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For dogs, there’s comfort in a little gentle chewing

Updated: September 18, 2012 1:40PM

Q. My dog, Issy, loves to nibble on gloves, corners of pillows etc. She does not destroy any item, just bites down on them. Why?

A. You describe Issy’s nibbling so daintily. She merely wants a taste, not a gulp. She really doesn’t have a problem because this is what dogs do when they want to get close to us. They chew something that reminds them of us (or reminds them of chicken, it’s hard to tell). The items she chomps have your smell, your essence, your aura. Her nibbling is probably a comfort thing. Keep the soft snackables out of her range. Or substitute appropriate dog-specific items, such as bully sticks or pliable, resilient toys, when she gums down.

Q. Our wonderful golden retriever died of old age a few months ago. Too many friends have tried to comfort me by telling me how relieved I must be with Gertie gone. They say my husband and I finally can be empty-nesters. My husband doesn’t want us to get another dog, but I am bereft. How do I convince my husband to get another dog?

A. As long as you make a commitment to care totally for the dog, you can bring your husband around. You can promise that his freedom won’t be compromised in any way since you will be doing all the work with the dog. Remember, you really must follow through with your promise.

When he sees how much fun you are having with the new four-legged family member, he might have no choice but join in. Eventually, he should fall in love all over again. Follow your heart on this one.

Q. Why do dogs pee on people? My mom’s dog peed on my leg one day at the lake. I was just standing by the fire pit and he came over and I was petting his head — when I realized my leg was getting wet.

A. They lift their legs because you present an immediate vertical opportunity — the same as a fire hydrant, They do it because you smell good. It’s definitely a dog thing.

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