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Ask Dog Lady

Thursday Apr 13, 2017

Dear Dog Lady,

My dog is a dachshund/terrier mix. Lula is four-years-old. She has started to gather her stuffed animals in the house and arrange them wherever she lies or wherever my husband is laying or sitting because she is really attached to my husband. She will bring the toys one by one and lay them all around her. Why does she do this?


Dear Alicia,

Dogs are creatures with magical thinking. There is no better way to explain Lula's arrangements. Oh sure, behaviorists might have some explanation centering on "dominance" or
"possession." But, really, how do you explain something so ridiculously wonderful? And why would you want to have a rational answer for your dog's drive to arrange the stuffed animals?

Does she see the toys as her pack? Her puppies? (Naturally, she's fixed, yes?) All dogs have OCD but maybe Lula has a stronger streak.

"Ask Dog Lady" will stop throwing theories against the wall because none of them stick. Just love your Lula for the genius she is.

Dear Dog Lady,

I read this interview with a fashion designer/celebrity who talked about his dog in People magazine. I was disappointed in what he had to say about his dog and visitors to his house. Here's what the celebrity said: "People come to my house and they get bitten and barked at and terrified, and they run away screaming. (My dog) is kind of a monster."

The celebrity continues: "I tend to not be the best disciplinarian in the world. I [shouldn't] say no and yet be laughing hysterically while (the dog) is chewing somebody's Prada sweater. I have to figure out how I can get him to stop barking in a very humane, nice way. I don't know how to do it, frankly, and it's driving me mad."


Dear Claudia,

Actually, this sort of off-the-cuff cutesy complaining about dogs chewing, terrifying people, barking and biting makes Dog Lady sad. Even in celebrity-land, it's so not amusing when a dog chews a Prada sweater or chases guests from the house. You are very right to be disappointed by these reckless remarks.

Dog misbehavior isn't funny when it hurts other people. Dog misbehavior caused by human laziness is sad. It's the reason many dogs are abandoned or wind up in shelters. Nothing to laugh at or joke about.

Dear Dog Lady,

My dog Gigi is a Shih Tzu-poodle mix. She's one-year-old and is the most loving, gentle, playful puppy ever. She is very attached to my fiance, my son and myself. She is very people-friendly. Our only problem is she can't stand other dogs. She refuses even to face them. For example, my niece brought her Yorkshire terrier, Pixie, over the other day. Gigi was so upset that she went into her cage and faced the corner, growling quietly until we put Pixie back into her own carrier. Pixie is ever so sweet. I don't understand why Gigi didn't want to play with her. Do you have a clue?


Dear Janet,

Dogs don't always show hospitality to dogs that trespass on their turf. You should have introduced Gigi and Pixie outdoors on neutral territory, with both dogs on leashes, or in an area where they could run free together.

After a lot of exposure outdoors, your dog might tolerate another one indoors but don't expect miracles -- unless you are prepared to socialize your dog. This means introducing Gigi to canine society on walks and in outdoor areas such as dog parks where she can sniff and be sniffed by other dogs. She needs to develop a healthy regard for her own species.

Dear Dog Lady,

Buffy was a pup when we got her from the Animal Rescue League in Anthony, New Mexico. When we saw her we just fell in love with her. She was so tiny and everyone thought she was a Yorkshire terrier. As it turned out, she's a terrier mix and now weighs about 45 to 50 pounds. When she was a pup, she was very friendly and loved people. She would play and jump and let anyone hold or pet her.

Since we moved back up to New England from Texas, her personality changed. She has become a nipper and growls at visitors to our home. She will let someone hand feed her snacks, but, no one can pet her. Any idea as to why this is happening? We've been back here for nearly eight years now and this behavior has slowly gotten worse. To me, she's being protective. Am I wrong?


Dear Denyce,

Like people, dogs change as they age. Some become grumpy; others grow mellow. Buffy might have a case of the grumpies. Do you walk her daily? You must exercise Buffy because dogs resolve an abundance of issues with vigorous work outs.

If Buffy accepts food hand-outs without nipping, your terrier mix has a hungry heart and a trusting inclination. However, advise potential petters to ignore her.

Visit and read the new blogs, "Shorty Knows" and "Dex and the City."


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