Pets

Old Trainer

Did we make a mistake adopting a dog?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: My husband and I are retired and we both have health problems that keep us from being active as we would like. We enjoy reading your columns about how much love you get from your dogs and want it in our lives.

Pets

The day I balanced hospitals for humans and for animals

My first indication that text messaging had gone too far in my household was the afternoon I checked my phone and discovered the following message: “Just wanted to let you know. I thought I might be having a heart attack so I checked myself into the hospital.” It had been sent from my husband’s cellphone.

Old Trainer

Distance running and dog costumes. Having fun with your pets

DEAR OLD TRAINER: My kids wanted to dress Boris and Katy, our Basset Hounds, in antlers and red sweaters with bells for the local kid’s Christmas parade. I told them okay and the dogs didn’t seem to mind, or even notice it for that matter, but it bothered me a little. What’s your opinion on costumes or human clothes on dogs?

Pets

My Christmas-motif salad wreath emoji

My staff said they needed to speak with me this afternoon. Well, of course. Had we not just enjoyed a dinner and dancing together on Saturday to celebrate the holidays? I met their loved ones. We shared food together. There were contests and prizes and drinkable holiday cheer and overall it was quite the festive occasion. With a day inbetween to recuperate, everyone was at their sparkly best back at work.

Old Trainer

How to keep your dogs out in the cold

DEAR OLD TRAINER: My husband and I enjoyed your article about dogs and cold weather but we have a question. Nico, our 2-year old Akita, stayed inside all summer, but wants to stay outside since it got cold. She always went in and out with our two older dogs, but she changed when winter arrived and insists on staying out, even at night. Is her igloo doghouse warm enough for the cold weather we get? What do you advise?

Old Trainer

Is there something wrong with my dog?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Suzy, my 2-year old St Bernard/Huskie mix is a gentle giant who is full of energy and plays all day, but always eats her dinner lying down. She stands up bouncing around while she waits for me to make it, then lies down to eat it. I never had a dog do that before. Is there something wrong with her?

Old Trainer

How I train my dogs

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I just discovered your column and the tips convinced me to try and train our 10-month old Boxer, Katy. Is it possible for you to lay out your overall training program beginning with step one when you first get a dog and start your training routine?

Old Trainer

Should I be worried my dog won’t eat her dog food?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I am worried about Misty, my 6-year old Maltese. She has always been a good eater, but now she sniffs at her food and then ignores it. She will eat anything I’m eating, but not her own food. I like to feed her what I’m eating, but she is my only companion so I want what’s best for her. What should I do?

Old Trainer

Which bones should I let my dog chew?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: What is your opinion of Nyla-Bones? Lily, my 3-year old English Sheepdog, has one she loves. My vet told me as long as she doesn't break off chunks, it's OK but she does throw up tiny pieces of it. Is there a type of safe Nyla Bone? If I take it away she constantly looks for it.

Pets

New life for an old dog

She had been all black in her youth, but now at the age of 14 she is showing some gray around her muzzle. She used to jump and romp and play. Now she walks sedately across the yard, a faint weakness in her hindquarters. But always, Bella has class. Always, the gentle tail wag to let you know that she’s listening, she’s here.

Old Trainer

Train your dog or your dog trains you

DEAR OLD TRAINER: A couple of months ago you sent me information on how to train Fletch, my 1-year old hound/spaniel mix, to stop jumping on people and to sit. I was amazed how easy it was. He doesn’t jump now and sits on command, but if we leave a shoe on the floor he grabs it, is through the dog door in a flash, and into the yard. I chase him, but he won’t bring it back. What’s your advice?

Pets

Meeting a Border Collie called ‘Dunkin’

The afternoon was humming along as I made my way from one exam room to the next. Behind Door No. 1 was a kitten with a snotty nose. Behind Door No. 2 was a tiny parrot with a broken leg. And behind Door No. 3 there was Dunkin.

Old Trainer

Why does my dog keep bringing small animals?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: We live in the country with several acres and a spring fed pond. Sadie, our Lab/Poodle mix, has suddenly started spending all her time at the pond hunting. She’ll come when called, but goes right back to the pond. Every day she brings us frogs, mice, moles, whatever she can find. For the first five years we had her, she stayed with us but now it’s hunting all day. What should we do?

Why your dog (or cat) might fail the #SnootChallenge

If you're one of the hundreds of people not able to get your pet to rest his or her snout in the circle of your hands, you're not alone. We asked some pet behavior experts why some pet owners are having greater success than others.