But I am a Very Brave Dog, and so I answered some of your requests for advices even though my head is a little cloudy! Here we go!
Dear Doodlebug, Do you like the vacuum? I hate the vacuum. I am pretty sure if my people would just let me attack its soft underbelly, I could rid my house of the vacuum menace forever. Do you know of any dogs who successfully killed a vacuum in this manner? Is there some other method of disabling a vacuum that you might recommend? My people insist that I ignore the roaring beast or go to a different room while the monster is attacking the floors we walk on, but I think it’s only a matter of time before it becomes dissatisfied with the floors and turns on us! For some reason, my otherwise excellent people seem blind to this danger in our midst. Help! Abbey of the Brindle Furs
Dear Abbey (ha ha, get it?),
I am a Buddhist and also a pacifist, so I can’t help you with the deathing of your vacuum cleaner. But if I were not a Buddhist or a pacifist, I might offer you some suggestions . . . like what about poisoning it? Maybe you could get your paws on some vacuum poison and sneakily sprinkle it all over the floor right before your people let it do its noisy thing? Or maybe you could make friends with a cat or a rat and convince them to chew through the cable (making extra careful sure that it isn’t plugged in while they’re doing the chewing)? Both of these seem like they might work, if I were less of a Buddhist and a pacifist.
But since I am a Buddhist and a pacifist, I have another idea. What if your people help you make friends with the enemy instead? They could do this by leaving it out someplace that you walk by all the time, like your kitchen. Then they could start feeding you your dinners or playing your favorite games with you near the vaccum (but not so near that you’re skeered to approach). Then gradually you could start eating and playing closer and closer. And if the way it yells and hollers and carries on is the biggest problem, maybe you could have them make a recording of the hollering sound and play it for you when nothing is happening — first very, very quietly, then eventually louder and louder until it’s up to its normal noisy volume. I’m not sure if this might work, but maybe it’s worth a try if the deathing doesn’t go as planned, or — even worse — if your people replace your newly deathed vacuum with another one?
XO, Doodlebug who sleeps through vacuumings but thinks motorcycles are QUITE scary
Dear Doodlebug, My mum says you seem very smarty-pants with all of your advises, so mum really hopes you can help her out with this conun… conden… comdumderan….. ah, problem. I am a five years old and i had the chop when i was just a little pup, but in the last few months have become a rather frisky dog. My beloved bed is the love of my life, and i cannot help the fact that i sometimes get a little over excited and amourous when it just lies there looking all floofy and squishy and soft. Mum wonders if this is an attention seeking thing, because i often do it when she is in the kitchen cooking dinner, but i will happily make the moves whenever the mood strikes me. Don’t worry, i don’t do it to people or other dogs – just my beautiful bed! Mum knows that she shouldn’t yell at me or make a big deal out of it when i do get carried away, incase i love the attentions and do it more and more to get her to come look at me, but for some reason it emabrasses her when other people see my humpy ways (they just don’t understand me). Doodlebug can you please explain to my mum why i do this so much and how to get me to maybe possibly do something else instead? Love (but not in that way), Mr Frisky the pugalier
Dear Humpty Dumpty,
Well gosh, that must be some special pillow that you have, huh? It sure sounds like you give it plenty of attentions! From what I have heard and read, humpty-dumptiness happens for a whole bunch of different reasons, like sexiness, dominance, attention-seeking, anxiety, and boredom. It’s hard for me to say which of these things are making you do the humpty dance with your bed — though I can say that it’s probably not the sexiness or the dominance. If this humpiness is new, then have your mama ask herself: has anything Major changed in your life or your house recently? Sometimes stress can make dogs do strange behaviors that didn’t happen before. Or have there been any medical issues with you lately? Big behavioral changes that happen suddenly are often a good reason to go to the vet’s office and check things out to make sure everything is okie-dokie.
Do you have a $50 trick? That is, a trick that she is confident enough about that she would slap $50 down on the table as a bet that you will do it upon request, no matter what you are busy with? If not, maybe it’s time to work on that. If you have one already, have your mom ask you to do that trick (even if it is just “sit” or “down” or “come”) when she sees you doing the humpty dance. It will be a Non-Compatible Behavior, which means you will have to stop the humpiness in order to do it. Then your mama can distract you with something else — a toy, a puzzle, a game, etc. Over time, she may be able to teach you to do something else when you’re feeling kind of humpty, and if you are a Very Clever Dog, you may even stop doing the humpty dance altogether.
But it’s still a good idea to check with your vet and — if your mama suspects anxiety or another behavioral cause — a good trainer in your area. They will set you straight!
