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Ask Dog Lady

Thursday Sep 24, 2020

This article is from the September 24, 2020 issue of South End News.

Ask Dog Lady

Dear Dog Lady,
We have given a forever home to a ten-year-old female pug who joined us in March from a local rescue group for senior dogs. She is adorable and friendly with all humans, including young children. Other dogs are a different issue. When she sees other dogs in the neighborhood, she becomes very agitated, starts darting around and barks aggressively. If she wasn't controlled by her leash, she would attack (and has once when we didn't have control of the leash). Usually we pick her up and cradle her to calm her down, but her behavior limits us in terms of where we can board her if/when we go away. We would love to get her to be more comfortable around other dogs. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Bernie,
The worst you can do is to pick her up and cradle her. She's not a baby; she's an elderly dog in a new home who's feeling her way around. Let her stand on her own four feet and work it out with her peers. Ask a nice neighbor with a dog if you can take morning walks together. Your pug may have a moment of discomfort. After she gets used to the idea the other dog isn't going anywhere, she should calm down for a nice, friendly, relaxed ramble. Two dogs, both on leashes, walking, sniffing, facing the world together should be calming for all involved.

Dear Dog Lady,
We have been gone for three weeks on vacation and I sorted my laundry on the floor like I have done thousands of times before. We have a 9-year-old poodle mix, Daisy May, that we rescued. Today she has chewed three pairs of my underwear. She has never done this before. What's up with that?

Dear Debi,
Did you take Daisy May away on vacation with you or did she stay behind? Was she left at a kennel? A cageless boarding place? Or at home? All of that matters in how she adjusted to your absence and what residue of bad feeling might have been left behind.
Actually, Daisy May probably did not chew your underwear to punish you. Dogs are not vengeful the way people are. But lingering feelings of insecurity may have caused her to do it. Or not. Maybe the only way to explain this is you left the underwear out in full, tempting available view of the dog. She may have had no choice.
Keep your things away from her. She's not a robot. Daisy May will inevitably be tempted to sniff and/or chew on your things if she's done it before. Help her become successful in conquering this bad habit by keeping your dog away from temptation.

Dear Dog Lady,
My sister wrote me this about her dog who recently died. She had him for 17 years: "He was my constant little companion for so many years, just being happy to sit next me, following me from room to room. Then he would wait until I settled into one room and would come there and sit in one of the many doggie beds I had around the house. Eventually, he would just fall asleep in his bed in whatever room I was in, content to be near me. I would hear him snoring quietly behind me, a comforting presence. I have never before felt such undying devotion from any living thing, big or small, and I fear I never will again.
"For all of my dear friends who have a loving canine companion, give him or her extra caresses, treats, or walks today in remembrance of Biscuit (my sister's dog). These animals give us so much and ask so little in return. I really loved that little guy and will miss him forever."

Dear Paul,
Your sister sums it up. Dog Lady tearfully agrees. Give a biscuit in memory of Biscuit. And thank you.