Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert


Dog training for dog loversCYBERSESSIONS – COVID-Safe Training/Behavior Coaching 

  • Need help with potty-training/paper-training your puppy?
  • Is puppy chewing stressing you out?
  • Have questions about how to prepare for your puppy’s arrival?
  • Want tips on raising a happy dog?

I can help. 

Platforms: Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Facebook

Fee: $75.00 US. Paypal or Venmo

Contact me by writing a comment below. I review all comments so none of your personal information will be visible here and I will email you privately when I see you request.

A few professional details: I am focused on offering experienced-based puppy info. Author of nine pet-related books including the best-selling My Smart Puppy, How to Train Your Dog to Come and Childproofing Your Dog, Sarah knows all about dog and puppy training. Seen on PBS Why We Love Cats and Dogs, ABC Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and trainer of celebrities’ dogs (Harrison Ford, Diane Sawyer, Candice Bergen).

Contact me and we will discuss your situation and how best to reach your goals. – Sarah Wilson, MA. (wikipedia page)


  1. I love your My Smart Puppy training games. Will we see an app in the future that would allow me to reference these training games while I’m out at the park training my pup? Descriptions and videos of the training games in an easily accessible app would be awesome. I’d be willing to pay as much for the app as I did for the book! Maybe even more 😉

    • Like how you think, Sue! Lots of things in the works. 😀

      • Hello Sara my name is David and I have a chuwawa. Her brother just died a few days ago. They are both not even a year old and now she is acting the same way as he did before he died. She is throwing up white foamy substance and no r drinking and not eating. He phesies is runny. She is grunting when she breathes. I don’t know what islt is. Could you please reply to this. Thank you so much.

  2. Hi Sarah,

    My girlfriend suggested you so here goes. I took home, well, yes, bought a dog for my daughter. I took her because I was in the store for something else and she was much older (7 months) and the guy said he would give me a really cheap deal. I am a sucker, she was a cute cairn terrier from Kansas, hence her name is Ruby. No one wanted her and she did not look happy. Anyway, fast forward one year, dog boot camp (3 weeks), the LI Dog Whisperer (who stopped taking my calls and replying to me after I paid him and his initial visit, many rugs and tons of carpet cleaner. Ruby is now an integral part of our family. Has adjusted in every way but one. SHE WILL NOT HO– USEBREAK. Help. I am at the part where I must adopt her out, don’t want to but I can’t do this to her or me anymore. I keep giving her more and more chances, less and less freedom, I feel so badly. My husband died and I wanted to give my daughter something to ease the pain, I CAN’T DO THIS TO HER TOO. Please help, I will do anything to keep our family together.


    • Hi Meredith –

      I’m e-mailing you a few more questions so I know where we are and where to start.

      Hang on –


    • Breathe Meredith❤ We’ve all been there at one point or another❤ Bringing a dog into your family is such a special addition! However, just like children, it won’t always be easy – but it is worth it! Please believe me when I tell you that Ruby isn’t being mean or trying to hurt or frustrate you.

      The best thing you have done is to reach out to Sarah! Your post is a week or so old, so
      I am praying that you and Sarah already have a plan in place to show you how to help Ruby (or you’re already having success!?) Maybe there is a medical issue behind this and a trip to your vet couldn’t hurt. Ruby has no one else in the world to help her-please don’t give up, or worse, teach your children that it is OK to give up on family.

      Learning how to teach your dog yourself is so rewarding. To have her look to you for the stimulation of learning new things and having your dog feel loved, instead of tolerated is something necessary for any animal brought into a human family.

      Please always remember that Ruby (or any animal) isn’t a child and most likely won’t have other animals around your home to model behavior from. However, just like your own child, they deserve your patience, care, support and love

  3. Great pic and love the site!

  4. Sarah, I keep sharing your articles because they’re insightful and sensible — which are important components in dog/puppy/people training! Love this site!

  5. Dear Sarah, I just recently found this page and I have a question for you. We have a 1 1/2 year old male Sheltie, we have had him since he was 8 weeks old- he refuses to use the bathroom in our own yard, we have tried everything and he just won’t do it. He has no problem using our neighbors yard and that’s not a good thing! Do you have any imput or suggestions for us? Thank you

    • Hi, I’m not an expert like Sarah but I have / had this exact problem with my rescue. She absolutely refused to use the yard when she first came to us but was just fine pottying in everyone elses ornamental gardens!
      Have you noticed if he likes to go on a particular surface? (for Nina it was tall grasses, piles of leaves and mulch).
      We grabbed a couple of her …er deposits..and put them in our yard. Also, and this is totally gross but it helped, we grabbed other doggie deposits we saw on our walks and sort of mined the yard when we noticed she would add to other dog deposits on our walks. It took about 6 weeks and she is still not a huge fan of using our yard, but she has done it a few times. It isn’t consistent yet with my pup but maybe something in this message will help? Good luck!

