Dissing Your Dog: Will Ferrell Is Feral
Classic “Saturday Night Live” sketch about training your dog with sarcasm.
Dear Dog Lady,
My partner recently moved in with me. My S**-Zu, Chloe, who has been with me for about two years, loves him. We recently added a Rottweiler, Boscoe, to our home. The dogs get along well, especially Boscoe who is quiet, patient and tolerant, Chloe goes her way and he goes his.
The problem comes when Boscoe plays with his toys, runs outside or gets excited, especially when my partner comes home, Chloe goes crazy barking. Very loud, shrieking (while her tail is wagging) and continuous. Until Boscoe came along, no one knew I even had a dog. This barking behavior is unsettling and upsetting. Why is this happening? What can we do to get her to stop this irritating behavior?
A: Don’t mind Dog Lady if she vents a little: When you are the keeper of a dog, it is important to know how to spell the breed name correctly. Your dog is a Shih (S-H-I-H) Tzu (T-Z-U), a breed originating in China. Understand? OK, phew….
Why does your dog bark like crazy when excited by your partner and the Rottweiler Boscoe? Umm, maybe because she’s a dog.
Shih Tzus resemble adorable stuffed animals but they are real dogs — full-fledged barkers with all the instincts of a used-to-be-wolf. When your dog lived alone with you, she probably had no cause to get all roiled up. Now she’s part of a pack and reacts to the stimuli very appropriately. You know her barks are excited and happy because her tail wags. If her eruptions annoy you, cordon her off from the crowd. Or distract her and train her to hold her tongue by rewarding for silence.
More chewing over the whys and wherefores of woofers on “The Callie Crossley Show” on NPR’s WGBH FM.
Dear Dog Lady,
I adopted Griselda, a nine pound female spayed rat terrier mix, from the SPCA about one month ago. She’s two or three years old. I leave her home with Gus, my five-year-old male rat terrier, for about nine hours a day from Monday to Friday. The little female is left in a crate and, on most days, she messes in the crate while I am gone. She has also had two to three accidents outside of the crate and those were my fault for not keeping closer tabs on her. There have also been two or three times when the crate was clean at the end of the day. She does not mess anything during the night. Am I expecting too much too soon from her?
A: Yes, you’re expecting too much and you’re not giving Griselda a chance to be successful. By keeping her in the crate for nine hours at a stretch without a break, you assume your rat terrier has a bionic bladder and bowels. You give her little choice but to soil her new digs.
For dogs, crate training is a college education. And we can assume she’s still working her way through kindergarten. You should hire someone responsible and trustworthy who can come in and take your dogs out during the day. The break will do them a world of good. In the meantime, read up about crate training.
When the young family of Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, went on vacation to Canada, they traveled from Massachusetts by station wagon, strapping their pet, an Irish setter named Seamus, to the roof of the car during the journey. Sitting up there in a zooming cage, Seamus was literally scared ***less. Indeed, the rain of diarrhea cascading from the roof caused the Romneys to pull over and wash the car. Don’t believe Dog Lady? Read about it in Boston Globe, which broke the story. Columnist Gail Collins frequently mentions Seamus in her New York Times pieces about Romney.
Dog Lady’s aunt Jane also contributes a far more humane Irish setter story (below) she wrote for her retirement community’s quarterly — about the time Dog Lady’s uncle saved their setter from being strapped in the cargo hold of a DC-3.
Dogs in the Air
Recently there have been a number of news stories dealing with airline travel for pets. A few major airlines have forbidden transportation for some dog breeds (e.g. pugs and bulldogs) because of the physical conformation of their pushed-in noses. This condition apparently causes breathing difficulties when airborne. As a result, some of these particular breeds have died on route. In response to this situation, several small airlines have developed whose sole purpose is to carry pets with special needs. The cost? Considerable. One story reported on a dog whose owner paid $800 for a one-way ticket to send it from New York to California.
All of these reports pertaining to long distance pet travel (including a news story which does not die and which involves an Irish Setter who traveled from Boston to Canada on top of the owners’ car) brought back memories of 1961 when my husband, three year-old daughter and I, along with our Irish Setter, Kim by name, were planning an 8000 mile trip from New York to Tanganyika, East Africa. We would be living there for the next two years. The most convenient plan involved flying from New York to London with an overnight stay there for business reasons. Then on to Nairobi and thence to Dar es Salaam.
However, a complication arose with the route for the dog. If we flew with her to London, British regulations required that all animals brought into the country would be quarantined for a three month period. From our point of view, and hers, that simply could not be done. So instead we made arrangements for Kim to go on a flight from New York to Rome and then on to Dar where we fully expected to all meet up.
