believe everything that is chewable can be eaten. Many English Bulldogs even like fresh fruits, especially oranges and watermelon. I do not recommend that she be given these fruits freely or frequently, but every once in a while, smile, give her a small piece of watermelon and watch her chomp and enjoy. So, the problem of feeding a Bulldog isn’t finding something she will eat, but searching through the myriad brands, formulas, and consistencies to find what is best for her and readily available.
Dog food is a lucrative business. Big sums of money are spent on advertising and developing foods that are palatable and healthy. On the practical side of the coin, the cost of these foods must be reasonable and within the reach of the average consumer.

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English Bulldog Crate TrainingWith a small puppy, it is best to confine him to specific areas until he is completely housetrained. The ideal plan is to have a place where he can be confined in the kitchen or family room –  someplace where he is still part of the family. He can have freedom to roam around for a short time and under constant supervision, right after he has eliminated outside. As he grows and matures, he will be allowed more freedom.
The easiest and most effective way to confine a English Bulldog puppy is to get a metal wire crate (he will chew on plastic or soft sided crates) that’s at least twenty-four inches wide, thirty-six inches long, and twenty-six inches high. Place it where the puppy is to sleep; make sure this area is warm and free of drafts. Confine the puppy except for those times when he’s supervised. Leave the crate door open when the puppy is out so that he can return at will. But bear in mind that a puppy, or an adult dog, cannot be crated all day.

Is a Crate a Canine Jail?

Crates serve many functions. Many people use a crate to housetrain their English Bulldog puppy or adult dog. This is an excellent idea because it enables you to train your pet faster and with less trauma, mental and physical. The crate can also be a safe haven for pets who are destructive while the owner is away. It makes travel with your pet much safer for you and the animal, as well.
Most dogs do not resent a crate, but rather find it to be a safe and secure retreat. Many people who use a crate for housetraining will see their dog lying in the crate with the door open when he is tired and wants someplace quiet to sleep. Other times, when the hustle and bustle of the home is reaching a high point, the dog may voluntarily retire to his crate with a toy to chew on. I believe crates are one of the very best training tools. Don’t feel guilty about using one.

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English Bulldog - Choosing Pet ProfessionalsFinally, before you bring your puppy home, select a few pet professionals to help you care for your English Bulldog. You will need a veterinarian, a dog trainer, and a pet sitter or boarding kennel.
You can find these professionals by asking dog-owning friends about whom they have done business with and whom they recommend. Is there someone they suggest you should avoid? Once you have a few names, call and make an appointment. In most cases, it’s wiser to have an established relationship with a professional before you need their help.

Veterinarian

Your English Bulldog will need a veterinarian to care for his health. Select the veterinarian as you would your own private physician or pediatrician. Ask if they are comfortable treating Bulldogs; not all veterinarians are. The vet should be aware of the health problems faced by Bulldogs and how to treat them.
Ask the veterinarian what their payment policies are and what credit cards they accept. Are they available after hours and on weekends? If not, do they recommend a local emergency clinic? What else is important to you? This is the time to ask.

Puppy-Proofing Your Home
You can prevent much of the destruction puppies can cause and keep your new dog safe by looking at your home and yard from a dog’s point of view. Get down on all fours and look around. Do you see loose electri¬cal wires, cords dangling from the blinds, or chewable shoes on the floor? Your pup will see them too!
In the kitchen:
– Put all knives and other utensils away in drawers.
– Get a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
– Put all household cleaners in cupboards that close securely; consider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
In the bathroom:
– Keep all household cleaners, medicines, vitamins, shampoos, bath products, perfumes, makeup, nail polish remover, and other personal products in cupboards that close securely; consider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
– Get a trash can with a tight-fitting lid.
– Don’t use toilet bowl cleaners that release chemicals into the bowl every time you flush.
– Keep the toilet bowl lid down.
– Throw away potpourri and any solid air fresheners.
In the bedroom:
– Securely put away all potentially dangerous items, including medicines and medicine containers, vitamins and supplements, per¬fumes, and makeup.
– Put all your jewelry, barrettes, and hairpins in secure boxes.
– Pick up all socks, shoes, and other chewables.

Dog Trainer

A dog trainer will teach you how to train your English Bulldog and will help you as you progress with your training. The trainer can also assist you as you socialize your Bulldog and introduce him to the world around him. The trainer will also be available to help you if you encounter any problems along the way.

