, Salem, MA

June 13, 2014

Ask Dog Lady: Does lax dog walker deserve a second chance?

Ask Dog Lady
Monica Collins

---- — Dear Dog Lady,

The latest dog walker I employed left my dog behind after an off-leash outing to a nature preserve. Salty was found wandering near a busy road by a good Samaritan stranger who knew to call me because of the collar with my phone number and Salty’s name embroidered on it. The quick-read collar and a kind stranger saved Salty’s life. The dog walker cried and apologized again and again. He wants another chance. I am tempted to forgive. What do you say?

A: If it happened once, it can happen again. Most unfortunately, Dog Lady knows whereof she speaks. You can forgive, but you cannot forget the negligence. You will always be on tenterhooks if the dog walker is the slightest bit late. And, really, this relationship is all about trust. Your dog could have been hurt or killed because of the dog walker’s forgetfulness. Sure, you can give the walker a second chance, but what if ...?

Dog Lady heartily endorses the lifesaving collars featuring the dog’s name and your phone number embroidered. These are user-friendly and easier to decipher than jangling license tags or embedded microchips. The personalized collars are available through many dog catalogs and websites. Go to the “Ask Dog Lady” Facebook page to see some options.

Dear Dog Lady,

My basset hound, Charley, has become aggressive toward me (his owner). He is nice with everyone else, but when we are at home, if I try to get out of my chair or leave a room, he runs in front of me and snarls and snaps. It is like he is trying to “keep me in my place.” Please help, as I love this dog and don’t want to have to get rid of him. He gets a lot of exercise, has no health problems and has no other notable behavior issues. This started about six weeks ago, but I cannot pinpoint a precipitating event. There have been no changes in his routine.

A: Is Charley fixed — neutered? This is an important step to level out a male dog’s behavior. Also, has Charley been checked out by the veterinarian since this new aggressive tendency started happening? There could be an organic reason for his distress, and he’s trying to let you know.

A sudden change in a dog’s behavior is a reason to seek out a medical professional. You might not think there’s anything amiss, and you might not be able to see any source of obvious pain such as a limp. A vet, however, can ask the proper questions about the dog’s health.

Question? Write Visit to see pictures, read about Dog Lady’s dogs and see “Ask Dog Lady,” the TV show.