  6. Hey Sarah,

    Terrific site! I will send everybody I know here. You always give excellent and very helpful advice.

  7. Sarah, Thank you for your advice through your forum and books. With your help, my Bouvier Rider and mutt Jazz are well behaved puppers. When ever I meet people with new dogs in their family, I recommend your books.

    • Thank you, Mark. Your words (and actions) mean a great deal and help a great deal. Pats to Rider and Jazz, for me. Ever since my Kesl, Bouv, I have a major soft spot for those dirty beards. And mutts, well, Pip is Pip. 😀

  8. Thank you for your advice through books.

  9. Thank you Sarah for the joy and seriousness you bring to you vocation! I wouldn’t hesitate to put my precious ones in your care.

  10. Can you write something on managing sibling training (other than to rehome one), if you have experience with that? I need specific suggestions on how to work with them (totally separate them so they focus on me, dealing with resultant separation anxiety, etc.) or what you would do if different? I can never achieve calm, because they immediately want to interact if both released from confinement. I cease to exist. They are 20 mos. old Cockers.

  11. Long time no-see Sarah! I have talked about you often and am searching out good materials for a friend of mine to read. I love your site. I hope all is well with you and keep up the fantastic work.

  12. Thanks for your response. I’ll give it a try! Any other suggestions on dealing with siblings are appreciated as well!

  13. HI Sarah…
    I just posted to my blog expounding on another aspect of these ridiculous leashes. As part of my post, I linked to your blog for further info. Please let me know if this is okay with you and if not, I’ll lose the link. You can read my post here:

    Thank you… Hal

    • Hi Hal –

      You are so nice to ask. My answer? Go, Hal, Go! I’m in full support and delighted to aid in your efforts.

      (Oh and when you post about being jailed for having your dog off leash, nudge me. I want to read that saga!)

      Again, I appreciate your ethics in checking.

      Best –


  14. Hello,

    I am torn with a decision to take my dog back from my Father. She is a 1 1/2 year old Cavapoo that went to stay with my father in another state for two and a half months. Her lifestyle at my Fathers home is very different (less structured) compared to our home and I fear that she will not be happy and will not adjust well if she returns. Help!

    • Hi Courteney –

      The good news is dog’s adjust extremely well, so no worries. When dogs visit me, my home is generally more structured than they are used to but they adjust and are very happy while here. When the time comes, I can help her (and you) make the transition.

      You are clearly a good dog momma to ask.

  15. Hi Sarah, i’m hoping you have some tips that will help me! We recently purchased a house on an acreage and with our new house & acreage came Jovi ( a 5 year old female black lab). The previous owners moved to a city & didn’t think it would be fare to take her, so they left her with us. She is a wonderful dog, listens, stays home, loves the kids… But she poops everywhere!!!!! All over the lawn, on the walkway, on the gravel in front of the doors. I just don’t understand why they would have trained her to poop in the bush. She could do it any where, she has 13 acres to choose from and she chooses to do it all around the house 🙁 How do we train her not poop by the house??? Please Help!

    • Hi Kim – how nice of you to take in this lucky Lab. 🙂

      Labs being well, Labs, I would take her away from the house and toss a treat or two in the general area (not the exact potty zone) that you want her to end up in. Let her find them.

      Do that for a few days. Then put a treat out away from the house before you let her out. Go to the area and let her find it.

      Then start hanging back. Then start randomly leaving out a treat. She should start heading out in that direction on her own “just to double check”. That is the best way I know to get her independently going away from the house to potty. Take a little time but is simple and is easy (two lovely things).

  16. It’s been 23 years so I doubt you’d remember me. I attended your puppy class with my Scottie taboo. I was starting a company making things for dog lovers. But that’s not why I’m writing. I have wonderful neighbors in the city with a new maltes. 3 kids the oldest 12 and parents that have never had a dog. Who do you recommend in the city that would be as close to you as possible to help in training etc? Check out the site. We could barter

    • Hi Lisa – 23 years ago? That would have been at the training center on the Westside, yes? Was Taboo a brindley pup when young? If yes, then I remember him (and I tend to remember the dogs more clearly – kinda of a professional hazard of this work).

