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Ask Dog Lady

Wednesday Aug 12, 2020

This article is from the August 13, 2020 issue of South End News.

Ask Dog Lady

Dear Dog Lady,
I have a 10-month-old female Aussie/Pyrenees mix. Sweet and lovable, she is a rescue. She is also terrified of traveling in a car and I have a nine-hour drive to a new home coming up soon.
I have tried Dramamine, Tylenol, not feeding her, putting her in a large open crate, feeding her in the crate, taking her short distances to the dog park (which she loves), everything. She soils and drools every time. She weighs about 50 pounds. Is there a safe way to sedate for her long drive?

Dear Karen,
Yikes, you've given your dear dog human grade Dramamine and Tylenol? No, no, no.
Please, make an appointment with a real veterinarian and take your sweet puppy. The vet can offer dog medicine to sedate your pup during the long car ride. The vet might also be able to help with techniques for keeping your dog quiet in the crate. At best, you will get advice from a medical professional. Don't prescribe for another species. "Ask Dog Lady" may know her way around dogs but she is not a veterinarian.
Your letter provides a good opportunity to remind readers with dogs to have a regular veterinarian to care for your pet. You simply can't cheap your way out of this necessity. Dogs need regular care.

Dear Dog Lady,
I got a shelter dog, a Shih Tzu. She was estimated to be four or five years old. I love her madly already. She took to my two other dogs, a collie and a Chi-weenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund mix) immediately, but she only initiates interaction with them in the fenced-in backyard. She mostly shies away from me but I know we are making progress because she shows personality and isn't completely passive.
I want to have a consistent approach with her. I don't know whether to stay away from her and let her come to me (if she ever will) or pet and stroke her gently. Right now, I do both. I also pretend to lick her and let her watch me cuddle and love on the other dogs. I have an indoor enclosure for her. I did not want to put her back into a crate. What is your advice? I would appreciate any help.

Dear Mary,
Pretending to lick her sounds a little over the top. Let your other dogs engage in that uniquely doggish behavior for real while you forge a human path. Good to have reliably predictable behavior towards her because, with dogs, consistency is the mother of reinvention.
Allowing your dog to approach you is good. Keep a tasty treat handy to give her when she makes the first move. And don't think unkindly of the crate. A safe place away from the madding crowd could be just what your shy Shih Tzu needs to help her feel secure and right at home in your home.

Dear Dog Lady,
I have two miniature Australian shepherds. They are the gentlest dogs around my wife and son you could ever meet. They are loyal, cuddly, lovable pets. Around strange people or animals, they are vicious. What can I do to fix this if anything? They are two-years-old.

Dear Greg,
What does "vicious" mean? They bite? If so, work with a certified canine trainer to stem or stop this behavior and, please, keep them away from people or animals.
If "vicious" means they nip at peoples' heels and bark, the Aussies' behavior is understandable. These are herding dogs. It will be tough to train the dogs out of this innate behavior with strangers but try your best. By assuming the position as leader of the pack, you train them to modify their herding ways. Exert your authority over each one. Stand tall and don't let them push you around. Reward for good behavior with food treats.