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'Little Dogs'

Darlene Arden
Darlene Arden (Lisa Croft-Elliott)

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Darlene Arden
Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, Journalist, Lecturer and Author
Monday, April 10, 2006; 12:00 PM

Darlene Arden, certified animal behavior consultant, journalist, lecturer and author, was online Monday, April 10, at noon ET, to take questions and comments about owning and caring for little dogs twenty pounds and under.

Arden specializes in behavior issues of dogs twenty pounds and under. She is the author of "The Irrepressible Toy Dog," "Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're a Dog," "The Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventive Care for Dogs" and the forthcoming "Small Dogs, Big Hearts." She has written articles and columns for all of the major dog and cat publications as well as newspapers and general interest magazines. Arden writes a behavior column for NKConcepts.com.

Arden has twice served on the Council of Directors of the Cat Writers' Association and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Dog Writer's Association of America, Inc. She is a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is also a World Canine Freestyle Organization judge, referee and serves on the WCFO Advisory Board. Arden also produces and hosts her own cable television program, "Creatively Speaking," and is a regular contributor to Animal Radio Network.

From The Post:

A Dog's Life (Post, March 19)

The transcript follows.

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Darlene Arden: Hello! I'm honored to be here. Welcome and thank you for joining me at the Washington Post Online Forum!

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Burke, Va.: I have a 7 lb, 2-year-old Chihuahua that is not housebroken. I wasn't very disciplined when I first got him. Now I'm paying the price. Should I resort to tough love and crate him. When he starts whining in his home (cage) my heart just breaks. Also, you know how small dogs hate the cold, noise, and anything that changes when they go out to do their business. But do I stay the course for as long as it takes even though he's 2 yr. old?

Darlene Arden: It's never too late to housetrain but this is a complex issue with little dogs since they have special needs. Crate training is ideal since dogs want to stay clean. But the crate is a *tool,* not a form of punishment! Also, little dogs suffer terribly in the cold so your little one will need a snug sweater or a snuggly warm coat before he goes out. Go to one spot only, use one word that you want him to associate with elimination (like: HURRY!) and give him a special treat that he only gets at that time. I wrote an entire chapter on housetraining small dogs that you'll find in Small Dogs, Big Hearts. It's the #1 behavior problem in small dogs but be consistent and you and your little Chi will reach your goal!

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Washington, D.C.: My dog loves to lick me and lick himself all the time. We are coming to think he was a cat in another life.

The other day he coughed up what looked like a hair ball. Is this a serious condition we should address with the vet again? The vet said this behavior was ok for toy poodles.

Darlene Arden: He probably is coughing up the equivalent of a hairball. Be sure to brush and comb your cat and your dog daily. This will help both of them and cut down on those doggy hairballs as well as the cat's hairballs!

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Washington D.C.: My husband and I adopted a 9 year-old-toy poodle. We consider him our child. It seems that he was never taken outside since he is now learning to walk on a leash and learning to play fetch.

I would enjoy very much to take him along on my daily outings. Yet, how can we train him to get in a carry all and not be scared. Also we are planning to a trip to Puerto Rico to see my parents in July. How can I put him on a plane if he won't get into the carry all. If it would be to much for him. I will find a sitter. Please help.

Darlene Arden: I'm glad you want to take your little Poodle along. Small dogs are portable companions! Get him used to it by keeping the carrier on the floor near you and putting a little treat in it. Just let him go in and out at his own pace. Don't make a big deal of it. You can gradually pick it up off the floor a little at a time while he's in it. For an airline carrier, do the same thing. Get one that will conform under the seat of the plane without collapsing on your little Poodle and be sure that while you're training your little dog to use it that you keep it near your feet. After all, when you're on the airplane the dog's carrier will be under the seat near your feet! Happy Travels!