      Anyway – I live in St Louis, MO now. But a dear friend of mine, whom I trained as a trainer, does a lot of puppy work in NYC: Noelle Fischer: I’d try her.

      Thanks so much to your note. Love hearing from past clients. How long did you have Taboo’s company?


  17. How do I get my male Lab/Great Pyrenees mix puppy to stop jumping on people?

  18. Is it possible to loose the trust of your dog just by letting a stranger approach??? George has always been scared of strangers but we had made great strides in the last year. Unfortunately last week a friend of the wifes approached him while I was closing the gate & he wet himself which has not happened for ages. Since then he has reverted back to his old self going mental at strangers as they pass the house & snapping at me if I try & interveen. On his walks he just sits down & refuses to go at times which I thought we had got past a long time ago. It seems all our good work has gone & I’m back to square one 🙁

    • Hi Joe –

      You can’t quite be back to square one but it sure can feel like that. He should progress faster this time since you both have walked that road together already.

      What have your tried so far? What do you walk him on (collar, head halter, harness)? What does he know and respond to when all is calm?

      • Basically I have walked him on his collar in the early hours when there was no one about but slowly went out later & laterwith more people & dogs around. I did buy a harness but he wouldn’t let me put it on. When all is quiet he will sit, stay & come to me but that all goes out the window if there are any distractions. The problem I have now is that we are getting to the summer season & we will be flooded with tourists so it will be a nightmare to get him out 🙁 in the winter I had him out on the beach & he loved racing up & down & even made a friend with a local dog but that is not possible now as he refuses to walk down the road to the beach 🙁

  19. We spoke on phone last summer. I need more help with my Cody and seems I’ve lost your number. Could you please contact me?

  20. Hi Sarah,
    I hope you can give me some advice. I’ve got a 4 year old female mutt (plott hound mix) and an 8 month old female lab. Now that winter is over, we are out all together more. Dogs that my 4 year old mutt used to LOVE have now become a target for her aggression. It’s almost like she is protecting the puppy? This dog has not history of aggression toward other dogs. The first time I heard her growl at another dog was a relatives untrained male (who outweighs her by about 20lbs wouldn’t stop jumping on her. We were all shocked that she did it, but he has no ‘dog manners’ and most dogs who meet him wind up snarling at him.

    There are two dogs in my neighborhood that were the 4-year old’s buddies. Now, even when the puppy is inside, she snarls and lunges when she sees them. I havent been able to let her play with either of them since we got the puppy. I don’t understand why this is happening and I’d love some advice as to how to handle it. I don’t want the puppy to pick up this bad habit and I don’t want our sweet mutt to turn into a dog-aggressive animal. She is amazing with people, and loves my children like crazy. I am scared that she may become possessive of the children if she is indeed acting possessive of the puppy.

    The puppy gets more attention than she does right now, we are training her and work with her daily. Would this factor into the older pup’s actions? The 4 year old is also a very nervous dog, she has separation anxiety and is very fearful of cars. She also doesn’t enjoy going for walks much, she usually pulls toward home and whines quite a bit.

    Thank you in advance for any advice and suggestions you may have. I am happy to provide any additions information you may need.

  21. congrats – congrats …

  22. Hi there! Really need some expert advice off you!
    Me and my partner (with 3 children between us: 7,9,12) really want a dog.. Hopefully to stud. We all love dogs, though the 9 year old is scared of big dogs, which we hope will diminish with bonding from pup.
    We have put off ownership as we are responsible people who don’t take dog ownership lightly. We ideally want a breed that lives a long life, that is fairly large, ideally doesn’t shed and is ok with some, but not a lot, of solitude. This dog will be loved and well looked after!! We have thought about a Black Russian terrier? Any thoughts would be appreciated

    • Hi Claire –

      I’m glad to see you’re doing your research!

      Wanting a low-shed breed does limit your selection. Are you all dog experienced? The Black Russian Terrier is a LOT of dog, requiring a great deal of time for both socialization and training. Not a beginner dog.

      If you are looking for a nice family dog of a similar size, look at the Standard Poodle. Both breeds are active but the standard generally has less tiger-in-the-tank than a Black Russian.

