SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 26, 2012

Which golden retriever would be the best fit?

Ask Dog Lady Monica Collins
The Salem News

---- — Q: My husband and I have owned golden retrievers over the past 27 years. We are now ready to adopt another and are considering two dogs, both from different circumstances. One possibility is a 6-year-old male who has spent his entire life as a stud. If we adopt him, we would immediately have him neutered. My husband is wondering what effect neutering a dog who has spent his entire life having sex would have on the dog. My opinion is that it would calm the dog down. My husband thinks that it might affect his “psyche” and could potentially cause the poor boy to become depressed.

The second possibility is a 11/2-year-old female who was supposed to breed. The owner now wants to sell her. This gal has spent her entire life as an outdoor dog in a kennel and is not house-trained. We are wondering how difficult it would be to turn this outdoor dog into a pampered house pet. Would the dog get used to the idea of living indoors with her own comfortable bed? Not having kids, our dogs have been our family. Any thoughts on which dog might be the best fit?

A: Both dogs sound worthy and in need of a good home. The female will have to adjust to the comfy indoor life, but surely she is still very young and this should be no problem. As for the male, he’ll do fine, too. Your husband shouldn’t anthropomorphize (ascribe human qualities to) a dog that’s been a stud. Sure, this male dog has spent time mounting females, but the canine coupling cannot be confused with human sexuality. For dogs, it’s sheer biology. This retriever didn’t sprawl on satin sheets and enjoy a postcoital cigarette. He was a pup machine. After the neutering, this guy will forget he was ever a stud and enjoy life as a happy-go-lucky golden retriever.

Q: I live in the city and am pretty happy here except for dogs allowed to pee on the granite cornerstone of my townhouse. When I see somebody allowing their dog to lift a leg and pee on my property, I always say something, and usually, the person moves on sheepishly. But I’ve seen a few of them return. Why don’t you dog people respect other people’s property, and how do I get rid of the pee stain and smell?

A: People whose dogs soil other people’s property should be reprimanded, even served with a ticket for disturbing the peace of good neighborliness. For Dog Lady, any random act of disregard is very annoying. Whenever someone with a dog acts disrespectfully, everybody with a dog is tarred by the same brush. If a dog owner allows its dog to pee on your granite cornerstone, all leash holders are suspect. Some people may say, “Oh heck, it’s only a piece of rock. What does it matter?” It matters because the piece of rock belongs to another person.

You can purge the stain and smell by washing the granite with a 4-1 mix of vinegar and water. This solution is nontoxic, and anecdotal evidence suggests it works well to cleanse canine indiscretions.

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Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her website is askdoglady.com or facebook.com/askdoglady. Contact her at askdoglady@gmail.com.