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Houston, Tex.: Darlene - I have a 2-year-old Llasa Apso which I got at the shelter when she was 6 months old. My problem is instead of growling when she is angry or scared - she goes straight to biting. So far she hasn't broken the skin, but it still hurts. I know she was tormented by toddlers in her first home, so I keep that in mind. How do I train her "out" of this behavior? Thanks

Darlene Arden: This can be a complex issue. She has wonderful bite inhibition if she hasn't broken the skin. Little dogs and toddlers are, in my opinion, a terrible mix. All children and dogs need continuous supervision and Lhasas were bred to be palace guards. Too many people mistake them them for fluffy lapdogs. I would keep things calm, be sure she has a lot of toys to play with. Get down on the floor and look at the world from her perspective -- it can be scary! I'd get her involved in some positive training, preferably clicker training, and a dog sport. You can go to the AKC's Web site (www.akc.org) to find obedience trials in your area and see what that's all about. And you can go to: www.worldcaninefreestyle.org to learn about that wonderful sport of dancing with dogs. Be sure you do fun things with her and go slowly so you don't frighten her. If you find you need a behavior consultant and there's no board certified veterinary behaviorist in your area you can go to: www.iaabc.org to find a certified behavior consultant in your area.

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Seattle, Wash.: Hi..

My 14-year-old beagle is in fantastic health overall -- no mobility issues, still hears/sees pretty well. But his stomach seems more sensitive of late -- he was up and down all night last night going in and out to eat grass and throw it back up.

As beagles do, he'll eat anything he can get his mouth on, so we have to keep an eye on that. His regular dog food is a senior formula with glucosamine...

Any suggestions?

Darlene Arden: Hi, I'd take the dog to my veterinarian for a complete work up. If he hasn't had a geriatric profile done yet, now is the time. It's wise to take senior dogs to the veterinarian twice a year. If there are any changes, they can be caught more quickly and the issue addressed before the problem becomes worse. I'm sure you do an annual check-up but if one year of a dog's life equals 7 years of a human's life, that annual check up isn't really annual so the extra one when your dog is older and a bit more fragile is a really smart move. :-)

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Washington, D.C.: My 3 year old yorkie starts hyper-ventilating and jumping all over me whenever I return home. This happens if I just walk to the mailbox and am gone for a mere 30 seconds, not just when I return after a long period of time. He acts like he has not seen me in years! Is this just an anxiety attack?

Darlene Arden: Ahhhh, it sounds like your little one is developing Separation Anxiety. SA isn't a lot of fun for either of you. If you make a big deal of the dog when you walk in, you're just adding to the problem and inadvertently convincing him that he has something to worry about when you leave. You'll need to slowly counter condition him. Be sure you wait a few minutes before greeting him when you walk into the house. And if you haven't done any sort of training with him, now's the time! Don't ever use a choke collar on a little dog -- it's not necessary on a big one, either! Positive training works wonders and you and your dog will both have fun!

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Fairfax, Va.: I have an adorable Chihuahua/rat terrier mix. He's about two and half and the love of my life. Unfortunately, we've always had problems house training him. He's so tiny that he can sneak off without anyone noticing. Do you have any tips for getting him house trained for good?

Darlene Arden: Yes. Go back to "Square One" and start training as if he were a puppy. He needs a refresher course. And be sure you are staying on top of it, taking him out regularly even if you need to keep a diary to figure out when that would be! And be sure that on cold days and nights he's wearing a warm coat or sweater. Going indoors is easy, convenient and warm for him so he needs a reason to want to go outside. See my previous answer about housetraining.

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Re Washington DC dog carrier: Another easy way is to get some bedding (a towel) etc. that the dog has already slept on and put that in the carrier as it will smell more familiar. A tiny kong with a great treat will also make the dog more interested in going in. You may want to consider putting in a tiny piece of carpet to help absorb "homey" smells from the bedding too for the trip.

Darlene Arden: This is absolutely correct. The carrier (just like the crate) needs to be the nicest, safest place it can be. All of those detailed answers are in my book, trying to answer everyone in this form in only an hour is a challenge! LOL Please bear with me! And thank you!

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Frederick, Md.: Hello Darlene:

Thank you for taking questions. I have a male miniature Schnauzer, neutered. He is one of three dogs in our household. He's not the alpha dog, but he is the self-appointed lead watchdog. We recently moved to a new home where he has plenty of windows to look out of.