XO, your ‘Bug
Dear Bug, I am terrified when my mama takes me to the vet. It’s a scary place. I used to be okay with it but then I was sick for a while. All the poking and prodding made me never want to see those people again. Now, even sitting in the waiting area makes me nervous, and by the time I get to the exam room, I’m a wreck. I don’t want them to touch me. I growl and sometimes show my teeth when they get too close. I know it makes my mama very anxious. Do you have any tips to help me feel more comfortable at the vet? Your biggest fan, Reggie-doodle
Mama says this is a Behavior Question and she does not let me answer Behavior Questions on the interwebs, but I will try to sneak in a quick few Brilliant Thoughts before she catches me. It sounds like you had a bunch of Bad Days at the vet’s office, so now every time you go, you think it’s going to be a Bad Day. But what if it were usually a Good Day instead? My advices are no substitute for the help of a real live Dog-and-People Trainer, but here are some things to think about anyhow. If you live close enough, have your mama take you to the parking lot in front of the vet’s office a few times a week to eat dinner or play your favorite game or get your favorite massage. Bring your kibbles and your bowl or your toy and just hop out of the car, eat your dinners or have a game, then go home. Then once that becomes easy, eat your kibbles or play fetchings right inside the waiting room — or treats and maybe do some basic tricks like “sit” and “shake” or whatever you know and like best. Then once that becomes easy too, see if some of the peoples who work there will help your mama feed you kibbles and treats or toss your ball for you when you visit. The activity isn’t important, it can be any of the Things Reggie Likes Best. The only thing is, Reggie, that you have to go slow and make sure that you are relaxed every step of the way. If you are too nervous to play or enjoy your massage or eat the treat, your mama moved too fast and needs to back up some. If you do it right, the vet’s office may soon be a place where Good Things happen instead of Bad Things.
Hope this helps!
Doodlebug who is basically a celebrity at the vet’s office because he visits so happily and so often
Dearest Doodlebugger, I’ve got a really important question and it has to do with food! I am allergic to wheat and it makes my stomach really hurt & make funny noises, and makes me have very bad poops. Mom and Dad started feeding me wheat free food, but I only like the fish & sweet potato flavor, and only sometimes. My poor mom tries and tries to buy training treats that interest me, but she doesn’t have much luck. She even tries to stuff my kong with human foods, but I don’t even like that most of the time. I’ll eat anything I can steal off the kitchen counter, but when I know it’s for me it’s just not as fun or interesting. Sometimes I go a whole day without eating anything! It makes mamma worried and it makes me look a little skinny. So doodles, how do I help mom find foods that interest me without breaking the bank? Do you have any wheat-free recipes you want to share with her (we got some from two a few posts ago that mom can’t wait to bake!) Could I have another allergy that makes me not eat sometimes, or is it normal for the cutest pups to be picky with their foods? Thanks in advance doodle, you and chick are my favorites, and I wish could bite your necks in play all day, XoXo, Calvin
Dear Finnicky Eater,
One Major Question: Are you crazy? Your peoples give you fish and sweet potato foods and you are not interested? Jeepers creepers, I am just not sure what to make of this! I have always been a Champion Eater, so I can’t say that I understand where you’re coming from. But I can ask you some questions because I am a Clever Investigator, and maybe together we can get to the bottom of this very funny situation. How long ago did you make the switch from your wheaties to your new, wheat-free foods? If it was very very recent, then maybe it’ll just take a little time for you to adjust. Dogs won’t starve to death, so eventually you will probably get hungry enough to eat. Unless . . . my second question: how often do you steal food off the counter or get Human Food from the Table or Counter? If it’s often, tell your mama that it’s not good for you! You are just learning that you can pick whether to eat the dog foods or the human foods, and although the human foods may smell and taste yummy, they are not as full of nutritionality as dog foods for you! And third, have you asked your Dogtor about this situation? It is possible that there is some kind of medical situation (tummy problems? ouchy tooths? illness of the sense of smell?) that is making you not want to eat. Your Dogtor will be able to tell you whether this is the case.
So like I was saying, my brother the Chick and I are Champion Eaters. But a few times during his fostering career, my brother came across a dog who was too nervous or sick to eat for a few days, and he did find some tricks to make them more interested in their kibbles. Try having your people mix your kibbles with some cottage cheese, some low-sodium chicken broth, or (the best) some raw goat’s milk (available at the fancy hippie pet stores only). Start out with several tablespoons per cup of food, and then gradually reduce the Added Yumminess until you’re back down to just kibbles.
Best of luck Calvin, Doodlebug the Foodie