      Studding a dog is a different matter. Anyone breeding responsibly will only breed to male dogs with show or performance titles with all health clearances from known lines. Getting those things in place is time-consuming and expensive, if it is possible at all. Breeding can, as one can imagine, change the focus on male dogs quite a lot. If you want a companion for your children, neuter your dog. Good luck!

  23. Sarah, I just stumbled upon your website and it is awesome! I have a few questions and was wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving me your expert advice. I am a Police K9 handler and have been for a few years now. I recently brought home a new working dog that needs to learn how to attack on command and chase suspects as well as substance detection. She has an extremely high prey drive which is wonderful for this type of work..however…I have 3 other dogs that are pets. When they play or run she chases and attacks them, I correct this behavior but I am afraid of stifling her prey drive and preventing her from being toy obsessive like I need. How can I encourage the need to chase and bite but exclude certain things? I need her to chase, bite, and obsess but only when I want her to…any suggestions?

    • Hi Julie –

      Congrats on your new partner!

      Suggestions? Absolutely! Short answer? She is not a pet. She does not play with pets. For many reasons but the most important is that you are the sun and the moon in her life. You play with her and your play builds her mental focus and compliance. You do not want her developing other hobbies like…random dog assault. Which is, by the way, a TON of fun for her. You don’t want her developing any habit her finds FUN that does not directly involve you.

      As you already know, “correcting her” isn’t working and can cause other issues, as you state. So, your pets hang out together and she hangs out with you. That’s your world. That’s her world. And your 3 beloved home buddies would thank you, too. Hope that helps. Sarah

  24. Hi Sarah, Love your work and sharing!

    We adopted our 1st dog in 20 years so it’s like we’re brand new all over again. She’s a 3-yr-old Lab-German Shorthair Pointer who was a stray and then sat in the shelter for months because she “couldn’t” get along with other dogs. Apparently their behaviorist didn’t really spend any time with her. The “couldn’t get along” was because she’d growl and bark like crazy, serious style, when she saw another dog. Turns out that was her excited greeting. She LOVES other dogs and lives for the dog park. But our problem that we haven’t a clue how to fix is that she greeted new people the same way. It’s taken us months to convince her humans don’t like that kind of Greeting. She’s much better now, but there are still occasions when she’ll nip new people in the back of their legs. I’ve seen dogs at the park do the same thing with each other so I know it’s a friendly gesture?, but what does it really mean and how do we get her to stop?

  25. Hi, Sarah

    I’m in desperate need of your help. I’m nine months pregnant with our first child. My husband and I couldn’t be more excited except for one thing. We have a serious dog problem! We’re the proud owners of two dogs. One is nothing but a pleasure but the other not so much. We own a three year old Bull Mastiff/Pit Bull mix that can be very aggressive. (I’m an avid Pit Bull advocate and have been the owner of many wonderful Pitties.)
    Our family is afraid of our dog as he’s tried to bite a few of them. He’s very aggressive with strangers and even children. We rescued him from a neglectful home when he was six months old and on the most part he’s very loving towards my husband and I. Just nobody else. I’m terrified he’ll be aggressive to our baby. Everyone tells us to “get rid of him” but that’s not an option for us. Due to his aggression problems, we don’t know anyone that will take him and know that any shelter we take him to will put him down. We don’t want him to die. We love him. It’s either with us or death. He can’t live outside because we live in Georgia and it’s 100 degrees almost daily. I also don’t believe in having dogs live outside. I don’t know what to do about our dog, Rosco. We can’t afford a professional trainer at this time. Is our only option really putting him to sleep?? Please help.

    • Hi Katrice –

      So sorry you are in the situation with a dog you love so much. You are an experienced dog person so I respect the words “terrified he’ll be aggressive to our baby” a great deal.

      I also note the phrase “for the most part” he’s loving toward you and your husband. I fear that means that you both, as adults,

  26. My daughter and her family is living “in the bush in Nigeria” as missionaries. They have adopted and domesticated two dogs. They live in a hospital compound and can’t allow the dogs to run free to hunt for their food. She is in desperate need of a dog food recipe. They currently create a “mush” with ground corn and dried fish but it isn’t hearty enough to satisfy the dogs’ appetite. One is an 8 month old mix – medium to large size and the other about 3 months old – a German shepherd mix. Obviously the contents for the recipe must be readily available as supplies from the US are shipped 1-3 times a year or hand carried by short term missionaries so she can’t rely on product from the outside. Any suggestions on how she can help feed their much loved dogs?

