DEAR OLD TRAINER: My Sheltie, Rita, is 12. She always gobbled her food down, and wanted more and always ate faster than our two young dogs, but lately she eats less and less. We tried hamburger and every other treat we could think of, but she just doesn’t eat like she once did. What should we do?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: We applied a liquid flea and tick product to Crash, our 3-year-old Boxer, and the next day he was scratching and rolling on the carpet and the grass all day. We bathed him twice to get the product off and took him swimming and he finally calmed down. Clearly the flea liquid caused it so we haven’t used it again. Are flea products you apply to the skin of a dog safe?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: Kong, my 3-year old standard poodle, learned his basic training with ease. He is the smartest and most loving of my four dogs, and the best trained, but he refuses to make up with anyone but me. He is not aggressive to others as long as they leave him alone, but if they reach out to pet him he growls and shows his teeth. I’m afraid he will bite someone. How do I train him to be friendly to people?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: We have two dogs, Cora, a 4-year old Lab mix, and Sam, a 2-year old Weimaraner mix. Since we moved to a new house they bark at the mailman and won’t stop. Their tails are wagging and after the mailman passes they go back to sleep as if nothing happened. Is this a problem? If so, how do I stop it?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: I saw a program you put on in Santa Fe and was amazed that you never raised your voice and just moved your hands slightly and yet your dogs obey instantly. I hope my boxer puppy, Champ, will behave like that. Is there a secret trick I can use on Champ?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: I followed your advice on training Ace, my 3-year-old Jack Russell terrier, and Sadie, my 2-year-old Shar Pei mix. They had never obeyed an order in their lives and now they will sit, stay, and come. Problem is, it took me months to train them. Is there a way to teach them without spending so much time on it?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: We just bought a house with a big lot and we want to get a dog. We have three kids, all below the age of 10, and the whole family has been anxious to get the house so we could get a dog. A friend said we should get a dog with papers. Is that important?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: Boots, my 2-year-old Lab mix, is the friendliest dog at the dog park, but when I walk him on a leash he barks at every dog we meet. He lunges at some, even though I try to keep him right next to me. What is the problem?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: Annie, our Australian Shepherd, is 12 and is a wonderful dog. Lately, my husband has been giving her treats and letting her get on the couch and other things we never allowed before. He says she deserves it because she has been a good dog for so long. I don’t mind, but will relaxing discipline have adverse effects on her behavior?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: This is the first Christmas we have had Sam, a 1-year old boxer/German shepherd mix. He was living in the streets before we got him and seems to love table scraps. Is it OK to feed him just table scraps? How about leftovers from Christmas?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: We have a 12-month old Doberman/shepherd mix. Solo is very sweet and learned house training in just a day or two. I want to train her myself, but she is so playful and full of energy I feel overwhelmed. Where do I start and what do I do?
Q. Your column on whether a beagle can be a Frisbee dog started me thinking. Luke, our 8-month Lab/boxer mix, loves to retrieve a ball. I’d love to see dogs leap into the air and grab a Frisbee. How do I teach Luke to be a Frisbee dog?
Dear Old Trainer: We thought Digby, our 2-year-old golden, was too wild to train until we tried that “hold” command you recommended and he learned it so fast he inspired us to start working with him. You said that is the fourth command you teach. What are the other three and where do we begin?
Dear Old Trainer: Your training tips worked great with Annie, my 1-year old Weimaraner, but she still has one bad habit. If I relax at the dog park, she grabs anything on the ground and takes off. The other day she grabbed a woman’s purse and ran around the park for five minutes. What do I do?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: : Ruby, my 5-year old Sheltie, has a very thick coat and Merced gets hot in the summer. I think I should get her hair cut, but my boyfriend says a thick coat keeps a dog cool in the summer. Is that true? If not, should I get her trimmed?
D ear Old Trainer: My 2-year-old blue heeler, Sadie, makes my life better every day, so I feel sad when I leave for work and she looks at me like she is the saddest dog in the world. I read where you recommend everyone have a second dog. Will a second dog keep Sadie from being lonely?
DEAR OLD TRAINER: I save your columns to use in training Dude, my 1-year-old Shar-Pei. He starts off well and learns fast, but after a few minutes he quits concentrating and just wants to play. It sounds easy in your column, but I get frustrated because it’s a lot harder when I try it.