Dear Doodlebug: walking on stilts, finding forever, and butt-powered light switches

Dear Doodlebug is my favorite day of the week! It’s the day I get to exercise my giant doodle-brain and give you all of the advices you’ve ever wanted to hear! And this week I got a new picture-poster! Do you like it?

Anyhow, many important questionings in today’s post, so let’s get right to it!

Dear Doodlebug 2

Hi Doodlebug. On walks, I like to pick up and taste or eat almost everything. Flower petals, leaves, small sticks, berries, nuts. I also like to lick grass or bushes. Dad has given up on me. Mom is still quite a nag with constant, ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’. She gets confused about the commands and I get confused too. Guess she doesn’t like cleaning up my yellow foamy puke when we get back home. Your brilliant help is much awaited. Cole, the short-legged poodle


Dear Dust Buster,

Firstly, have you found any especially scrumptious berries, sticks, flowers, or nuts that I should be looking out for on MY dog walks? I am still allergenic with berries and nuts, actually, so I am only looking for flower and stick recommendations right now. And grasses and bushes are ok, too. 

My first advices to you are to ask your momma and dad whether they have ever really taught you what “leave it” and “drop it” mean. For a dog to really want to do that, they have to think it’s a good deal. Like, momma says “leave it” and if I do leave it, I get something even better. This is the way we were taught it. It turns out we don’t ALWAYS get something better, but pretty often we do, so it’s worth the gamblings (not that I recommend gamblings, which are illegal for dogs).

My second advices are that maybe you could learn the difference between a sniffing and salad bar kind of walking and an exercise-only kind of walking? When we go walking, we know that we are on a business trip (and by business I don’t mean business, I mean exercise). Mama tells us “free” when it’s time to sniff, pee, and snack, and that’s when we do those things. This keeps us pretty well out of trouble.

My final advices to you would be that maybe you could get a pair of stilts? I am not an overly tall dog, but I am taller than a short poodle, and I wonder if it’s easier for me to resist the ground-candy because my sniffer is higher off the ground. So maybe try stilts and let me know how it goes!

XO, the tallest Doodlebug you know

Dear Doodlebug, I like to chew things.  I’ve destuffed all my soft toys, I’ve performed many a squeakerectomy, I’ve shredded my rope toys and I’ve even nibbled all my kongs down to little nubs.  I’ve heard about these lovely things called antlers though and was curious what you knew about them?  Do you think they could stand up to my serious chewings?  Have you heard anything bads about them breaking off and getting all swallowed up?  I’d love if you could give me some of your advices! Woofs and Kisses, Dottie Mae


Dear Chewbacca,

Wow, you really are a most excellent chewer! I can do good chewings too, but I have never nubbed up a kong yet. I did manage to turn a Bob-A-Lot into an abstract yard art installation once, and I have also turned a football into four quarter-footballs. And as you may have read in a previous week, my brother also is a most wonderful chewer, but his art specializes in chewing holes in my mama’s pockets when they smell like treats. He is one clever Chicken!

Anyhow, yes, I am aware of the magic antler, and I do love it! In case you don’t believe me, I have illustrated my antler lovingness with the photo above. What I am chewing on these days is a split antler, which is better for beginners or those dogs who are a little less motivated to reallyreally work for their yummables. I am willing to work pretty hard, but this split antler keeps me plenty busy and I haven’t made much progress on it. The whole antlers, which are NOT split into halves, are even tougher! 

There are some good things about antlers that are not shared by rawhides and other chewable yums. Antlers are all natural, they do not splinter or split, they do not smell offensively to the Humans, and they are delicious! Naturally, your mama will want to take your antler away and replace it with a new one when it gets to swallowing smallness, but that goes for any treat. I have heard of a dog or two in my day who can get to the very bottom of an antler, but let me tell you: that dog is not me. So I say, go for it, and let us know what you think!

