Columnists :: Dog Lady
Dogs in totes? NO!
Thursday Apr 19, 2012
Dear Dog Lady,
Are there certain breeds of small dogs that like to be carried, in totes or arms, more than others? Or is it a bad idea to carry dogs around with you?
There are rules governing the all-breed and mutt dog universe according to Ask Dog Lady: Don’t dress your dog in clothes just for fun. Don’t carry your dog if the beast can walk. These are just two of the regulations. Oh sure, there are fancy doggy tote bags and lots of paparazzi pictures of Hollywood types carrying purse puppies on the red carpet. But, truly, even the tiniest Chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers are tres miserable being carried around, especially when they can blow off steam under their own steam.
If Dog Lady has any doubts about this, she thinks of the obvious: Dogs are animals. They are not American Girls or Barbie Dolls or Muppets. They are living, breathing creatures whose needs must be treated with respect. They need to walk, drink, eat and eliminate to live. Responsible dog owners accord them these privileges and don’t stuff them into pockets or pocketbooks.
Dear Dog Lady,
We adopted a wonderfully frisky and quirky Cairn terrier, Charlie Boy, from a no-kill shelter, where he lived for at least five months before we rescued him. He displays a constellation of behaviors that we cannot seem to understand or break. He sits on the chaise lounge in our yard and stares into the neighbor’s kitchen window. When the neighbor allows her dog, a golden retriever, to go out into her yard, Charlie Boy runs frantically back and forth along our fence.
Charlie Boy becomes a whirling dervish, although he and the retriever get along nicely. But when playtime is over and the retriever wants to rest on her porch, Charlie Boy begins his frantic fence running all over again. He will run himself to exhaustion, or until the neighbor lets her dog in. We have Charlie on homeopathic flower remedies that have helped a bit, at least he no longer barks, growls, and snarls while he’s running. This truly seems to be some weird compulsion. Do you think so?
Weird? Not for a dog. Compulsive? Yes, a million times yes. In all her years trying to decipher the behavior of dogs-and of people -Dog Lady knows one thing: Distraction is the mother of reinvention. In order to coax your dog to behave differently, you must behave differently. For example, instead of merely allowing quirky cairn Charlie to sit on the chaise lounge staring into the neighbor’s kitchen (sounds so Desperate Housewives), you should divert him with another activity. Take him away from galloping around the fence for a gambol at the local park. Or bring him into your house so everybody gets a break from the running of the bull. Keep up with the homeopathic remedy since it seems to be diffusing his obsessions. Charlie sounds adorably terrier-manic for no good reason.
Dear Dog Lady,
I have such a problem relaxing and enjoying my three dogs instead of always wondering if they are comfortable, getting enough exercise, getting enough attention, and whether all their canine emotional needs are satisfied. This becomes a real problem when I come home from work and am too tired to walk them or when I go on vacation and leave them with the ’in house’ sitter. Heaven forbid I take them to the kennel for a few days when I’m out of town. I think it would be worse on me than them.
If I get lucky and get a date or boyfriend, how should I split my time then? Sometimes I wish they were less reliant on me and would play together more. They probably would do this if I encouraged it. I love them so much, but how do I relax a little bit and give myself a break. They are all big dogs, very well-behaved for the most part. I live alone and have a 9 to 5 job.
You’re the one who got into this dog pack. You chose to have three dogs-not a tiny task. Therefore, you must be the one who figures out how to enjoy them and keep them happy. Dog Lady takes heart because you have a conscience about their health and welfare. Right now, you work to please them (just kidding, kind of) so you can afford sitters and walkers when you need a break. Just follow this maxim: A tired dog as a happy dog - especially a big dog. Provide them plenty of exercise and outdoor time. They will never complain or stare through your soul with big sad dog eyes if they are snoozing.
When you get a date or a boyfriend, you will become a busier pet mama. Presumably, any man who wants to share life with you is a man who likes dogs. And you may find your responsibility is shared by someone who is glad to help you wrangle your threesome. Wouldn’t that be sweet?
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