    • Hi Jolene –

      Are the dog’s ravenous? Or too skinny? Or both?

      My guess is that our first stop is worming. When a pup is overloaded with worms then can be really hungry all the time. Could that be part of the issue?

      No clue how to get wormer over there or what wormer would be appropriate for the parasites that much be endemic.


  27. Not undernourished and they have dealt with the parasites. I believe she is hoping for a nourishing and easy dog food recipe since she is unable to purchase dog food. This is from her note. “we had to take corn, ground nut (small peanut) and dried fish to a grinder to grind it into a powder. Then about every 3 days we take a big pot and cook this powder with water then we cube and cut up yam and add to it until it makes an oatmeal like chunky mush. It’s really disgusting and smells. It swells up sometime and comes out of the container and all over my fridge. When feeding the dogs the kids normally gag as they take the food out to them. Lately this mush still seems to leave the dogs hungry so I have been trying different variations. No matter what I try it isn’t easy and every few days we are making dog food again and again and again. I would love to find something more hearty as our bush dog Bingo still tries to escape our yard daily to find food.”

    • Hmmm… don’t know what the options are but that sounds pretty good. I am assuming protein is at a premium.

      What sort of “fish powder”? The entire fish?

      What sort of fats does she have access to? Oils or butters? Any dairy?

      I’m not a vet diet expert by any stretch but if these were my guys, I’d be trying to figure out a small amount of fat and the right protein combo/level.

      Is yam common?

      At the very least, I would think the fish powder could be added to each meal and stirred in last. That would fix the stink of it in the fridge. Then grind the grains and store them ground. Mix up and cook, as needed.

  28. Hello Sarah,

    I really need some advice regarding two dogs (Bernese) that attacked me at the home of a breeder last weekend, and I’m not sure who to approach with it. Can you help?

    We drove up to the breeders house to look an adopting a puppy. The pups were 5 weeks old, she warned us they may be a bit protective but the pups should be old enough by this stage. We met the mum dog and two other adult dogs with her. They barked at first, but then settled down and were let out – we were petting them and everything was initially fine. However, after a couple of minutes the mum jumped up playfully and I fell back on the ground, and suddenly she just snapped and started biting me – and a second joined in. The breeder could not get them off me for some time, I’ve ended up with a few puncture wounds on my arms, back, and leg. I went to the hospital for treatment. The breeder asked us to tell them it was a random attack to avoid rangers coming up to her house (felt a bit like blackmail, really, whether intentional or not).

    Anyway, my partner and I are still considering a puppy. We met the puppies afterwards and they seemed fine. What I really want to know is, does this sound like a normal occurrence? Can the protectiveness of a mum lead to an attack this vicious? Should we be concerned with the genetics of the pups, or the environment she is raising her dogs in? The breed itself is not generally considered an aggressive breed in the least.

    I’d appreciate any advice/help.

    Thank you,


    • Oh, Jennifer, that is HORRIBLE. I’m relieved you will be okay and horrified you were so viciously attacked.

      My thoughts:

      * GET A PUPPY SOMEWHERE ELSE! I would not take a pup from this person if they paid me to do so. Temperament is absolutely genetic.
      * That was NOT “protectiveness” of any sort. You were not near the pups, from what I can tell. And even if the bitch was protective of her pups, such an attack is not a normal or excusable event. (Had a protective-of-baby-pups bitch years ago, she lead a visitor away from her pups by the wrist, leaving not a mark on the woman.)
      * That is WILDLY unacceptable for any dog and esp. for Bernese! From the AKC Standard: Temperament: The temperament is self-confident, alert and good-natured, never sharp or shy. The Bernese Mountain Dog should stand steady, though may remain aloof to the attentions of strangers. There is no excuse and I am horrified that the producer (she is no “breeder”) advised you to lie. Maybe others have lied before you for the same reason. No idea. But those dogs are dangerous and they will hurt others.
      * Go back and amend the bite report.
      * Get ALL medical bills covered by her.

      You did NOTHING wrong. You were viciously attacked.

      A good Berner is a wonderful companion. You deserve a wonderful companion.


  29. I have a mother dog and her two pups a boy and a girl they are both 6-7 weeks and I’d really like to keep both of them but I can only keep one. I just wanted 2 know if I sell one in the next week or so will there be a negative effect on her and her mom and sibling and if I leave one with the mom will there be a negative effect from losing the other puppy and from them staying together?

