DEAR OLD TRAINER: My sister just got taken on a terrible swindle. She bought a dog called a Maltipoo at a pet store for $1,500 and the store offered to finance the purchase over 24 months. It turned out to be a lease, not a purchase, and with interest the cost has now more than doubled and my sister was told if she quits paying they will take the dog back. What can she do?
Irene, Parsons, Kansas
A: Tell her to see a lawyer.
There are lots of dog hustlers out there. Here’s how to avoid them.
1. Never buy a pet in a pet store.
2. Never do business with a pet store that sells live animals
3. Never pay $1,500 for a dog. The dog you get will love you unconditionally and change your life for the better, but keep your money instead of putting it in the pockets of greedy breeders, pet shop owners, and other dog scammers.
4. Go to your local shelter and adopt a dog for $50. The price includes dog food, leash, collar, a bath, flea medication, a full medical checkup, and a computer chip. The dog will be wonderful and you can then spend the $1,500 on yourself
5. The Maltipoo is another in the series of breeding stunts — genetic one liners — concocted by breeders to keep profits flowing. The public realized “papers” on a dog are meaningless so the money dried up. The irony is that breeders who once preached purity of breed now produce mixed breeds as the new standard.
DEAR OLD TRAINER: Lila is an 8-year old black Cocker Spaniel. We live near the ocean in San Luis Obispo and walk on the beach every day. It has been record heat this summer and she has been panting more than usual, even after we get home. Should I get her a summer cut?
Arla, San Luis Obispo
A: All dogs pant more as the heat increases. Check with the vet first to make sure there is no medical reason.
In any case, Lila needs a cut. Black dogs absorb more heat from the sun than lighter colors and Cockers have thick coats. Add in the heat wave in California and Lila needs a little help from you to keep cool.
I prefer to see owners clip their own dogs. I never heard of a dog that likes trips to the groomer with good reason. No dog wants a stranger restraining her and using electric clippers in private places. Groomers then make things worse by dousing dogs in offensive smelling perfume.
Buy a pair of scissors from a beauty supply house. Call Lila over, love on her a little, then start at the tail and slowly trim Lila’s coat down to half an inch long. Spread the job over several days if you want. Talk to her and love on her while you clip and she’ll realize a haircut is fun.
Each time you get home from the beach call her to the hose and run cool water all through her coat. Keep the salt off her skin and keep her coat short until the weather cools down and the heat won’t affect her so much.
A trainer for more than 30 years, Jack Haskins has rescued, trained and placed more than 2,500 dogs. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.