He barks (piercingly) and growls almost constantly when he sees anybody outside, whether they are two blocks up the street or in the yard. My husband is ready to put cardboard up to block his vision.

We have tried reprimands, removing him physically from the windows, and shaking a can of pebbles. Do you have any other suggestions? Thank you so much!

Darlene Arden: Hi,

Your mini Schnauzer is being the sentinal you want him to be at home. But punishing him for doing what he believes is his job is counterproductive since you really want to know if there's a stranger at the door, etc. The simplest way to handle it is to acknowledge it, Thank him and tell him that, yes, you know. Then distract him with a toy or some other activity. Or get the others involved in something new after that and he will want to join in. Aversives like reprimands are just counterproductive.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Darlene,

I adopted a Shiba Inu from a local shelter about 5 months ago. I don't know a lot about her past, whether she was socialized at all, but she doesn't seem to know how to communicate with other dogs. She gets very nervous when other dogs approach her, even when I can clearly tell from their body language that they're being friendly (tail wagging, bottom in the air in a play stance). I get it, but my dog doesn't seem to understand and she'll snarl and snap at all comers.

In general, this breed is known to be difficult with other dogs, but is there something I can do to teach my Shiba to better discern between friendly advances and non-friendly warnings from other dogs? I doubt she'll ever welcome friendly greetings from another dog, but I'd love it if she could learn to ignore or tolerate a quick sniff and then move on without a snarling, barking fit.

Thanks!

Darlene Arden: I would slowly work with someone else who has a rock-steady dog who is good with other dogs. In fact, I think a professional would be helpful. Go to: www.iaabc.org and find someone in your area. It will take time but will be well worth it. Best of luck to you!

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Darlene, Wanted to get a small dog for my mom who lives alone. However I need a relatively obedient dog that won't do a lot of furniture/shoes damage, and can easily be house trained? What are the best small sized pets? Also one that wouldn't shed a lot.

Thanks!

Darlene Arden: You are obviously a very loving daughter. First of all, does your mother *want* a dog? The worst thing a well-intentioned person can do is surprise someone with a living, breathing sentient being if they don't want that much responsibility. And it depends upon your mother's physical abilities and her own interests. That should be a decision that she helps to make. What you are describing may not be what she wants since it sounds an awful lot like a stuffed animal. ;-) I would suggest talking with her to see what she wants and then contact a breed rescue group through www.akc.org since many wonderful dogs lose their home through no reason of their own. In fact, the best dog for her might be a cat if she'd prefer not having to walk someone, or train a dog. Cats are already litterbox trained and wonderfully interactive, loving pets for older people. I also like older dogs for older owners. :-)

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Our 10 year old, 14 pound, female Jack Russell is increasingly afraid of thunderstorms. She pants, paces, shakes and is unconsolable. Our vet says there's nothing he can do, but I have heard of tranquilizer's for dogs. Is she too small? Are they harmful? My children are afraid she will have a heart attack.

Darlene Arden: Thunder phobia is a real problem. Yes, there are things that you can do. You can get an Anxiety Wrap for her which will make her feel more secure. You can try to countercondition her to the sound of thunder. Tranquilizers can be used in certain cases but always with counterconditioning. You will need a canine behaviorist for help with that, preferably one of the board certified veterinary behaviorists. Otherwise, you can get wonderful help from one of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultant's members (www.iaabc.org). Check the consultant locator for one in your area. And good luck!

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Sterling, Va.: We have a miniature schnauzer - about 8.5 lbs and 10mos old. We just bought a new house and are looking for advice on how to make the transition on her easier. She is finally housebroken and not using her papers at all in the old house, but we are afraid she is going to be very confused in the new house. Any advice?

Thanks!

Darlene Arden: Congratulations on your new home! Take her immediately to one spot that you have chosen for her to use. Do that before she ever enters the house and every time you take her out. Same spot, secluded, use one cue word and give her a high value reward that she gets at no other time. (Like a tiny piece of cooked hot dog.)

