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Your Questions: My dachshund doesn't like my housekeeper.

I have noticed something strange about my dachshund. I don't think he likes my housekeeper. He seems to be frightened of her, and I don't know why.

Jane, London

I can understand your worry, as dogs are so much part of the family. Since your housekeeper is part of your daily routine, it is imperative that you work out why your pooch has taken a dislike to her. I've worked with many dogs over the years and a few of those have been dachshunds. One thing I have noticed with the breed is that they can take a while to warm to people, and also can be very suspicious of strangers.

First we need to know why your dog is frightened of your housekeeper: there are a number of possible reasons, so don't panic. The nature of her job may be at the root of your dog's fear; vacuum cleaners and mops are frightening, especially to smaller breeds. Maybe she is not aware of this, and while she is cleaning she may have startled him by using appliances too close to him. Test this. Bring him into a room with you, start vacuuming and see what his reaction is. If he runs away, you know he is frightened of the vacuum cleaner, not of her. Dogs can be worried about people by association, as is often the case with vets. Alternatively, your housekeeper may have stepped on him or dropped something on him by accident, and neglected to tell you, so do ask her. Or it may be that he does not like being moved out of his bed when she is cleaning; if you were to do this instead of her, it would break the bad association. Finally, get her to do some nice things with him, like feeding him, taking him for a walk or even playing with him. You need to try to build up a relationship between them. Remember that some dogs just don't like some people for no reason.

If you still have concerns, you could consider putting in a hidden camera to make sure that your housekeeper is not doing anything untoward to your dog. I'm not suggesting that she is, but it would put your mind at rest.

Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended