Dear Dog Lady,
I love your column and enjoy reading it in The Salem News.
We have a beautiful part American Staffordshire terrier, Lady, whom we got at Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem. She is approximately 4 years old and about 62 pounds. She was 2 years old when we got her, and we know she had had a litter of puppies.
She is a wonderful dog and a great companion to my wife and me. We have a big backyard where she can run off-leash and she loves running around, weather permitting.
On the leash, we give her two nice, long walks every day. I know we need to spend a little more time training her to come to us because occasionally when we let her off the leash, she will not come back until she is good and ready even though we can see her and call her.
But that’s another issue.
Today, I am writing to ask you about a quirky thing she does. We think she loves to ride in the car because she jumps right in when we lead her to it, but, oddly, she whines practically the whole time she is in the car. Sometimes, it’s just a small whine, and sometimes, she is more vocal. She does not seem nervous or upset and loves to stick her head out the window while riding.
We are perplexed at this strange behavior and are considering not taking her in the car anymore, which we would rather not have to do. Your thoughts and input would be appreciated.
A: Hmmm. Dog Lady thinks you’ve reversed the priority order of your questions. A dog that doesn’t come when called seems a much more serious problem than a dog that whines in the car.
Have you seen the amusing Geico commercial about the little piggy that cries “wee, wee, wee” all the way home? Seems that’s the situation in the car. Lady whines because she can. If she doesn’t seem otherwise disturbed, she’s fine. Please don’t ban her from the car just because of a little noise-making.
Not coming when called is a dog behavior you really should worry about. Find a trainer who can help you. Don’t worry, it probably won’t be an arduous instruction. You simply need coaching. Ask your veterinarian or the Northeast Animal Shelter for a referral.
Dear Dog Lady,
How do I tell if my dog likes me? My 1-year-old Australian shepherd, Buddy, doesn’t look at me with the same adoring eyes as my other dogs have done.
A: Our dogs are not punitive creatures by nature. They love indiscriminately. If Buddy is even-tempered, comes when called and is unafraid to eat out of your hand, you can assume your dog trusts you and is fond of you.
At 1, your pet is still a pup and the bonding process is not complete. You probably don’t look adoringly at Buddy either. As the two of you grow closer and become more attached to each other, the eyes might begin to mirror the deepening relationship.
Dog Lady’s terrier keeps his counsel. He doesn’t stare adoringly either. Anyway, we humans tend to interpret canine facial expressions as we want to see them. Be good to Buddy. The adoring eyes will follow.
Monica Collins offers advice on pets, life and love. Ask a question or make a comment at email@example.com.