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Alexandria, Va.: I have a 3 year-old-Chihuahua. She is on the tall and big side for a Chihuahua. We adopted her two years ago from our local shelter.

The problem is that she pulls at her leash terribly when we walk her. She does this so much she ends up in coughing fits. I'm a single parent of teenagers, so time for dog training school (and money) is very limited. Any suggestions?

Darlene Arden: Toy dogs and collars are a terrible mix since most Toy dogs have -- or are predisposed to -- a collapsing trachea. Your little dog should be wearing a harness not a collar. Premier products makes one that stops the dog from pulling which will be helpful while you train her. You can start training her to walk by your side in the house, off-lead. Pat your leg and call her name. This will give her the idea. But use the harness and leash whenever you take her outdoors.

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Baton Rouge, LA, Washington, D.C.: What can you tell me about Cavalier king Charles Spaniels?

Darlene Arden: Cavs are wonderful little dogs! They are true little Sporting dogs that would be happy hunting squirrels! They are also very affectionate. The major problem in the breed is that they are predisposed to a heart condition. For more information on the breed, go to: www.akc.org and go to Breed information. You can contact the breed club from there.

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Manassas, Va.: I don't know how to spell this dog breed so I'll do it phonetically. Che-wa-wa.

Anyhow when I was a kid, a friend of mine had a dog of that breed and it seemed to be a hyper little dog. Is this a characteristic of all little dogs or just that breed.

An example of this was that it would bark and bark and bark whenever I approached their house. Its not as if it never saw me before, I lived right next door and was over there all the time! Yet it would yelp and bark and bark until my fried picked it up.

Darlene Arden: Ahh, yes, a Chihuahua. :-) Their breed description calls for them to be "Terrier-like" which accounts for the feistiness that you saw. He was probably just anxious to play with you.

Little dogs have a very different view of the world -- everything is gigantic so you have to think of the world from their perspective. A little Chi only comes up to people's ankles!

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Maryland: I'm curious about the attitude that some owners of small dogs seem to have in that they appear to believe they're able to take their dogs anywhere. I LOVE my dog, but I'm shocked every time I see someone toting a small dog in home depot, etc. Why would something think that is ok?

Darlene Arden: Little dogs are portable companions as well as wonderful family members. The whole point of getting a little dog, for many people, is that portability, the fun of being able to share their lives with their dog. A dog needs human companionship and it's so much fun to be able to take the dog along. After all, it's not a refrigerator that they bought to stick in the kitchen. Whenever it's possible, they want their little dog with them. Try it, you and your dog will probably love it, providing your dog is well-mannered and the places you're going will allow dogs. :-)

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Ottawa, Canada: With respect to getting a dog for one questioner's mother, I would like to suggest an adult dog from a show breeder, one which didn't quite turn out the way they wanted, or one that has been retired from breeding. They are house trained, beyond the chewing stage, and have the basics of obedience. My second Pomeranian was just such a dog.

Darlene Arden: Excellent! I got my cat this way and she's a perfect fit in my household. A second home for an older dog is wonderful!

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Crofton, Md.: What small dog is good with kids and for adults with allergies to animal dander?

Darlene Arden: How old are the children? How active is the household?

As a general rule, dogs with hair cause fewer problems but the allergies are caused by the dander and all dogs have dander. I'd suggest narrowing down the field, choosing two or three breeds, and then finding reputable breeders and visiting. She how the children and adults react while around the dogs. This will also give you an opportunity to see if the particular breed is right for your family. Don't be too disappointed if none of them is right. Sometimes that happens, too.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Darlene, my in-laws have a female Daschund about 2 years old. She's a very excitable dog and every time visitors come over, she jumps around controllably and urinates all over the place often getting it all over herself. I don't mind the jumping around, but is there anything that can be done about the urination? Also, my in-laws didn't do the greatest job in house-training her. Is it too late? Are the two issue related? Thanks for helping!