    • Hi Skye – Placement into their new home anytime after 7 weeks is normal. I would not do it sooner.

      At this age, they each should be getting individual time with you – away from each other and their Mom – to build their bond to people and their individual confidence in the world. That will help them both.

      Introducing them to a crate, walking on leash, sit, down, coming when call, handling and socialization can all be in full swing!

      Keeping one can be done but you’ll want to work on separation and bonding with you to allow the pup to grow up as a normal, confident adult dog.

      Your risk is more negative effects from staying too long with the Momma and each other than separation, but you’re not at that point yet.

      Hope that is helpful to you – Sarah

      • Sarah I need your help :'(

        my mom suggested I give one of two of my puppies to my dad, my parents are seperated so I go there there every second weekend. I’m scared that if I do have to give her to my dad she’ll be sad because it will be two weeks without seeing her and then another two days with seeing her after me being her former owner. My dad also has a few other dogs and their all grow up. I don’t know if that would be the best for her because obviously I’d love to see her but at the same time I want the best home for her and I don’t know if that is. Please help me.

  30. Hi Sarah
    When im at the point of the pup being too long with the mother how can i help them?

  31. Hi, Sarah – you’ve helped me immensely in the past, hoping you can share some guidance now. I’m helping a local rescue with a 9 mo. old hound-of-some-kind (in the past I’ve done a little training for them, a little rehabilitation). “Jonesy” is the biggest train wreck I’ve ever encountered. He is reactive to everything – dogs, people at a distance, cats, any movement. His anxiety is off the chart. I thought at first he was urinating in his crate – it was drool. On leash he’s like a bucking bronco. He is in no way ready to be homed. I’ve had him about a week & am keeping him crated, taking him out every 2 hrs to hit the bushes, and once daily for a long, loooong walk. I’m thinking he needs to learn to trust and to respect, what do you say? He is willing to sit in order to be fed (I’m hand feeding as part of the trust plan), sits in order to go out, and is learning not to pull. But if he sees anything that hits one of his reactive buttons, he starts bucking and pulling again. He is definitely putting out weak energy – my 5 dogs, normally curious about other dogs, attacked his crate in a very ferocious manner. He’s in a quiet room – I feel he needs as little stimulation as possible. I did shine a full spectrum lamp on him (the kind used for depression, at low voltage) on him, and he seems to like it alot, fell asleep at once. Am I on the right track? Am I making any big mistakes? Any suggestions? Thanks!

  32. Hi there i have a 17 month old shitzu/lhasa cross since he was 10 weeks old and he has never licked my face but licks everywhere else!! plus he will not look at me face to face and the closer i get the more he turns away and stiffens but he is such a loveable and playful dog?? He lives with a bitch Lhasa Apso who is one year older than him and they get on very well. The older dog doesn’t have any issues. Both dogs are neutered. Any ideas? Thanx in advance 🙂

  33. My 41/2 month old golden will have cataract surgery on both eyes soon. I understand that this requires 4-6 week crate restriction with a cone to keep him from scratching or bumping his eyes. Will he lose his play drive? I read your article on confinement and will employ these activities but he loves to play and I don’t want to see that lost. Thanks for your helpful articles.

    • Oh. So sorry. But let me give you a smile: He will NOT forget how to play (or who to play with). He will play even more because he will see even better. Of this I am sure.

  34. Hi Sarah, I need help and advice with a situation between my dog and my boyfriend. I have a 2 1/2 year old St Bernard/Australian Shephard mix that I’ve had since she was 5 weeks old (got her from a questionable man downtown). Zoula is such a love, friendly, but a little timid with loud noises. On walks she is more excited about seeing the other dog walkers than the dogs! I started dating my boyfriend 2 years ago, when Zoula was about 6 months old. There were no issues then, except he always said “girl dogs don’t like him”. He had an American bulldog and has grown up around dogs in the house. He never took to Zoula and thus she never took to him, but their relationship seemed that they could “stand” each other. I moved into a new place with girlfriends and Zoula got bigger than we had anticipated. My parents took her for the year, no questions asked. Now, a year later Zoula is back living with me and I’m living with my boyfriend. Zoula is terrified of him. She hears him coming up the stairs and goes running, he says he can’t get her to come to take her for walks while I’m at work. But Zoula is still so loving toward me and everyone else. She even loves my boyfriends friends when they come over. My boyfriend now says the dog has to change becuase it gives him anxiety and makes him uncomfortable or the dog has to go. I cannot and will not get rid of Zoula but I just am unsure what to do to help the two of them get along! (We even watched a Cesar Milan episode this morning with a similar situation and my boyfriend comments that there is no need to act like a pansy for a dog, because “it’s just a dog.”). So here I am asking for help, and wondering what to do.


