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Poodle thinks she’s the boss

Q. We have a 7-year-old standard poodle who recently decided it is we who should heel to her command. She pulls terribly on the leash and growls or barks as other dogs approach. Who made her queen?

A. You crowned the poodle by allowing her to rule you. So hold your head high and be the queen mother. Retraining her to walk more politely on the leash could be accomplished with a new leash. There are various halter-type leashes configured to prevent dogs from pulling. You can go to your local pet store, large pet supermarket, or page through any catalog of animal-centric products to find various possibilities. Brands to look for are Halti, Sporn, Gentle Leader and Orvis.

Of course, the best way to get her to stop pulling is to grind to a halt immediately when she starts to haul you or growls at another dog. Become an immobile marble statue.

When she looks around at you quizzically and starts to pay attention to you, seize the teachable moment. The poodle will learn quickly that she’s going nowhere by pulling you.

Q. I am sad for a woman at the local dog park whose dog Tom was diagnosed with bone cancer. The veterinarian gave her the choice of either putting Tom to sleep or opting for an expensive and complicated operation to remove his front right leg. She decided in favor of the operation.

I am moved by this. At the same time, I wonder whether this will be worth the trouble of an arduous recovery for the hobbled dog not to mention the toll it will take on the woman, mainly her bank account. What do you think? When is enough enough?

A. You can never second-guess love. So stop trying to figure this one out. The woman at the dog park chose the option she believed was right for her and her dog. Would this be your choice? Maybe not. Still, you can’t fault a dog keeper who believes in the boundless possibilities of a three-legged dog.



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