Darlene Arden: Ahhh, two different issues. One is Anxious Urination. The visitors must be taught to ignore her for 5 minutes and she needs to be taught to sit when visitors come, or to settle on a specific mat. This will take time and patience. Clicker training can work wonders. Housetraining is another issue. They need to treat her as if she is a puppy and be sure she gets the idea this time around. It will, happily, take less time to retrain her. : -)

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Rockville, Md.: Are pugs and toddlers a bad mix? There's a pug rescue organization here in the Mid-Atlantic and they seem to have a policy against placing pugs in families with young children. I'm wondering why.

Darlene Arden: Generally speaking, Toy dogs and toddlers are a bad mix. Before the age of 7, children don't understand that they can inflict pain. The dog, if hurt, has no choice but to bite, and then the dog is blamed for something that wasn't his fault and the child can be injured. Also, anything a child can pick up, a child can drop. It can work out but small children and small dogs need constant supervision and most people just aren't aware of that or they stop if they think things are going well. Also, a small child creeping or just lying on the floor crying, sounds like a wounded animal to a dog. This is NOT a good thing.

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Washington, D.C.: I am eager to follow your recommendation and use a harness to train my little pug not to pull. Will he eventually learn to stop pulling, thus allowing me to switch back to a collar?

Darlene Arden: There's really no reason to switch back to a collar although you could try it once he learns to stop pulling.

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Alexandria, Va.: I have a small dog, but am hesitant to take her places because of the sentiments expressed by the previous writer. My 4.5 lb Pomeranian is well behaved and friendly. Where is it ok, not ok to take my "baby" when there isn't an expressly stated no pets rule?

Darlene Arden: If there's no rule, and your Pom is well, trained, then go ahead and take the dog. When there has been no stated rule and I've had a dog with me but been stopped by a shopgirl, I've said, "Fine." I leave but tell them that if my well-mannered dog isn't welcome, then my money isn't either. After all, they are the ones who didn't set a policy but I prefer to support businesses that allow well-mannered dogs.

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Potomac, Md.: Darlene,

Your question to the person in Crofton that asked about which breeds of dogs are best for people that have allergies puzzles me. I've always heard that Maltese, Bichons, and poodles are best - don't you agree?

Darlene Arden: Maltese, Bichons, Poodles, Yorkies, all have hair not fur, which is what I meant when I said dogs with hair, not fur. Sorry if I confused you. But even then some people can be allergic to those dogs so it's best to spend a little time around the dogs just to be sure..... I hope that clears up any confusion!

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Princeton, N.J.: I have a 16-year-old mini poodle. He has a heart condition and takes medicines for that but he is otherwise in good health. The problem is that he whines a great deal for no reason. This is especially true at night and he'll wake up from his sleep whining. I don't think it's related to pain because it's sporadic and he stops if you pick him up. Any suggestions?

Darlene Arden: Your dog is a senior and dogs will develop the same anxieties as elderly people. He may not be feeling well (a complete workup is always a good idea) but he may just be insecure. I have suggestions in The Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventive Care for Dogs to make life a little easier for a senior dog. He's probably losing his eyesight and would welcome a nightlight or two in the house. Leave an extra bowl of water out for him so he doesn't have to trek all the way to the kitchen at night. There are many things you can do to make life easier for him.

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Orlando, Fla.: Darlene: I have a five-month-old female Shih Tzu that is working out fairly well with paper training and learning not to chase our ten year old male neutered cat. This Shih Tzu would love to have a playmate and enjoys lots of play quality time when I am home. Is it too late to introduce an adolescent cat to this mix? The older cat, who is very social and docile, wants his space from the "in your face" puppy, but still is adapting well to the puppy and seems relieved that the puppy is learning better manners. The question is that the older cat has had serious episodes of stress illness from situations of being left alone in the house for a few days, (and did even worse at a kennel) and so I am wondering if introducing another cat, (a female adolescent cat) would possibly help both pets. Do you agree?

