Pet School: Reena Answers Your Questions
10th December 2012
Read on to find out tips on training your dog to stop barking, how to safely pick up a cat and Reena's advice on becoming a vet.
Reena: Hi everyone! This is Reena, your pets-pert. Hope you enjoyed the show. I'm looking forward to seeing your questions.
How long does it take to train a dog and are snakes really scary? (Because people say they are).
Renna: Training a dog takes as long as a dog wants it took take. It depends what kind of a dog it is. You can't put a definite time on it.
Snakes aren't scary. They've very relaxed and not very active. They're definitely more scared of people than we are of them.
Can you keep koalas as pets and how much are Yorkshire Terriers?
Reena: No, you can't keep koalas as pets. They're wild animals. The cost of a Yorkshire Terrier depends on the breeder or the charity you're getting it from.
What is your favourite animal at Pet School? Mine are the ferrets.
Reena: It's hard to pick a favourite. They all have individual characters so there are things I like about all of them. The ferrets are nice but they are very sleepy.
I have a dog called Indie and she's really cute. But how do I stop her from barking?
Reena: When she's barking when you don't want her to you need to train her out of that behaviour and that could take a while. You need to reward her for being quiet. So if someone comes to the door and she doesn't bark, reward her for that. But it will take a long time. If you tell her off for barking, that probably won't help because it rewards her with attention for barking.
Is it essential cats have their teeth brushed?
Renna: Yes, it will help prevent dental disease. About 80% of cats over the age of 3 have some level of dental disease. They don't like having their teeth brushed though!
What dog breed is your favourite and why? Do you have one?
CarnelianFootballCroc and BlueCrazyDragon
Reena: I love all types of dogs in all shapes and sizes but I particularly like big dogs. You'll see my dog, a mastiff, feature in one of the later Pet School shows.
I have a syrian hamster called Peanut and have tried to handle him but he always wriggles out or he bites through the gloves I wear to handle him. I have read loads of books and have searched the internet. Have you any tips to help me?
Renna: Being patient and handling at a time when he's awake. Don't disturb him if he's sleeping. Hold him close to the floor in case he falls. Put your hand near the cage before you pick him up so he gets used to it. Patience is the most important thing.
What's the most bizarre pet you've ever kept?
Renna: I've got a cat and a dog so they're not very bizarre. I've looked after a frog!
How do you train a cat to go to their basket?
Reena: Leaving the basket out where the cat normally eats and sleep is a a good idea, so he gets used to it. Leave a bit of food in the basket so he's happy to go in. Leave him in the basket for a bit before you put it in the car or anywhere else. If the cat's really scared get one that opens at the top so you can put them in from the top.
Where I can get a Bearded Dragon from?
Reena: You can get them from specialist pet shops that sell tropical species. You would need to do lots of research before getting one because they're difficult to keep. They need specialist equipment.
I have I cat which I love but I would like to know the safest way to pick her up. Can you help me out?
Reena: Hold her just with one hand under the chest and one hand under the belly or the bum. And hold her very close to your chest with your body supporting her weight. They're less likely to struggle if they feel secure.
Do you have to walk your dog every day? I have just got one and don't know whether you do.
Reena: Yeah, dogs definitely need to be walked at least once a day. It's probably best to do it twice a day.
Can you keep a butterfly as a pet?
Reena: I don't think so. You can go and visit butterflies in butterfly sancturies. They wouldn't make good pets because they're wild animals so they're better left in the wild.
I'm 13 so I've just started to think about getting a job. I love animals and I have 8 pets - 4 of them I pay for and look after with no help. I really want to work in an animal rescue centre. How would I get a job in a place like that?
Reena: Just approach all the centres and see if they have jobs available. Make contact with as many different centres as possible. Explain to them you've cared for many animals yourself.
I really love pets and I want to be a vet when I'm older but neither of my parents will let me have a pet. Do you have any tips?
Reena: You don't have to have a pet to get into vet school. I never had a pet until after I became a vet. Make sure you get loads of work experience at local veterinary practices. Get all-round good grades to help you get into vet school.
What do you enjoy best about being on Pet School?
Reena: I enjoy a couple of things. Watching the kids grow in confidence and learn new skills. And I really enjoying being around all the animals.
I have a pet rabbit and I just want to know one question! How do you know if your rabbit is sad or happy?
Reena: It's really difficult with rabbits because they're prey animals so they hide their emotions. Watching closely will help you understand the bunny. A happy bunny will eat well and interact with people. If you know its normal behaviour then you'll be able to notice if that changes.
My dog is always licking me. How do I stop her because I'm always covered in slimy stuff!
Reena: That's a difficult one. Licking is the dog's way of showing affection and communicating. Any time she goes to lick, move your hand or your body away. You can tell it 'no' in a stern voice. Reinforce good behaviour, with a treat, when she doesn't lick.
What animal do you find the most fascinating and why?
Reena: They all have different characters that are really fascinating. Cats are fascinating because they're really hard to read so it's interesting to watch them and see how they react. Any wild animal is fascinating to watch in their natural environment.
I have a long haired guinea pig and was wondering if you had any tips on keeping his hair tidy, clean, de-tangled and healthy?
Reena: Brush it every day to keep it detangled. You can very carefully trim long hair but you have to be carefully because the skin's quite delicate. You can use baby wipes to keep his ears and feet clean.
Are dogs allowed chocolate and if not why are they not allowed it?
Reena: They're definitely not allowed it because there's a component in chocolate that's poisonous to dogs.
How old was you when you started working with animals? And why did you want to work with them?
Reena: I was 18 when I first started working with animals. I had always wanted to do it when I was little. I'd always been interested in animal welfare and in caring for animals.
I have a 6 year old fish, any tips on how to care for it as they are not part of Pet School?
Reena: The most important thing about looking after fish is keeping the tank nice and clean. Check the water quality and provide the right food.
How can you persuade your parents to get a dog? Mine say they're hard work.
GingerAgileLion, AmaranthVanillaPuppy, AmberDancingLadybird and BlueCrispyHobbit
Reena: This is what the kids on Pet School are doing - You need to show your parents you can be responsible for looking after an animal. If you can show your parents that, hopefully they'll let you have a pet.
Reena: Thank you for all the very interesting questions. I hope you continue to enjoy the show. I'm sorry if I didn't get the chance to answer your question!