Dear Dog Lady,
As a daughter, parent, grandparent, aunt, great aunt, I want to thank you very much for reminding people in your column, twice that I know of, that dogs are pets, not babies. I have attended graduation parties, juried art shows with expensive personal displays of vendors, holiday outdoor parties, and I have even rode my bike on the bike path in the unwanted company of dogs brought by clueless adults. These people with dogs intrude on countless other people. Personally I think dog parks are for dogs; people parties and events are for people. —Diane
A: Much appreciation for your careful reading of the column. We dog devotees must try very hard not to be blinded by the love. A canine keeper can consider his or her dog as a person in a fur suit and extend all human niceties. But we must be always vigilant and respectful about others’ boundaries. And, gulp, not everybody loves dogs. Dog Lady is here to remind pet people that four-legged friends belong to another species. They must be treated accordingly — although, gee, it is sometimes easy to forget they can’t speak English.
I have three Chihuahuas. And my two females hate each other. They fight all the time, growling and biting each other. If I pick up Lola and my husband picks up Ava and we stand anywhere close to each other, they try to fight in our arms. Is there anything we can do so they stop fighting? Ava is 4 and Lola is 2. Please help! —Adrienne
A: When there is more than one dog at home, you must ensure all dogs are on a level playing field. Each should be spayed and neutered. Each should have a safe place — with a bed or crate and a food bowl. Every dog, even the smallest, needs its own place in the world.
Dog Lady can’t stop your two dogs from fighting. Only you can do that by not trying anything dumb such as picking them up and allowing them to fight like gladiators in your arms. The dogs will work out their issues if they are allowed to spar safely — on ground level. Lola is more a puppy than Ava so they squabble about status and leadership. Please don’t think of their emotions in human terms of “hate.” Nipping is normal. Growling is normal, too. Out and out bloody combat is not normal. If you see your dogs heading down that violent road, seek out your veterinarian and a trained behaviorist.