Darlene Arden: You might want to slowly introduce a kitten which would be easier for your older cat. Remember, if the cat is really disturbed, he can go *up* so be sure you have lots of places for your cat to do that, like a cat tree with several levels, places your Shih Tzu can't get to. Eventually, they can all become friends but it takes time and patience. Why not wait and see how things begin to work out with your puppy and your cat instead? And be sure to get your puppy involved in a dog sport. Also, bring out an interactive toy and play with them together. Be sure good things happen for your cat when the puppy is in the room.

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Burke, Va.: Dear Darlene,

I adopted a darling little peekapoo when she was 5 years old. She's now 12. She's always had this issue, but it is beginning to be more of a problem since we adopted a Katrina kitty recently. Button often "sleeps" with her eyes open. At times she even lifts her head to follow motion in the room, but she's completely outside of consciousness. She has a completely vacant look in her eyes, sometimes I forget to look at her eyes to see if she's in this state and I will touch her in an affectionate manner, but she will snarl and bite me if I don't get out of the way quick enough when I touch her. Finally she will "wake up" and be very upset that she's been so vicious. Is this a common behavior in dogs when being woken from sleep, if it is that? Should I be concerned that perhaps she's not sleeping but in some kind of epileptic fit? What do you recommend, beside not touching her when in doubt. I love this little girl like she were my child. She is normally the most sweet, kind, devoted little dog, when she's "awake" ... What do you recommend?

Darlene Arden: You've likely awakened her from a deep sleep and scared her! Talk to her before you try to touch her if she's sleeping. Also, you might want to take her to a veterinary ophthalmologist to have her vision checked.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Darlene,

How come mini-dogs are so expensive (or it seems smaller dogs are cheaper than, say, Labs)? Thanks!

Darlene Arden: All dogs that are not being adopted from breed rescue or a shelter, or older retired dogs from breeders which will come with a lower adoption fee, will have some cost involved. There are two reasons for cost and you have to be someone who is very careful and does a lot of research. A reputable breeder will figure in the costs associated with breeding: stud fee, health clearances, maybe an emergency visit to the vet during whelping if there's a problem, etc. And you will get a wonderful puppy who is bred just as carefully as his littermate who is going on to a show career. The other instance is the unscrupulous backyard breeder or puppy mill who is in it to make money. Reputable breeders LOSE money on each litter! And beware the "designer" dog. That's just a mixed breed with a big pricetag. If you want a mixed breed, please go to a shelter.

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Arlington, Va.: I also have an adorable, nearly-two-year-old Pug named Maude, who is the love of my life!! She wears a harness and collar. I'd love not to make her wear the collar, which I'm sure feels heavy to her; however, I live in a very urban area and worry about how to attach her tags, license, etc., which I feel she needs to wear, for her protection and mine. She is micro-chipped. Any advice for me and my poochie?? I also am disabled, by the way, and use either a walker or motorized chair for mobility, and I want to learn how to walk Maude using the chair so I can take her places. However, I'm worried about having her get away from me and getting hurt....thanks for any advice you have!!

Darlene Arden: Hi! Her tags can attach where the leash attaches on the harness.

Also, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants has members who work with the disabled or can direct you to groups that specifically work with the disabled and their dogs. :-) Good luck!

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Kensington, Md.: Hi Darlene,

Could you please elaborate on what is clicker training. Thank you for the informative discussion.

Darlene Arden: Clicker training is the informal way of saying Operant Conditioning. The dog is the one who is operant. The clicker is an event marker to break through the language barrier and tell the dog he's doing exactly the right thing at the right time. For more detailed information, you can either read it in Small Dogs, Big Hearts or the Angell book, OR go to: www.clickertraining.com. It's so much fun for both the dog and the owner! Wait until you see how easy it is to train your dog.

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Washington, D.C.: My dog got neutered last Thursday. Everything went well and we've been paying very close attention to him, but he looks so sad with that cone on. He bumps around the house and can't really play with his chew toys the way he usually does. How long do we have to keep using the cone if he's showing no signs of trying to lick the wound?

Darlene Arden: This is definitely a question for your veterinarian since all dogs will vary.

Everyone should have a really good rapport with their veterinarian. Each of us is our companion's advocate.

