Dear Dog Lady,

My new dog Tye, a golden retriever, arrived from Michigan about a month ago. I found him on the internet when I Googled for a 2-year-old dog. Tye had been used as a stud for a breeder. When he was retired after spawning litters of puppies, the breeder’s family took him in as a pet for a few months before offering him for sale. He was shipped to me and I love having him. He is a wonderful dog — gentle, obedient and well-behaved. But he has one problem. Although the previous owners assured me Tye loves getting up and riding in the car, he will not jump into my car. I have to sit in the back seat and coax him before he finally leaps in. A man at the dog park suggested that Tye is a Michigan-bred dog, raised with big American trucks, and my little Toyota Prius hybrid may unnerve him. Could this possibly be true?


A: Your dog park pal has a point, a very good one. If Tye was brought up riding around in ginormous Dodge Ram trucks, Cadillac Escalades and Ford F-150s, the confused dog might indeed be nervous confronting the minuscule back seat of a Prius. Dogs are such creatures of habit and what is imprinted on them as pups lasts a long time.

Be patient. Tempt Tye with high-test treats (such as dried liver chunks or pieces of boiled chicken) placed prominently on the back seat, and always take him to a fun place. The dog park is a perfect destination. You can keep getting into the back seat and luring him thither, but you don’t know if this was the car behavior of his previous family and the reason why it resonates with him. So stay out of the back seat, try treats, your best coaxing voice and, please, don’t expect instant miracles. However, one day he will jump into your Prius and never look back.

Dear Dog Lady,

I'm trying to get my dog and my family's two cats to get along. The last time they were in the same house, they had a peeing contest on the living room rug when no one was looking. As you can imagine, this did not go over well. I'm trying to figure out a way to ensure they'll get along better (and not pee on the new rug) if I bring my dog Picnic, an otherwise amenable sort, over. Do you have any advice? Or do you know anyone else I can ask?


A: Well, you could ask, the Guy Upstairs. Pronouncements are made by fools like Dog Lady, but only God can tell you how to ensure cats and dogs get along. Sometimes the two species do cuddle up; sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you see cute memes on Facebook and hear stories of cats and dogs chummy like in a Disney film; other times, they snarl up a storm.

You don’t exactly say the two cats and Picnic have fought amongst themselves. Sounds like they did a pee dance a trois. This isn’t exactly a bad thing. They were all marking territory, setting boundaries and getting the olfactory lay of the land.

When you visit, keep your dog under your control and in your field of vision. The cats own the house; your dog doesn’t. He is the variable in this cats plus dogs equation. If Picnic is under your control, there’s no reason the family animals can’t get along and stay dry. 

Monica Collins offers advice on pets, life and love. Ask a question or make a comment at