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Ask Dog Lady

Thursday May 11, 2017

Ask Dog Lady

Advice on Pets, Life, Love

Dear Dog Lady,

We adopted Lola, a 43-pound a mixed breed (the shelter said Labrador retriever/sharpei; our veterinarian thinks Rhodesian ridgeback/pit bull) at the animal shelter when she was 10 weeks old. She is now going on nine months. She is a total love bug 99-percent of the time. Only recently, has she started to show food aggression and aggression at night.

At night, if she is sitting on the sofa or bed and someone sits next to her to pet her or remove her, she shows her teeth and growls. It makes me sad because this used to be such a nice way to end the evening with her snuggles and now it seems as though she wants to be left alone. I think I understand she is tired and just wants to be left alone. (I guess this is more about me and my disappointment). I also have two children. They have many friends who visit our home for play dates. I want to make sure she does not bite any of the children.

Dear Jennifer,

You are being a very responsible dog owner to ask this question. Ask Dog Lady wishes she had a ready answer for you. However, for any serious questions about aggressive dog behavior, Dog Lady doesn't play around. She always defers to those professionals who are true experts in the field.

You have raised Lola since she was a puppy. There is hope you can understand and conquer her new, more aggressive posturing and behavior. To do so, however, you need the help of a veterinarian/behaviorist who can examine your dog and explain to you why the animal reacts the way she does. This doctor might also suggest strategies for training.

Ask Dog Lady advises you to make an appointment for you and your dog at Tufts' Foster Hospital for Small Animals in North Grafton. (Your vet can also refer you). Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil (cq), is a veterinarian and animal behaviorist on staff there. Also, you can seek out experts at Angell Animal Medical Center or the Animal Rescue League of Boston. You want to see a veterinarian/behaviorist.

Dear Dog Lady,

My dog, Milkyway is a terrier/beagle mix. He sniffs out everything and not only chews but swallows things. Paper, tree sticks, grandkids' small toys, anything he can. I watch him constantly. He is a year old. Is he bored? He has chew toys and bones but still does this. Help!


Dear Joann,

There is no magic answer to this except you owe more to your dog. You've got to keep Milkyway better-contained in a crate, a room, or behind a gate. You can't let him roam and eat whatever he wants because he will.

He's bored and needs better from you. Walk him more. Keep him on a leash in the house and don't let him wander away. If you can't watch him every minute, put him in a safe place where he can hang out, such as a crate or a cordoned-off room. Training a young dog not to chew is like asking the sun not to shine. Training a dog to chew appropriately is entirely up to you. Go to the pet store and buy Kongs (indestructible conically-shaped rubber dog toys). Stuff these with peanut butter, and give the mélange to Milkway. The chomp toys will keep him occupied.

Your pet is a dependent creature. He is smart but Milkyway needs you to help him learn right from wrong.

Dear Dog Lady,

I am a dog lover. But I'm not sure how I feel about communicating with them or other animals. A person we know just hired an animal psychic to talk to a cat who is terrorizing the neighbor lady. The cat told her he does it for fun. The psychic told the cat he cannot go over to the neighbor's house anymore. This psychic was also hired to talk to a horse with an issue. The second time she came, the horse refused to talk to her.

My question: Is someone here {the psychic or the client} smoking something? Or am I just not open-minded?


Dear Raymond,

We must assume animal psychics have good intentions in their mysterious ways to make a living. But do they really talk to the animals better than you do -- or Dog Lady who fancies herself something of a mutt mentalist? Once, when an animal psychic gave a complimentary reading of Dog Lady's dog, the spiritualist came back with a pronouncement, "He says he likes chicken." Hmm. Was chicken lickin' the full extent of a total dog brain dump?

The cheeky cat and the taciturn horse could very well have been communicating with the psychic. The people who pay for the services of the self-proclaimed telepathic are the ones who decide if the messages are the medium.

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