Love, Your Semi-Chewer

Dear Dude-oodle-bug,  I would like to know how you made your foster home turn into your forever home.  Do you have a magic potion?  If so, can I have the recipe for it?  You see, I’m a foster dog, but I love my foster home and I would like to stay in my foster home forever and make it a forever home.  BUT, if you can’t give me your secret to making a foster home a forever home, can you give me some of your advices on making sure I get a great forever home that’s just exactly like my foster home?  Yours ever so truly, Sophie Sofa Snuggles, foster sister of the Corbin

Dear Sophie-who-is-now-adopted,

I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I didn’t get to your question until after you cleverly figured out the answer for yourself — congrats on being adopted by a perfect home, just as perfect as Corbin’s!

Since I can no longer give you for-reals advices since you have brainiacked your way through this problem on your own, I will just tell you how *I* got myself adopted by my foster peoples. The first thing is to super-woo your foster siblings. Here is me working my magics on my Chicken after only a few days together. I got him to help me learn how to crate myself!


Now, this might be less of a big deal for some forever-family-elects, but as you probably know, my brother the Chick is quite grumpy, and although he tolerates many dogs, he does not *love* most dogs. The only other dog he has fostered who he really loved was Curious Georgia, and lucky for me and MY forever-home chances, they did not keep her because she lived with them just before they moved cross-country.

My people look for a few different things in dog-dog compatibility when deciding who is a good fit and who isn’t. They want us to get along swimmingly, of course, but they want us to get along calmly. They would not keep a foster, for example, who inspires my Chicken to run around like a crazydog doing zoomies, wrestling, and getting into troubles all the time. One key to their sanity, they say, is a calm dog-vibe in the house. So they prefer dog-dog matches where the two dogs are fine with each other’s company but can easily coexist without interacting all the time. Check and check.

The other big factor in my getting myself so adopted so quickly, of course, was that I gave them my big brown baby-eyes. Once I showed those to them, I knew it was all over — and so did they.


Admit it — you would keep me too, wouldn’t you?

Best of luck in your new home, Sophie!

XO, your fellow adopted-bull, Doodlebug

Dear Doodlebug, I am a Master of Trickery but I have a problem that hurts my brain.  Momma says I am an Overly Social Butterfly.  When Momma and Daddy get home, I let them ignore my adorable wiggly butt until I glue it to the floor to tell them I am ready for pettings. But when my human friends visit, Momma and Daddy ask them to not say hi or give me pettings until I stop talking and my wiggly butt hits the ground.  As a fellow Master of Trickery, will you help me think of a plot to trickery my way out of this rule? -Gambit of the Couches


Well Mr. Couch Surfer, Here’s the thing. Human friends do love wiggly-butted greetings, but you know what impresses them even more? Calm, gentleman-like greetings! I know! I didn’t believe it either, until my brother taught me, and it turns out he is right!

You see, we did these exercises in class where I got posted to a tree and everybody would ignore me until I sat down and stayed calm. Then once I did, I got all the lovings I wanted! Every time I’d pop up, the lovings (and yummables) would disappear. And when I’d sit down, they’d return! It was like magic! We repeated this exercise everywhere — in our kitchen, in our front yard, and out on walks. Even now we sometimes do it when mama and dad are expecting human visitors (the Turkeyman came to visit last night and I had to show him my best behaviors in order to get lovings, like the photo above).

Eventually I figured out that my butt was actually a magic light switch that could turn ON the lovings from people by sticking to the ground, and would turn OFF the lovings from the people by lifting up. 

I knew I already had many clevers, but I didn’t know that some of them were in my butt — wow!

Hope this helps you and your magic light switch Love, Doodlebutt

42 responses

  1. Great advices, as usual. We have just been looking into antlers ourselves, so glad to hear such a ringing endorsement, Doodlebug! We can’t wait to try them out.

  2. If antlers are tough can they break teeth? I have older dogs that love to chew but I would like to avoid broken teeth and expensive dentals.

