Ask the vet: battle of the sexes

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

Got a curly problem with your favourite pooch? Is your cat being too catty?

While animals can bring much joy into our lives, they are not always problem free. If there is an animal issue that you need help to solve, send your question to via RACQ to the Animal Welfare League Queensland experts, to find the answer.

Battle of the sexes

I have a 14-year-old male Maltese Shih Tzu (not desexed) who repetitively licks a bean bag, cries and whines for at least 10 minutes most nights. It is usually while am on my indoor exercise bike and my female 14-year-old Maltese Shih Tzu X Terrier is asleep in her bean bag.

His paws sometimes have a brownish tinge, but when he licks them he rarely cries. I’m curious to know why he licks his bean bag and cries.

My male dog also gets annoyed with my partner (who does not live with us) when he tries to hug him, responding with warning growls. The male dog is not very affectionate but my female is, but I try to love them both equally.

The female is blind and my male, I think, is going blind, so I appreciate both are anxious. She needs a lot of help around the house due to her blindness. I think this makes my male dog jealous and he growls a lot when she gets near me.

The female is very nervous of the male. He has attacked her quite badly, unprovoked and sometimes without a warning growl. He tries to steal her toys which provokes her, however they walk well together.

Now sometimes my dogs fight over food or me, which I am working on.

Any advice on the jealousy and fighting would also help.

AWLQ Experts say

As always, our first recommendation is to take your dog to the vet for a thorough examination, as his paw licking and the ‘brownish tinge’ you describe sounds like allergies of some sort. This could be related to skin, food or grass.

In response to your male dog growling at your partner when he hugs him, this is perfectly normal. Dogs do not like hugs, especially when we enclose them in our arms. Their next step is to bite! Please ask your partner to stop immediately, for his safety and that of the dog.

Your male dog is showing classic signs of resource guarding, yourself, toys and food. For more help on this and his aggressive tendencies check these links on dog aggression and behaviour modification for more detailed assistance.

What’s your question?

Send your pet questions to and Animal Welfare League Queensland‘s experts will provide the answers. Letters will not receive an individual reply and should be no more than 120 words.

AWLQ work with local councils, state government, rescue groups and the community to improve the outcomes for stray and surrendered pets.