Peace and Quiet

Animal behaviour: Look, don’t touch!

Touching an animal is a privilege, not a right

On March 27, clocks went forward one hour. The only problem is the ‘body clock’ and how it responds. Animals – dogs, cats, birds – are in their own little time bubble. Just like humans, our pets respond to light and dark for waking, feeding, walking and sleeping. Compromise, a solution? Staggering the change of time for the first couple of weeks. Shifting feeding times by fifteen minutes can help.

By the time the warmer weather arrives, our pets are seeking peace and quiet under a shady porch, or in a cool room. “Getting back home” to feed our pets is always foremost in our minds. Don’t forget the bowl of clean water outside in the shade!

There are many beaches here in the beautiful Algarve permitting dogs to play on the beach without bothering other dogs or people. Some on the lead, some off. Their behaviour, however, is the responsibility of the owner.

It is difficult for dog lovers to not put a hand out to pat a dog or stroke a cat. There are, of course, unwritten rules about approaching and patting animals that are unfamiliar to us. The answer is “Don’t!”

We, as humans, give out signals and smells that dogs or cats will read “differently” to another human. Pheromones … invisible culprits.

Gail Skinner is a well experienced dog behaviourist. Gail recalls her father telling her at an early age that “to touch an animal is a privilege, not a right”.

Gail, who has a passion for animals and is actively involved with them, says: “This is very true. I think that people should be more aware of this. That animals should have a choice of having interaction or not.”

Gail holds body language courses for people who need to interact more favourably with their pets or animals in general. Could waving a hand, or newspaper, be like waving a red rag at a bull? Impromptu messaging to an already confused animal? It just proves, in reality, we should take nothing for granted. In a human, good common sense should prevail. Animals react by instinct.

APAA’s Pop-Up

Pop into APAA’s next infamous ‘Pop-Up’ at O Tasco in Senhora do Verde, Portimão, on Good Friday, April 15, from 12pm to 3pm. It’s Easter weekend! Book lunch direct: 282 471769. There’s bound to be something for an Easter gift and is a great place to meet people.

Charity Shops

  • Alvor: Dunas Complex, Monday-Saturday 10.30am-2pm
  • Silves: Rua Garcia Elias 20, Monday-Saturday 10am-2pm

For more information about the Association for Protection of Animals Algarve (APAA), email [email protected] or visit – check us out on Facebook!

Gail Skinner can be contacted at email [email protected]