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Ask Dog Lady

Friday Nov 6, 2020

This article is from the November 5, 2020 issue of South End News.

Ask Dog Lady

Dear Dog Lady,
I adopted a toy poodle last year from an owner who decided to move back to Hong Kong and not take the dog. He is currently seven-years-old and isn't neutered. I know that all dogs should be neutered to prevent overpopulation and unwanted behavior, but due to his age, is the procedure still suitable for him?
Dear Alexandra,
Oh yes, neutering a male dog of any age is the responsible thing to do. Recently, Dog Lady ran into a veterinarian she knows while out walking her dog. He was walking his unfixed dog. Dog Lady was a mite shocked by this display since spaying and neutering dogs is so important for their health and welfare — at any age and stage. You're doing the right thing for the toy poodle — both neutering him and providing a new home.

Dear Dog Lady,
My dog Buddy is a great dog and very friendly. When he jumps up on people, I can understand that but I can't understand why Buddy pees on his own leg while lying in the hallway as we wait for the elevator. He would rather be punished than wait a few seconds more to make it outside. Maybe he can't control it, but he rarely pees in the apartment. What gives?


Dear Peter,
Your first mistake is to claim you understand Buddy's jumping up on people. Do the people utter an expletive as the dog pounces on them? Buddy needs training. In Dog Lady's rule book, jumping on innocent passersby is a much worse dog offense than peeing in the hallway.
How do you discipline your dog? You shouldn't be punishing; you should be rewarding for good behavior. If Buddy doesn't jump, give him a high-test treat. If Buddy makes it all the way outside without peeing in the hallway, praise him lavishly and slip him a yummy. Dogs understand positive feedback better than negative yelling. Also, they learn with repetition. Do the same thing over and over.
Be good to your dog; don't expect an Einstein at first.

Dear Dog Lady,
I thought of your column over the weekend when, while on my exercise walk around my neighborhood, I saw (very gross) evidence that someone is penning their dog on their outdoor porch every day, letting the dog poop there and then not cleaning it up! I feel so bad for that dog — and what a way to teach it bad manners! The owner is probably complaining that the dog does its business in the house. What do they expect?! Please keep educating the public!
Dear Alexandra,
Amen, sister. Your note should remind all of us that being good to a dog is allowing the animal to live with kindness, civility and grace. Dog Lady could barely read this but knows that the humans who live here are probably suffering far worse than the dog.
People, it's OK not to have a dog. Really. Not everybody must have one or two or however many. You choose to have a dog when you can handle the creature. Bringing a dog into an unsafe environment without training, daily outings, healthy food, clean water, a soft place to sleep and regular veterinarian visits is just not fair, responsible and humane. This letter reminds us of the sad situation when the humans fail an animal.