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How to greet Parisian pups

Updated: January 13, 2013 6:07AM

Q. Over Christmas vacation I plan to fly to Paris with my girlfriend. I will leave my dog Ollie with a neighbor. I don’t speak French, nor have I ever been to France before. I’ve been told the French are unforgiving with Americans who mangle their language. What about the dogs? Isn’t the best way to connect to the people is through their dogs?

A. Parisian dogs must be approached with caution. Oh, it’s not about the dogs, it’s about the canine culture in Paris, where it is not considered polite to approach a stranger’s dog without asking permission.

To approach within dog visitation range, you must first acknowledge the human holding the leash. Try a friendly “Bonjour” to break the ice.

If you sense the dog keeper is receptive to your patting the dog, here’s a handy phrase to remember: Tu as un chien adorable. Puis-je pet votre chien? (Loose translation: You have an adorable dog. Can I pet your dog?) Have a treat handy — a smidge of liver pate in your pocket, perhaps.

Q. In regards to your recent advice about leaving a dog in a crate for 12 hours, I am wondering if you can remain contained in a room without a bathroom break for the same amount of time. Any veterinarian I have consulted about potty breaks has said dogs should be released from their crates every four to five hours. Dogs go as often as we do. Where do you get your information from?

A. OK, what column have you been reading? Nowhere, no how does Dog Lady encourage people to leave their dog in a crate 12 hours a day. A healthy, young, house-trained dog could endure up to 12 hours occasionally.

However, as a routine, such lengthy incarceration is inhumane. If you must keep your pet cooped up while you are at work, school, or anytime you’re out of the house, hire a trustworthy dog walker to come into your house and walk your pet. And, by the way, a careful reading of this column is appreciated.

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