Sometimes when we are out walking, passers-by recognize Angus. It’s the ears, I’m pretty sure, those funny, floppy, quirky ears.
People stop. They want to say hello. I usually say no, because Angus would almost certainly bark at them for five minutes before they could approach.
Fortunately, there’s e-mail, and plenty of people have said hello that way, sending advice, photos of their own puppies, and great training tips. Angus never barks at e-mail. Here’s a sampling:
• On getting a pup to sleep through the night: “I have been doing dog rescue for 25 years and specialize in puppies. In other words, I have a Ph.D. in poopology. Make sure your crate is just big enough for him to stand and turn around in. No blanket or any other floor padding. Put puppy on your schedule. Take him out before you go to bed, put him in his naked crate, turn out all the lights and go to bed. Get up in six hours and take him right out. Do this for a week. For the next week, extend the time to seven hours. Do for a week, then presto, you and he get to sleep all night.” – Jeanne Weigum
• On housebreaking: “Feed the puppy three times a day at exactly the same time every day. What goes in on time comes out on time. Take the puppy outside immediately after feeding, to same business area every time. Don’t forget the most important rule of dog training: The trainer needs to be smarter than the dog.” – Denny Prescher
• On chew toys: “No knuckle bones for puppies or adult dogs. As a veterinarian who has extracted many fractured teeth over the years, I find that a common cause of those fractures are the very bones Angus is pictured chewing in today’s edition of the Star Tribune. Fractured teeth hurt, even those sharp little puppy teeth, and removing them can be very expensive. The rule is if you would not chew on it yourself for fear of breaking a tooth, neither should your dog.” – Jeff Schnobrich
• On getting exercise in winter: “Rosedale’s Sunday 9 a.m.-11 a.m. walking times are super-awesome for loose leash walking training.” – Cynthia Baxter
• On getting through the rebellious stage: “When my favorite dog, Bonjie, went through his teenage year, I didn’t know if I’d even keep him. One of my fellow teachers told me that this was the time to let him know I was the boss — or I’d never be. She had trained many dogs, and with her help Bonjie and I lived through that time. He became the best dog I ever had.” – Luann Rice
• On getting carsick: “I found that Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snap cookies helped. Ginger is a natural stomach settler and my dog Jager went nuts for the cookies. They are a one-bite snack and don’t get too many crumbs over everything.” – Shannin Seeholzer
• On the eternal problem of squirrels: “We distract with a squeeze bottle of peanut butter. The minute Ollie notices a dog or squirrel, we say, ‘Look,’ and he right away looks for the tube. We just slowly let a little out and he starts to lick away. Our trainer’s thought is that if we keep distracting him with the tube, he’ll stop the bad barking behavior. I’m doubtful and kinda foresee us walking with a tube for years and years.” – Erin Skubic
• On dangerous substances: “Did you know that dogs can be very sensitive to cigarette butts? My daughter’s dog swallowed a butt and became very ill.” – John Baird
• No advice, just a laugh: “I’ve been taking our Bichon, George, for his second run of obedience class, and one day George sleep-walked through the entire class. On the recall, where other dogs ran enthusiastically to their owner and obediently sat looking up into their owners’ eyes, George pretended he didn’t hear me. Finally, after some prodding, he slowly moved in my direction, stopped halfway to scratch his ear, looked around and finally came and sat in front of me. When I offered him a treat, he spit it out on the floor.” – Sue Kluegel
Laurie Hertzel is a dog lover, not a dog expert. She is chronicling the first year with her rescue dog, Angus, on these pages. Follow along at startribune.com/puppy
Coming Dec. 8: A scary encounter with an off-leash dog.