“It has been be a real savior,” Bill wrote. “Sabrina will lay down and watch for hours. She really loves the show. It calms her down and I believe she is really watching it.”
Gary Jacobs of Chevy Chase, Md., uses DogTV, too. His dog, Peter, never had any interest in TV before — “but when we put this on, he actually pays attention,” Gary wrote.
Peter’s particular trigger? Suitcases. If he sees one, he freaks out.
Wrote Gary: “This hasn’t been a problem for the past 18 months or so, but we do have to sneak them past him when he’s out of sight.”
Brooksy, a hound mix rescue who lives on Capitol Hill with his owner, a reader named Karen, has serious fear-of-missing-out issues, destroying things if he’s left home alone.
“So we go downstairs to our English basement rec room, turn on our smart speaker to play NPR and leave through the basement door,” wrote Karen.
Brooksy may listen to NPR, but he isn’t the smartest dog. Karen doesn’t have to keep up the subterfuge by returning through the same door.
“We can come in through the normal back door,” she wrote. “He doesn’t seem to care or remember the next time. It’s enough that he thinks, when we leave, that we haven’t left him behind. He’s always snoozing happily when we return.”
The District’s Ken Bentsen has a yellow Lab named Denali who is prone to fits of anxiety, especially when his daughter’s great Pyrenees puppy, Milo, comes over.
“We have found Philip Glass at high volume tranquilizes both dogs quite nicely,” wrote Ken.
Ellen Rigterink of Potomac, Md., lost her dog, Charlie Panda, in April. The Old English sheepdog/Scottish deerhound mix was frightened by loud noises like thunderstorms and fireworks.
“My daughter, Amanda, is a veterinary behaviorist in Indiana,” Ellen wrote. “She suggested playing slow beat classical piano compositions in a loop, and it worked very well.”
They used an album called “Calm Dog — Through a Dog’s Ear,” which they downloaded from iTunes. Wrote Ellen: “Charlie would wedge himself in the staircase landing with the music playing on my iPad for hours during stormy nights.”
Cecilia Parajon shares her Bethesda, Md., home with two 6-year-old “cocker spanielish” rescues: sisters Gracie and Lucy.
“I am trying to teach them to stay composed, calm and in the mindful state while I’m away,” Cecilia wrote. So she plays Kundalini yoga music, a chant called “Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung.”
Wrote Cecilia: “It is a beautiful, calm mantra chanted over and over again. You can find it on YouTube. The mantra means ‘Sun, Moon, Earth, Infinity: All that is in infinity, I am Thee.’
“No more howling and pacing! Once they hear the music they come get their treat and lie down. I can even hear an ‘om’ as they grab the treat!”
The things we do for our dogs . . .
Patricia Cancellier of Kensington, Md., swore she’d never jump through hoops to get her dog to do something. And then, during the pandemic quarantine, the family moved to a new house with stairs.
“My then 10-year-old dog, Kai, had never lived with stairs and was freaked out by them,” Patricia wrote.
Adding treads to the stairs helped. Kai can climb up with no difficulty. Getting down is another story. Kai whimpers miserably at the top until Patricia climbs up, stands next to him and starts to take the first step down. Then he confidently runs down the stairs.
Wrote Patricia: “I am not touching him or helping him in any way. I am pretending to take a step. That’s all. I feel like an idiot, but I do it because the whining drives me nuts.”
In Monday’s column, I mentioned that in our house, we put the sound of My Lovely Wife Ruth’s voice on the computer in the study, then leave by the back door, fooling Archie. Ruth is the alpha, I wrote.
That prompted Marcy Leverenz of Springfield, Va. — who has her own nervous rescue dog, Trudy — to wonder who our household’s alpha really is.
“The humans are the ones who are sneaking out the back door and sneaking back in,” Marcy wrote. “Think about it.”
And cat owners: Don’t worry. We’ll get to your stories next week.
For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly