, Salem, MA


January 10, 2014

Ask Dog Lady: West Highland terrier’s antics concern owner

Dear Dog Lady,

I have a question about my Westie (West Highland white terrier) pup (she’s actually 4): She puts her nose in her food bowl, then lifts it out and rotates around the bowl and does it again and again. We thought it might be because the metal loop on her collar was tapping against the food bowl and making a loud noise. We took her collar off, and she still does it. I am really confused about why Paisley is doing this. I have never heard or seen it before. What would be this cause?

Also, Paisley sleeps upside down (with her belly up and her feet in the air). I know this is something simple, but I don’t know if this position is good for her.

A: Westies are the most seriously comic characters on earth. Why they do what they do has caused terrier scholars smarter than Dog Lady to scratch their heads in befuddlement. Why does Paisley play ring-around-the-rosey with the food bowl? Your guess is as good as Dog Lady’s. Great idea to think the collar jangle might cause this. Another suggestion? The bowl is too big. You might try a small ceramic food holder. Also, do not overfeed Paisley so she has no time to play with her food. You want Paisley sassy and svelte for years to come.

As for sleeping belly up, this is a normal snooze position for a secure and happy dog.

Dear Dog Lady,

How many dogs is one person allowed to own in an urban area? My new neighbor has five or six dogs. They range from a German shepherd to shih-tzus. She has only lived there for a week or so, but I haven’t seen her walk the dogs at all. Not once. My other concern is that she is very obese and a smoker. I can only assume she never walks the dogs.

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