Ask dog lady responds to questions about how to choose the right breed for a small city apartment and how to stop a dog from chasing cars.
Dear Dog Lady,
After a lot of consideration, I have decided I would like to get a dog. I am a single, working woman and, while I would provide a lot of love and affection when I’m at home, I am looking for a small breed that would be OK spending a lot of time alone in an apartment, if such an animal exists. I love pugs and French bulldogs, but understand these breeds need more companionship. Any suggestions?
A: Pugs and French bulldogs may be stylish, but they are not the only dogs needing companionship. Small breeds, large breeds and mixed mutts require thoughtful tending, especially in the city where many dogs stay home alone for hours. That’s not to say you can’t leave a dog for long stretches, but you must provide amenities so your darling can live like a latchkey Lassie.
You say you’ve given this decision a lot of consideration. Better than deciding what kind of dog to get, consider the quality of life you can give the dog. Have you investigated day care or walking services? You need to make arrangements so your pet can get out for relief and socialization at least once, preferably twice, during a twelve-hour stretch. Have you considered crating your dog so the sweetie has a safe place to roost when you’re not home? You don’t want to return from work to all your chewed shoes.
A well-exercised dog is a happy, healthy dog. Walk your dog every morning at sunrise. Or find the local dog park and allow your pet the opportunity to run around off-leash and mix it up with its peers. If you bond and exercise in the morning, both you and your dog will be set up for the rest of the day.
Dear Dog Lady,
My Yorkshire terrier mix, Charlie, has been displaying behaviors that I am not quite sure how to correct. It all started about a year ago when my apartment was broken into and he was home alone. He was in his crate at the time. He was not injured by the experience, but I think he developed some emotional problems. Charlie tries to attack any stranger that we come into contact with (especially men) on our walks and he also chases cars. I try to correct him whenever he displays this behavior but I do not think I am doing it correctly since he hasn’t stopped.
A: We can only imagine how scary it was for Charlie to witness the robbery in your apartment. And that’s the point: We can only imagine because we don’t know for sure. Certainly, his aggressive behaviors are not totally tied to the trauma.
Are you keeping Charlie securely on a leash during your walks? Please do. He should not have the opportunity to attack strangers or run after cars. When he goes into a frenzy, calm him down by distracting him––by ordering him to sit and stay. Carry little treats (bits of freeze-dried liver chunks are perfect bribes) to reward him for calmness.
And stay calm because he might sense your fear. You must remain the cool, unflappable ‘Big Dog’ to guide him back from the land of scary men and even scarier speeding autos. When you’re around Charlie, never let him see you sweat. Your composure and confidence are essential to training your dog. The minute you lose it, so will Charlie.
Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Follow the “Ask Dog Lady” fan page on Facebook. Write your questions or send to email@example.com.