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Wife needs husband’s help to end canine fear

Q. I grew up with dogs as my best friends. I pity the people who do not know, and do not understand the love that dogs can bring into our lives. My wife is one of those people. In her defense, she witnessed a severe dog attack on a man when she was a child and never recovered.

After six years of marriage, I want to be sensitive to her feelings but I can no longer rob myself of canine companionship.

So far I have not convinced her to try counseling with me, and I figure I cannot help her alone with such a traumatic experience

A. A dog will come into your lives if you and your wife communicate very openly and compromise. Don’t pity her. Empower her.

Some Saturday, when the weather is nice for walk, get up early and take your wife along to the local dog gathering place. Stand on the sidelines and watch how the owners and their pets relate to each other as well as to other dogs and people.

You may need traditional counseling; you also should visit a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to talk about fears. If your wife understands the reasons why aggressive dogs attack, she will have a sense of control to enjoy, train and welcome a pet into your household.

Q. My little Gizmo was an abandoned terrier mix. As I looked around the shelter and saw the little shaky dog, I fell in love with her. She is the joy in my life. She enjoys carrying one or two or even three socks or slippers in her mouth and whimpers as she tries to “bury” them in her bed or the couch. She even pushes imaginary dirt over them. She is 5 years old. Why she does this?

A. When dogs do things such as burying slippers in the couch, or dancing around their food, or letting out a happy yowl when you enter the room, they celebrate life. Gizmo acts out the rituals of her ancestors because she’s completely comfortable to be a dog. You have made her secure. She no longer feels abandoned, unloved or unwanted.

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