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.
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.
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.
Dear Dog Lady,
I have a question about my Westie (West Highland white terrier) pup (she’s actually four): She puts her nose in her food bowl then lifts it out and rotates around the bowl and does it again and again. We thought it might be because the metal loop on her collar was tapping against the food bowl and making a loud noise. We took her collar off and she still does it. I am really confused about why Paisley is doing this. I have never heard or seen it before. What would be this cause?
Also, Paisley sleeps upside down (with her belly up and her feet in the air). I know this is something simple but I don’t know if this position is good for her. Reagan
A: Westies are the most seriously comic characters on earth. Why they do what they do has caused terrier scholars to scratch their heads for eons. Why does Paisley play ring-around-the-rosie with the food bowl? Hmm. Your guess is as good as Dog Lady’s. Great idea to think the collar jangle might cause this. Another suggestion? The bowl is too big. You might try a small ceramic food holder. Also, do not over feed Paisley so she has no time to play with her food. Certainly, ask your veterinarian but one quarter of a cup of kibble with a spoonful of wet meat on top is usually fine served in the morning and in the evening. You want Paisley sassy and svelte to drive you happily loopy for years to come. As for sleeping belly up (see pic of Paisley above), this is a normal snooze position and an invitation to rub a pink tummy. How can you resist?