Ask Dog Lady
Dear Dog Lady,
I don’t have a dog, myself, but I often buy presents for the many deserving dogs I know. So I’ve noticed the catalogues always display a variety of furry chew-toys for dogs to shake, toss, etc.
Is this a good idea? Every time I hear of a small dog being bitten or mauled by a larger dog, I wonder if the bigger dog even realized that his plaything was another dog and not a rag doll. Why hasn’t anyone called for a ban on toys that look like other animals?
I can see where they’d be useful for training hunting dogs, but if Fido only goes outdoors to the neighborhood park, why should he learn to bully smaller beasts? Am I correct to worry about this practice? Can you tell me why it continues?
You are correct to worry. You are also correct to worry about an asteroid hitting the earth. Furry chew toys do imitate critters in the wild, with one exception-hey are utterly passive. A dog can have his or her way with them. This activity satisfies the dog’s instinct to chew and shake the life out of something and, yes, it’s all in good fun-ike a toddler dragging a rubber baby doll by the hair. Even for real, it’s all in good fun. Puppies shake it up in the natal den with their siblings. And growing dogs do it when they socialize with other dogs.
When Dog Lady first became a dog keeper, she was aghast at the rough animal antics of dog play. In the park, her small pup would often wind up at the bottom of a pile of rogues with big teeth. After being liberated, he would run back to join the pile all over again. He loved being chased and nipped and pounced upon. Dogs play rough; chew toys bring out the beast but in a good way.
Dear Dog Lady,
I have a wonderful dog named Cassady who’s great with people but not so much with other dogs.
I am moving to Alaska and really want to take her with me, but flight regulations for animals say they cannot be muzzled (which I was hoping I’d be able to do that way she does not even have the option to nip at other dogs). Is this the same for all airlines? Do I need to worry about her wearing a muzzle? Or will she not even be close enough to other dogs?
All dogs traveling in the cargo hold of airplanes must be caged. The airlines ban muzzles on dogs to decrease the risk of liability should the jaw restraint injure or harm the dog in any way. Keeping your dog contained from the moment you enter the airport ensures Cassady will be protected from mixing it up with other dogs. Ostensibly, there will be no opportunity. Dogs caged for air travel are treated the same as any piece of luggage. Unless they escape, they are strapped in for the duration, which is why Dog Lady gets the heebie-jeebies thinking about dogs in the air. If there’s no other way to transport Cassady to Alaska, you must hold your breath and hope she arrives safely.
Dear Dog Lady,
Bear, my daughter’s 16-year-old Lhaso Apso, is almost completely blind and deaf. Since my daughter travels frequently, my husband and me often care for Bear. Considering his disabilities, the dog does amazingly well in finding his way in our house, even going up and down stairs, but recently he can’t even seem to see light and gets disoriented, bumping into walls, etc. It is hard to watch him, but he has the sweetest disposition and seldom whines. In fact, I find him an inspiration in how he seems to enjoy life, even with his limitations.
However, when we do have to leave him alone in the house, he howls. Is there something we can do to make him more comfortable when we’re away? He has never used a crate, but would it be good to try that to make him feel more secure?
At his age and stage, a crate might be too much for Bear to bear. Instead, get him a plush, comfortable bed. Place the small divan in a spot of your home where Bear will have no trouble plunking himself down for a little R&R. When you first introduce the bed don’t make a big deal of it. Put down the lounge and lard the pillows with pieces of cooked chicken, freeze-dried liver chunks, or any treat Bear cannot resist. See how long it takes him to find the settee. He won’t make a mad dash but he’ll discover it in quick order. You hope the sanctuary becomes his "place" in your home. Before you go out, make sure Bear’s couch is covered with treats. After you anoint his bed, walk out without a word leaving Bear to sniff out the goodies. He’s not so old that he can’t be distracted by a fun game of "deliver da-liver chunk" at Grandma’s.