Dear Dog Lady,
We currently adopted a one-and-one-half-year-old male cock-a-poodle.¬ We have one problem with him. We usually throw our dirty clothes on the floor in a bathroom closet.¬ My dog, in the middle of the night, when everyone is asleep in the household, seems to go pick out a piece of clothing (mostly female/male underwear) and chew holes in them.¬ Needless to say, we are running low on underwear. Why does the dog do this?¬ We have hit him with the piece of clothes he chews, (not hard), but he seems to go right back to the same habit.¬ Now, he even chews holes in any kind of clothing he finds on the floor.¬ Could you give us some advice on how to stop the dog from chewing clothes?¬ I know you will recommend not to keep any clothes on the floor.¬ But sometimes, in a hurry, we forget to do that.
Chewing clothing is a love thing, a loneliness thing, an anxiety thing, a wanting-to-be-close-to-you thing. Dog Lady wrote recently about the dog that chews underwear and she dips into this topic again to answer your letter because there are a couple of lessons here: Do not hit your dog — ever. With anything. This cowardly punishment is shameful and hurtful. Do not swat your dog again.
Also, we who are more evolved must do everything we can to help our dogs become more successful at living with us. This means we must bend and scoop up dirty clothes so the dog doesn't chew them. You say you are in a hurry and forget to pick up. No excuses, please.
Dear Dog Lady,
Oh, I get it. This column is fluff and not serious information about dogs. You never let people know what you don't know and you don't seem to know much. You're not a veterinarian or a behaviorist so I don't have to take your information seriously.
As someone who¬ works with dogs who have behavior problems and who has seen firsthand the damage misinformation can cause,¬ I believe columns like "Ask Dog Lady" have the potential to¬ do more harm than good.
You won't find dogs on the couch in "Ask Dog Lady." But you will find people chided for not doing right by their pets. Dog Lady tries to keep it light while she doles out the scold. Never once in the six years of "Ask Dog Lady" has any report surfaced about a dog put in harm's way because of advice offered in this column. If you're a serious dog person with a serious dog problem, Dog Lady assumes you'll sniff up other serious solutions.
Our dogs bring out the beast and the best in us. And Dog Lady is a mere mortal. She always admits what she doesn't know. Heck, she can't even coax her terrier to roll over. But she knows what she loves: Liver breath, the clatter of claws, the butt-sniff salute, the gentle sound of lapping in the water bowl, the sacred morning walk, the contentment of listening to dog yips while drifting off to sleep, the little doggish quirks that give smiles every day, and so much more. Be good to your pets and they will be good to you.
Listen to "Ask Dog Lady" on Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. on WCAP 980AM. Visit www.askdoglady.com to ask a question, make a comment, or enjoy reading Dog Lady's archives.