Pets

Old Trainer

How to train your dog to go for a walk

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Flash, my 3-year Bouvier, really improved when I took your advice and got serious about training. He is good at “sit” and “stay” and only barks now when someone approaches our house. His one problem is on our walks. He gets so excited he pulls like a sled dog and ignores me. Can I train him to calm down?

Pets

Buy a bag of Dog Chow, help a veteran

The Pets and Vets service dog program at Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation could get up to $500,000 from Purina Dog Chow, which has launched a two-prong campaign in support of ARF's efforts to help veterans and rescue dogs.

Old Trainer

How to know if your dog wants to learn new tricks

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I am struck by your comment you teach tricks only to the dogs who tell you they want to learn them. I have four dogs and I notice Lacy, my 2-year old Corgi, is very alert and watches me a lot more than the other three. How do I know if she wants to learn tricks?

Old Trainer

How to introduce your new dog to your old dog

DEAR OLD TRAINER: You convinced us. Bella, our 6-year old mix (lab and anyone’s guess) acts so sad when we leave we are going to add a second dog. Bella is a little cranky and territorial. What’s the best way to introduce the second dog?

Old Trainer

Don’t leave your dog in a car this summer

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Betsy, our 5-year old Beagle/Schnauzer mix looks heartbroken when we leave the house. We work long hours and I feel bad leaving her alone that long. We are thinking of getting a second dog to keep her company. Will that keep her from being lonely?

Pets

Strange tales from the world of pets and vets

So our school held a softball banquet for the team. Parents were asked to provide potluck. We brought ribs. Which somehow reminded a physician friend of her med-school days and the particular anatomy class when one of her classmates suddenly realized that both male and female human beings had the same number of rib bones. Every time. He counted. He was so distraught that he had to leave the classroom. How to account for Adam’s rib?

Pets

Taking in an exchange student

It started with a phone call. Would we consider taking in an exchange student for 10 days? She came from France and would spend most of her days joining the rest of her group in planned activities. We were expected to feed her breakfast, dinner if she was there, and provide her her own bed. We figured we could do anything for 10 days. Not to mention I would love to visit France. We said “yes.” We were able to review letters written by several students to their prospective host families. I studied them carefully and narrowed our choices between two. My girls paid no attention to my detail and chose the girl with the same name as theirs.

Old Trainer

What’s the best way to get rid of fleas?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Our Shar Pei, Dax, is 9 months old so we didn’t have to worry about fleas last year, but we have already found several on him this year, so we need a flea preventive product. Shar Peis are prone to skin problems so we want to choose the best and safest one. Our vet has at least half a dozen different brands and it appears there are a dozen more on the internet. What do you recommend and how did you decide which one was best?

Old Trainer

Make it part of the game

DEAR OLD TRAINER: My 5-year old Doberman, Tony, obeys all commands except one—when he brings a stick he moves his head just enough to make sure I can’t get it. When I do grasp it, he wants to play tug of war instead of let it go. What do you do when one of your pack does that?

Old Trainer

Does my dog really have dandruff?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Your advice on training my Maltese pair, Dot and Max, worked out well. They have their basic training down and rarely forget. You mentioned in a column last year how you and your dogs practice every day. Are you teaching them new things every day? Do you recommend training every day?

Pets

A good question about the rain

Kids say the darndest things! This year “The Water Cycle” is being taught in Science at the high school, which came to my attention when a story was relayed to me the other night.

Old Trainer

Is adopting a rescue pet a mistake?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I’m so excited because I’m getting a dog. I agree with you about adopting rescue dogs, and I’ve found several I like, but a guy at work says if you adopt a rescue dog you just adopt someone’s mistake.

Watch internet sensation Chubbs the cat get spoiled at the shelter

Chubbs, a 29-pound Himalayan mix cat, was found wandering the streets of Altadena, California. He captured hearts online with his "sweet disposition" — "but his heavy load makes it uncomfortable to move around freely."