Dog Lady offers advice on reviving your relationship with your dog, walking your "inner dog," and speaking a dog's language.
Dear Dog Lady,
I feel like I’m trapped in an old marriage with my dog. I’m bored. Things used to be exciting when Ollie, a Cairn terrier, was a puppy. The world was new for both of us. I had never owned a dog before and Ollie was new to the world. Those were the good old days. After six years, we seem to have settled into a dull routine.
On our walks, I grow impatient when he pokes along. I am weary of his obsessions with squirrels and squeaky toys. He mentally tires me out with all his bristling terrier intensity and obstinacy.
Ollie is a great dog. I can never imagine giving him up. I figure we’re stuck together for the duration. But how can I revive the relationship?
Felicia, it’s good to be honest about such things. Having any living creature constantly in your face and sharing your space is taxing. Such is the nature of the commitment beast. Many of us hide our boredom, but you give voice to those who think these things but don’t say them.
The glory of dogs is that they never tire of the same-old-same-old. Be mindful that Ollie is experiencing no similar weariness. He doesn’t notice anything is different, though he may pick up vibes of your impatience and indifference. Even then, your dog forgives you. Ollie is not the one who bears any responsibility to jazz up the relationship. The burden is entirely upon you.
Boredom is usually a symptom of something else. Dog Lady advises you to eat more vegetables, embark on an exercise program, read a sizzling book, or pet a puppy.
Dear Dog Lady,
The other day, I overheard someone urging her friend to “walk your inner dog.” That got me thinking. Do all of us have inner dogs? If so, what are they telling us?
Betsy, inner dogs tell us to finish everything in our bowl, sniff out possibilities, leap at the moment, and leave our mark all over the world.
Dear Dog Lady,
I had a dream in which my basset hound, Sadie, spoke to me. She didn’t say much, but I keep hearing her words. She said simply, “Hello, Mark.’’ Her tone was matter-of-fact, yet warm and familiar. I know you don’t claim to be a pet psychic or a Dr. Freud for hairy creatures, but how do you interpret this?
Mark, our dogs’ lack of English language is one of the great frustrations of dog owners. Naturally, we want to get inside the heads of these wordless creatures to understand what they really think and feel.
In your waking world, Sadie doesn’t banter in English, Urdu, French or Swahili, but she does communicate with you. In body language, dogs speak volumes when their ears are up or flattened, when their tails wag or go limp, when their backs arch or relax, when they curl up in a hiding place or enthusiastically join the crowd. Each yip, bark, squeal, growl, groan or sigh is part of Sadie’s language.
Sensitive dog owners develop an ear and eye to interpret what their dogs are saying to them, especially: “Hey, gotta go potty. Take me out. Now!”
Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her Web site is www.askdoglady.com. Contact her at email@example.com.