    • First, I wonder about any social dog who is “terrified” of a particular person. That doesn’t just happen, something causes it to happen. And I wonder about anyone who poses ultimatums rather than dives in with full effort to bond with a dog who is important to you. Your post worries me. If I were a close friend, I’d be encouraging you to seek counseling – separately if you need to and my guess is he will refuse to go framing it as “your problem” or “ridiculous” or “silly” or something else demeaning of you. GO… immediately.

      The more you and the dog and everything else are blamed for his feelings the more worried I am.

      I do not believe this is a dog problem and, even if it was, it could not be solved without his active, willing and positive desire to change it.

      • Hi Sarah,

        I posted back in February about my at Bernard/shepherd mix. Thank you for your reply. I sought help and counseling and Zoula and I are much better off now.

        Is there any way you could delete my posting as I put my email address in the message (bad idea) and I keep receiving spam mail.

        Thank you again!!

        • Hi Ashley –

          I’ve removed your email from the previous comment and will remove this one after I send this.

          Best –


  35. We found a stray golden-doodle about 2 years ago. At the time we already had 2 dogs. Both my husband and I had dogs when we got together. I can hardly stand my husband’s dog. He ignores you. He is a professionally trained yellow lab bird dog. But he can’t walk on a leash, he rushing the door, he barks and whines when he wants to go out on walks buy he doesn’t walk he only wants you to throw the ball, he can’t go along because he just whines in the car because he just wants to chase the ball. My husband refuses to stop feeding them people food OR FROM THE TABLE which drives me nuts and not thus sweet rescue we got has picked up all the annoying habits and my life is so crazy and I am starting to dislike them that I am considering rehoming our rescue doodle. I just feel like a terrible person, but it isn’t like I went out searching for him. I want him to have a good life and my husband creates these annoying dogs then doesn’t want them around him, but won’t listen to me about training so that they are pleasant to be with. I realize that my husband is my own problem lol but life had gotten so crazy with me working full time, a new baby, I’m planning on going back to school this summer I just don’t know how I am going to do it all and make time for this wonderful dog who deserves a good life. Is it unreasonable of me to think that rehoming him may be the right thing for him? I appreciate your advice.


    • Hi Erica – Wow, you have a lot on your plate. Big, big hug. Now, new baby? What I’ve found through the years is that a new baby, especially the first baby, can change how how people view their partner’s dog care/training habits. After all, you’re looking at him as a Dad now and sometimes habits are extra annoying/concerning with those glasses on. I don’t know if that could be going on so FWIW.

      You are just one woman—one clearly hard-working woman—so I think considering anything about simplifying your life so you have time for all that is in it is reasonable to consider. And there are times when someone else’s home is potentially better home with more time and less stress than our own. Anytime THAT is true then a careful rehoming can be a reasonable thing to ponder.

      But this also sounds like a decision for the two of you to make together. If you haven’t read my blog on Living with a Anti-Trainer, you might find it useful: Very, VERY, few couples take the same approach to dog training/care so you are not unusual in your frustrations. Not that knowing that necessarily helps.

      If your husband bought a pro-trained Lab, then he’s a dog-lover, too. I hope you can find some common ground together. One compromise to suggest is yes to appropriate human food but only from their bowl in the kitchen.

      I hope you can find some ways to work together on this. And good luck going back to school! I’m impressed from afar!


  36. Hi Sarah, I congratulate you on this treasure you have here for all of us who love dogs but sometimes find ourselves lost or confused. Sarah where can I find information such as yours but in Spanish. My sister in law got a lovely 7 week old shit zu for her kids but this poor baby spends most of the time one in the garage and she wants to give the puppy a bath with a hose in the back yard!!! I offered to bathe him in the bathroom tub or the kitchen sink and she looked at me as if I was crazy and said that such thing was gross, that the puppy was going to leave bacteria and bla bla I have a 3 year old poodle and I have never gotten sick from giving a bath in my tub. She stated that I treat my dog as a “human” baby only because I let my dog sleep in our room, groom him, take them to the vet, buy him high quality food and not hose him down. How can I educate her? What can I do for this poor baby? Any advice will be greatly appreciate it (:

    • Hi Marline –

      Many cultures consider dogs “dirty” and, when they lived outside on garbage as they did in many places for a long time, that opinion can linger even though times have changed.

