Dear Readers: A barking dog can be a good “alarm system” in your home, but a dog barks for many reasons: When a stranger approaches, when the dog hears a noise outside or when the dog hears other dogs barking, among many other triggers. Barking is good, but too much can be annoying.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (, there are many ways to limit a dog’s barking. Here’s an easy one:

Allow the dog to bark two or three times, then say (don’t shout), “Quiet,” calmly but firmly. Touch the dog’s muzzle and say, “Quiet” once more. Step away, and call the dog to you. Give a small treat after the dog sits. This should help your pet understand not only that it’s okay to bark to alert, but also that it is pleasing you.

Smudgie, who loves pulling apart her yarn toy, is the Heloise “Pet of the Week.” (Family photo)

Dear Readers: Trina S., via email, shared a picture of her kitten “Smudgie,” adopted from Animal Care Services in Long Beach, Calif.

Smudgie loves her red yarn toy. Every day she deposits little pieces of red yarn all over the house as she tears it apart. I’m sure Trina is busy vacuuming!

To see Smudgie and our other Pet Pals, visit and click on “Pet of the Week.”

Dear Heloise: I live in an adult community. Someone's grandson, for an Eagle Scout project, had other Scouts help him paint a white box on our driveway and the number of the house. This solves the problem of EMTs, or police or a guest, finding the house they are looking for.

Rita, via email

Rita: A fine young man, and a wonderful project that will help so many!

Dear Heloise: For the past eight or 10 years, I've always made the same two New Year's resolutions. The first is not to procrastinate, and the second is to become more organized.

As I've told family and friends each year, I haven't gotten around to the first one yet!

Rick in Ravenna, Ohio

Dear Heloise: When I put on jewelry, particularly earrings, and look in the mirror over the bathroom sink, I make sure the stopper is closed. Those tiny stud earring backs are gone forever if dropped!

Also, I always put the lid down on the bathroom commode. Items can hit and bounce right in!

A Reader, via email

Dear Heloise: I put old telephone directories under my computer's monitor and laptop's cooling tray to raise their heights to eye level.

Mary, via email

Mary: This can help lessen neck strain, too!

Dear Heloise: After cleansing my face with a makeup wipe, I use the wipe to touch up the sink basin, too! This keeps the sink clean in between washings.

Jennifer R. in Pennsylvania

Dear Readers: Visit to check out my new and improved website! Peruse the pets, pick up a pamphlet and ponder the possibilities!

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to

2019, King Features Syndicate