In the rest of the house:
– Tape up or cover electrical cords; consider childproof covers for unused outlets.
– Knot or tie up any dangling cords from curtains, blinds, and the telephone.
– Securely put away all potentially dangerous items, including medicines and medicine containers, vitamins and supplements, cigarettes, cigars, pipes and pipe tobacco, pens, pencils, felt-tip markers, craft and sewing supplies, and laundry products.
– Put all houseplants out of reach.
– Move breakable items off low tables and shelves.
– Pick up all chewable items, including television and electronics remote controls, cell phones, MP3 players, shoes, socks, slippers and sandals, food, dishes, cups and utensils, toys, books and magazines, and anything else that can be chewed on.
In the garage:
– Store all gardening supplies and pool chemicals out of reach of the dog.
– Store all antifreeze, oil, and other car fluids securely, and clean up any spills by hosing them down for at least ten minutes.
– Put all dangerous substances on high shelves or in cupboards that close securely; consider using childproof latches on the cabinet doors.
– Pick up and put away all tools.
– Sweep the floor for nails and other small, sharp items.
In the yard:
– Put the gardening tools away after each use.
– Make sure the kids put away their toys when they’re finished playing.
– Keep the pool covered or otherwise restrict your pup’s access to it when you’re not there to supervise.
– Secure the cords on backyard lights and other appliances.
– Inspect your fence thoroughly. If there are any gaps or holes in the fence, fix them.
– Make sure you have no toxic plants in the garden.

The trainer you choose needs to like Bulldogs and be aware of their training challenges. You can ask other English Bulldog owners whom they recommend, or ask if your veterinarian knows a good trainer. Once you find a trainer, ask if you can watch a couple of classes. Make sure you will be comfortable in the class and with that person’s training techniques.

Pet Sitter or Boarding Kennel

You will need someone to watch your English Bulldog when you won’t be home. You may need to make a business trip or go on a vacation when your Bulldog can’t go with you. Although many people ask a friend or neighbor to watch their dog, far too many catastrophes have happened in these situations.
A professional pet sitter will come out to your house a couple of times each day to feed, water,  and play with your Bulldog. They can even take him for walks, too. The English Bulldog sitter will also pick up the newspapers and the mail. The positive aspect of this service is that your dog remains in the comfortable surroundings of his home. The negative is that for most of the day and night your dog is alone. What will happen if there is an emergency?
If you decide to use a boarding kennel, your dog will stay at the kennel. He will not be at home, but he will be closely supervised.
Obviously there are pros and cons to both situations. You will need to find out which will work better for you and your dog.

 

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When To Bring Your English Bulldog Puppy HomePick a time when you will be at home for several days. Your English Bulldog puppy needs to get to know you, to become acclimated to his new home, and to get comfortable with his daily schedule of walks, playtime, and perhaps his new food (don’t change food, unless it’s absolutely necessary, for several days, and then change it gradually).

English Bulldog Puppy Essentials
You’ll need to go shopping before you bring your English Bulldog puppy home. There are many, many adorable and tempting items at pet supply stores, but these are the basics.
Food and water dishes. Look for bowls that are wide and low or weighted in the bottom so that they will be harder to tip over. Stainless steel bowls are a good choice because they are easy to clean (plastic never gets completely clean) and almost impossible to break. Avoid bowls that place the food and water side by side in one unit –  it’s too easy for your dog to get his water dirty that way.
Leash. A six-foot leather leash will be easy on your hands and very strong.
Collar. Start with a nylon buckle collar. For a perfect fit, you should be able to insert two fingers between the collar and your pup’s neck. Your English Bulldog will need larger collars as he grows up.
– Crate. Choose a sturdy crate that is easy to clean and large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down in.
Nail cutters. Get a good, sharp pair that are the appropriate size for the nails you will be cutting. Your dog’s breeder or veterinarian can give you some guidance here.
Grooming tools. Different kinds of dogs need different kinds of grooming tools.
Chew toys. Dogs must chew, especially puppies. Make sure you get things that won’t break or crumble off in little bits, which the dog can choke on. Very hard plastic bones are a good choice. Dogs love rawhide bones, too, but pieces of the rawhide can get caught in your dog’s throat, so they should only be allowed when you are there to supervise.
Toys. Watch for sharp edges and unsafe items such as plastic eyes that can be swallowed. Many toys come with squeakers, which dogs can also tear out and swallow. All dogs will eventually destroy their toys; as each toy is torn apart, replace it with a new one.

He needs some free time to explore. He needs to be held and loved. Just imagine yourself in his place: He has no idea where he is and who you are. Your English Bulldog puppy can’t talk, and he can’t really understand what you are saying. Everything is new and different. It takes time, but the time you spend with him now will help him learn to trust you and be a happy, confident animal living a wonderful life.

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