Updated: February 5, 2013 10:46AM
Q. I read in your column that you disapprove of dressing dogs in winter clothing. Your cockeyed rationale seems to be that dogs feel uncomfortable in clothes. Considering recent low temperatures, are you revising your stance?
A. Despite your dressing down, Dog Lady has not reconsidered dressing up. It’s redundant to put clothes on an animal, considering natural hair or furs clothe a dog naturally. The only exception would be very small dogs with short-haired coats — such as Chihuahuas or Italian greyhounds — for which a warm sweater on a very long walk might be a good idea. Even then, these hot-blooded dogs probably would much prefer their own coats to manufactured overcoats.
In cold weather, however, put protective layers on the paws to insulate dogs from salt and ice melt pellets. These chemicals can burn, causing yelps of pain and holding up feet. Here’s a creative solution: Cut off the stems of small, deflated party balloons and fit the balloon bottoms snugly over her dog’s paws so the dog can still be in touch with the ground but has a thin layer of rubbery protection blocking out the chemicals.
Q. How do I tell if my dog likes me? My 1-year-old Australian shepherd, Buddy, doesn’t look at me with the same adoring eyes as my other dogs have done.
A. Our dogs are not punitive creatures by nature. They love indiscriminately. We hear heart-wrenching stories of intense canine loyalty. If Buddy is even-tempered, comes when called and is unafraid to eat out of your hand, then you can assume your dog trusts you and is fond of you. Also, by following your lead, your dog lets you know all is cool.
Your pet is still a pup and the bonding process is not complete. You probably don’t look adoringly at Buddy, either. As the two of you grow closer and become more attached to each other, the eyes will mirror the deepening relationship.