Ask Dog Lady
Dear Dog Lady,
We lost our beloved Cairn terrier to lymphoma. She was with us for 12 years before developing and succumbing to this disease.
After much mourning, we are ready to adopt another dog and have been looking at breed rescue sites for Cairns and West Highland white terriers. These sites report that many of the adoptable dogs are rescued from breeding kennels and may have issues arising from that past.
My questions: What are the dogs subjected to in these places that affects them so much? Do these dogs have difficulty adjusting to a new environment?
Basically, rescued puppies from a so-called puppy mill or breeding kennel have no childhood. They have not been weaned properly so they lack social skills and good habits. Dog Lady receives many letters from people who wonder why their dogs eat feces or dirty their crates. This bad behavior starts often during the early weeks of life when a pup has not been properly trained by its birth mother.
The good news? A new environment can be a boon for these foundlings. Their problems can be overcome with training, loving attention, and responsible care.
Dear Dog Lady,
My gentleman friend owns a female golden retriever. He allows his dog to run free in the woods behind his home twice a day, at least. Since he cannot be beside her every minute, she manages to roll in deer droppings. He bathes her outside in every kind of weather to remove it.
I understand this is primitive dog behavior which I find repulsive. Since I only walk my dog (female mini poodle) on a leash, she is under control at all times. I feel he should only walk his dog on a leash or let her run in non-wooded areas like a vacant baseball field.
Also, we have put these two female dogs together twice (once with a trainer) and it is not a good situation. Both dislike other dogs, meaning they growl at each other. I would like to make the relationship with my gentleman friend permanent, but the dogs hold us back. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Remember the old Ella Fitzgerald standard, Something’s Gotta Give? Even if you don’t recall the tune, take the title to heart. Something’s got to give-you.
Your gentleman friend is merely being a responsible dog keeper to indulge his dog with a healthy run in the woods and a roll in deer scat. Dog Lady knows, on the surface, this is disgusting. Still, nothing could bring greater pleasure to a golden retriever. Dogs love to smear themselves in stinky stuff. Yes, it’s primal and the need to roll is primary. There’s nothing we humans can do to control the canine urge.
You shouldn’t interfere in the relationship between a man and his dog. It’s a different breed of togetherness from your bond with your mini-poodle. And you shouldn’t worry about whether the dogs get along because what is most important is the budding romance between you and your gentleman. The dogs shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying a permanent relationship if it’s meant to be. Don’t try to control what you can’t.
Dear Dog Lady,
When we adopted our now 13-year-old mixed breed pooch, Cindy, she started biting anyone who came to visit. Our veterinarian thought she was trying to protect us because we were her new family. Here is what we decided to do: Train her. Every time she met a new person who came to our house, she had to sit down, lie down, roll over and let the new person scratch her belly. Then the new person gave her a treat. She very quickly stopped her aggressive behavior and did what was expected of her to get the treat. Any variation of this will work because it distracts the pooch from biting and gives her something pleasurable to do when she meets a new person.
What great advice-or your dog, if not for Aunt Mabel. You’re a belly rubber after Dog Lady’s heart. With our dogs, after all, distraction is the mother of reinvention. If you want your pet to do differently, you must offer an alternative course of action-and a reward (ie. treats, glorious treats). Good work and thanks so much for chiming in.
Dear Dog Lady,
I seek information on how to introduce a new puppy to our household with a very spoiled eight- year-old female Brittany spaniel that has been the only dog in the house. The new puppy will also be a Brittany and we are thinking of getting a male. Any help with making the older dog comfortable during the transition is appreciated.
Make sure none of the older dog’s routines are disrupted during the household’s puppy adjustment. Walk her at the same time, feed her as you have been doing, and leave her crate or bed in the same place. Don’t force her to pal around with the puppy but let the two of them work out their relationship. Divide your attentions equally.
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