Our veterinarian had advised tying a can of dog food and a can opener to the wire crate in which she would be traveling – along with a tranquilizer in an envelope providing instructions for its administration. Yes, we provided a plastic bowl for water. And hoped for the best. As it turned out, the can of dog food was never opened and the tranquilizer never administered. But the plastic bowl was gone.
After what seemed like a lifetime on planes, we finally did get to Nairobi and subsequently found ourselves waiting on the airport tarmac some distance from the DC-3 which would take us to Dar. To our surprise and to our horror, we recognized the crate carrying Kim sitting next to our plane. She was waiting to be loaded with the rest of the baggage. Baggage compartments of DC-3s were not pressurized nor were they heated – making for an almost certain death trap for an animal – even on a comparatively short trip.
My husband didn’t hesitate; he ran as fast as he could across the tarmac area to tell the baggage people that they mustn’t put the Irish Setter in that baggage compartment. Their response was that they had no choice. “Well, how about the passenger section of the plane?” “Not possible,” they rejoined. And why? They were already carrying two lion cubs in the passenger section.
From a distance I could see by the arm waving and other body language that a rather heated discussion was under way. But then it was over. My husband returned saying, “They agreed to put her in the passenger section. Lion cubs up front near the pilot. Irish Setter back near the tail.” People in between.
When we finally reached Dar, two hours later, and the plane was unloaded, we found that all occupants of the passenger section had come through unscathed – regardless of their seat assignments. Lions and dog were apparently oblivious of each other, but people passengers had been somewhat nervous.
Dear Dog Lady,
Recently I was browsing a dog magazine. Most of the articles were interesting but one stinker turned me off. “How to Get Your Dog Into A Halloween Costume” seemed like the stupidest excuse to fill space. What’s your stand on Halloween costumes for dogs?
A: Dog Lady’s stand is on shaky ground when it comes to Halloween costumes for dogs. Why do people torment the dear beasts by forcing them to wear silly garments? And why would a magazine dedicated to canines even write about this? Probably because dog costumes make a lot of money in a pet industry estimated to generate $50.84 billion in 2011, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association, a trade group.
Dog Lady has been around enough dogs to sense they’re miserable in clothes. Woofers of all sizes are nudists by nature and want to wear their birthday suits on Halloween. Actually, if a dog must wear anything on the ghouls’ holiday, neckwear – a cute scarf, a bowtie, a flashing ruff of orange and black — will do the trick nicely since domesticated dogs are already accustomed to neck restriction from their everyday collars.
Dog Lady doesn’t want to be a killjoy but with all the doorbell chiming, kids shrieking, pumpkins glowing, candy chewing, eggs flying, mischief making, your dog will be much calmer and safer sleeping through Halloween.
That being said — phew! — Dog Lady is only human and the sight of dogs in crazy costumes can make her go gooey with chuckles. She just doesn’t want to be the one dressing them.
The United States Post Office is going out of business. Dog Lady hopes not. A letter in the mail still holds magic, and the stamp still intrigues. Except the Liberty Bell “forever” stamp, which is ugly and boring. Now, there is a new “forever” — the Owney postal dog stamp. Maybe Owney can save the USPS.
Owney was an Irish terrier mix who rode mail trains in the late 19th Century. The legend of Owney is colorful. He belonged to a postal clerk in Albany, New York but, really, Owney is owned by everyone who believes a postal dog could ride the rails. When the dog became old and cranky, he supposedly met a bad end. A taxidermist worked to preserve him for the ages and a stuffed Owney now resides in the Smithsonian’s Postal Museum.
The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts is a revelation to Dog Lady. Not only is the museum situated in a beautiful glade with astounding views of the Berkshire Mountains but the showcased artwork — painted by the prolific Rockwell, an illustrator and portraitist of the 20th Century — evokes times gone by and times of our lives. A featured exhibit, “It’s A Dog’s Life: Norman Rockwell Paints Man’s Best Friend,” is lovely to look at because the dogs are just there, woven in to the pictures, not calling out for attention — the way dogs do.
It’s just dawned on me!!
My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day.
He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants.
His meals are provided at no cost to him.
He visits the Dr. once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical
For this he pays nothing and nothing is required of him.
He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is
not required to do any upkeep.
If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.
He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep.
He receives these accommodations absolutely free.
He is living like a King, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever.
All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day.
I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick …
I think my dog is a member of Congress!