    • You can look at some softer bones and natural animal products if you’re worried about the hardness of antlers. Some raw bones like chicken necks are softer and are a dinner at the same time!

    • Indeed Trish — we don’t use antlers for all dogs, just the ones who either chew persistently but gently, or the ones who have proven that their teeth are tough enough. Raw bones are definitely awesome if you’re worried — try beef ribs, for example!

  3. Great answers to great questions! Cabana loves antlers, too, but I have heard that dogs can break teeth on them. Also, I’ve been told you should only allow your dog to chew away about an inch of antler a day, because it can wear down their teeth. We buy our split antlers on eBay from brtrutta. His dog helps him find the antlers near his home in Montana. They’re very fresh and a great deal.

  4. I was just having a conversation with Polly’s new mama about the magical light switch in dog’s butts that make food and lovings appear. 🙂 I sent this along to her to confirm our convo! You are so smart, Doodle!

  5. My dog, who is a 5-6 year old pittie, broke the tips off of two of his teeth chewing antlers. Our younger dog (about 1 year) also broke the tip off of one of her teeth. Luckily the vet says the breaks are superficial, but we no longer give antlers, which is sad because they really were awesome chewies! I think it’s about how your dog chews, though. Our dogs bare down hard and really try to break them, while other dogs, I think, are better at slowly grinding them down.

  6. I wish my pup was more interested in antlers, but she thinks they’re boring– even the split ones (so glad we figured this out after we spent $40 on a whole one AND a split one). She loves rawhides and bully sticks but for whatever reason she just is not interested in antlers 😦

    • Be careful about how the rawhides are processed. Some of them can have really icky chemicals. Maybe your dog would like raw bones instead of antlers, since they have some meat and marrow still on them?

      • Agree — the rawhides tend to be processed with tons of nasty chemicals, so they aren’t very gentle on a dog’s stomach. As well, the way they are dehydrated can make them dangerous. If a dog breaks off a piece and swallows it, it can soften / expand in his throat or stomach, which is potentially very dangerous!

  7. Doodle Bugger! Thanks for taking the time to answer Sophie’s question, even though she found her perfect home. Maybe when you read her question via the emails, you telepathically sent your answer to her snuggle brain, because she sure did find the perfect place and used every single one of your advices. Also, about the antlers, I’m not a fan. BUT, the momma had to take away all of my super hard chewies anyways because I have soft teethies and they break quite easily regardless of the crazy brushings the momma gives them. So, I chew on dehydrated or baked-until-crunchy Sweet Tater treats that the momma makes or I’m allowed to chomp on bully sticks once in a while. Other than that, we recommend to your friend the Black Kongs, because even my chew-through-the red-Kong chewing skills hasn’t mastered the Black Kong yet! And I sure do enjoy them with frozen nutritional delights.
    PS. I don’t know that the momma could resist those big brown eyes either, so it’s a good thing you didn’t end up as MY foster brother! hehe

  8. Oh, I should have thought of that! My pup has an extreme dislike for not being with me, but I love to take him on errands (to grab something from the grocery store or the library) where he waits for me outside the store. I’ll practice the leaving-him part with some kibbles and treats to help him get comfortable with waiting. Thanks!

  9. Dear His Excellence Mr. Dude,

    You offered me wonderful advices when you first started your column about my crazy brother Wiley Coyote, but I have another problem I’m hoping you can help me out with. I recently got a new cousin, Finn, who is a beagle/jack russel mix. When we first met I liked him a lot and we would play and cuddle for hours, but recently he’s been driving me CRAZY. He won’t stop doing his humpty dumpty dance, licks my paws, and licks my private parts any chance he can get. No correcting from my uncle can make him stop. 😦

    I’d really like to be able to keep hanging out with my new cousin, but I’d rather he keep his tongue to himself and quit his annoying dancing routine.

    Do you have any advices?


    Max the Wonderdog

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