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Beltsville, Md.: We have a male fawn pug who is just about to turn 6 months old. When do we neuter him? He still squats to urinate, rather than lifting his leg, though we have recently noticed secretions coming that region that I've heard indicate maturity. Also, I've heard you can get their nasal passaged clipped during the neutering procedure. What are your thoughts?

Darlene Arden: You can have him neutered now. And talk to your veterinarian about clipping the nasal passages. It sounds like your little one has stenotic nares. That should be taken care of by your vet. :-)

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Washington D.C.: What is the best way to cure toy dog teething? I have tried toys and treats, however, in your opinion what is the best plan to cure the "baby bites"?

Darlene Arden: Yelp as if you were a puppy. Then, give him an acceptable toy to play with. If this doesn't work after a few tries, after you yelp, pick yourself up and walk away from him for a few seconds. You will, in effect, be removing his favorite playtoy - you! That will make him think and he'll begin to understand that he did something unacceptable. He will want your attention and will learn. But don't do it for more than a few seconds because dogs forget what they have done in mere seconds.

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Vienna, Va.: Darlene,

Is it just me or is it dreadfully hard to house train male Yorkies? Mine is going on 8 years old and to this day he will lift his leg more often than not instead of tell me he wants to go outside. I have house trained another dog successfully using the crate method, but this dog never took to a crate (and believe me, I tried).

Thanks

Darlene Arden: It's not just you. Keep a diary of when he "goes" and try to anticipate it. If push comes to shove and you can't get him on a regular schedule, he would be a good candidate for doggy underpants. Luckily, they make them in cute fabrics so they're not hideous.

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Falls Church, Va.: Are there any special organizations for adopting a Shih-tzu or Yorkshire Terrier from? I haven't noticed any yet. Thank you.

Isn't true that Shih-tzus are less yappy than other small dogs?

Darlene Arden: You will want to go to Breed Rescue to adopt ANY specific breed. You will find them by going to: www.akc.org and clicking on Breeds. Find the breed club of your choice. If there isn't contact info for Rescue then there will be for the Club secretary. You can contact that person. Or there may be a url for the breed's Web site with rescue information posted there.

I'm not sure that any one breed can be considered less yappy. I think it depends upon the individual dog and circumstances.

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Orlando, Fla.: Darlene: Thanks for your spot-on response: Just wanted to give some follow up info for your very sound, good advice. The older cat's stress illness is that he has had two episodes of idiopathic vestibular syndrome, and after the kennel episode, no longer will jump up on anything for fear of falling, which happened from the dizziness. We are playing with the two together,(chasing a short cotton rope) but it is pretty well mismatched since the cat is "physically disabled" (really a psychological issue). Thanks again for your suggestions.

Darlene Arden: Thanks for the follow-up! I'd suggest bringing in a feline behavior specialist with some more ideas for you. Good luck!

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Columbia, Md.: Our 14-pound Llahso Apso/Pekinese/Cockapoo mix (16-1/2 yrs. old) has started walking in circles. The vet mentioned this can be a temporary condition. Is there anything we can do?

Darlene Arden: Yes! You can ask for a referral to a veterinary neurologist for a definitive diagnosis and perhaps a treatment plan. Good luck!

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Upper Marlboro, Md.: To Crofton, Md.: I have a 4-year-old Bichon Frise who is great with kids, doesn't shed, and doesn't cause any allergic reactions in my husband or friends who tend to have pet allergies. I highly recommend this dog. What do you think, Ms. Arden?

Darlene Arden: I love Bichons. Of course I love all dogs so it's sort of a loaded question. LOL I think it depends entirely upon the individual dog and family and how they interact as well as the amount of time put into the dog. And, since it has hair not fur, the Bichon is always a candidate for someone with allergies.

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Darlene Arden: I hate to say this, but I'm 20 minutes over my allotted time! I'm having so much fun with all of you! And I hate to see this end. I hope I'll be invited back someday.

Thank you all so much! Please hug your dogs and cats for me. :-)

Warmly,

Darlene

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