      My experience is that people who aren’t ready and don’t see a problem have no reason to change.

      My other experience is that as attachment grows, dogs have a way of ending up inside.

      My suggestion is to have fun with her pup when you can. Maybe teach the pup a few things. Sometimes seeing how smart and loving a dog is can soften someone’s stance.

      Lastly, I’m sorry but I don’t know a good Spanish dog care site to refer you to.

      Best –

      Sarah Wilson

  37. Hi Sarah:
    Not sure if this is the best way to reach you, but here goes.
    Just met one of your clients (Oliver) who lives by Tilles Park.
    His owner mentioned your name, and thought we should
    see if we can help each other grow our businesses.
    I own Fetch Pet Care here in St. Louis… a dog-walking/pet-sitting service.

    Can you call me at 314-550-1393 and we can chat and decide
    if we would like to meet each other.

    Thanks so much and looking forward to speaking with you!

    Randy Ring

  38. Hi Sarah! I am a high school student in Montgomery county Maryland doing a physics project, where I study the mechanics of a dogs mind. How do they think? What is their deductive reasoning? What feelings do they posses? And so on. My topic leans more towards the physiological field of a dogs brain, but I was wondering being the dog expert you are if you could give me some insight. Thanks!

  39. Hi Sarah,
    A good friend of mine, Ray Capelovich, recommended you and said you went to school together. I have a fabulous 10 year old Shiatsu named Zsa Zsa who is my little 9 pound bundle of love. I have recently been asked to take my neighbors dog as she is terminally ill. Her dog Eleanor is a 10 year old Corgi who is afraid of her own shadow. Ellie has been with us for about three weeks and loves me dearly but barks constantly and out of fear (I believe) lunges at all dogs Zsa Zsa wants to say hello to while we are out walking. On top of having no social skills with other dogs she is the alpha of the house and is possibly hurting my dog during the day when I am gone. She does not like me to pet Zsa Zsa or show her any attention. I have enough love for both of them but cannot let her bark all day and bother my neighbors as I live in a condo. My dog is starting to bark more and change for the worse as well. I have purchased a sonic egg which has stopped Ellie’s barking but now she is totally different. If my dog barks by accident Ellie will shake and try to hide in another room, there is no happy personality anymore, no going for a toy to show me when I arrive home or sassy talking to me as she used to do. Zsa Zsa was freaked out over the high pitched noise of the egg when I first put it out but is getting better with it. She is still not totally herself either. Any opinions on the egg and ideas of how to socialize Ellie? Thanks in advance for your help to stop the barking in St. Louis.

    Jacki Jasperson

    • Hi Jacki – You are a good soul to take Ellie on and it sounds like you need pro help ASAP. I’d start by crating Ellie when you are gone, I would not leave them alone together, and I would use a head halter on Ellie to help manage that barking.

      Not a huge fan of noise corrections with multiple dogs as all dogs get corrected no matter what. Again, crating Ellie should help.

      Hope this us helpful – Sarah

  40. Please can you give me some information on what’s best for my 20month old Spribger Spaniel, Daisy? She suffers fromnan autoimmune disease and was spayed last week to help rid her of her terrible false pregnancy she had a couple of months ago. She is suffering badly at the moment and will have to start taking prednisone after being off it for four months. She wss on it for 6 months previously. What can I do to best support her health?

  41. Hey Sarah! I need to ask you a favor. What do you know about dogs? You see, I’m doing a persuasive essay and speech about why kids should own dogs. However, I need one expert opinion. Please help me out.

  42. Hi Ms.Sarah
    I’m doing a project on training puppies for school and I need some advice.
    I was wondering I could Give you a call or email you with my questions?
    ~Isabel Masone

  43. Hi Sarah, I am looking for advice and would appreciate it if you could email me.
    I love my 5 y old neutered male mixed bred. my neibor does not like him and he had an encounter with my neighbor that did not go well. I am seeking help from a behaviorist. Could you give my any direction?
    Thank you!

  44. My name is Gina and I help run a company called Source Sleuth ( Our service helps journalists, bloggers find experts for their stories.

    We just got an inquiry from a reporter looking for experts on doggie day care.

    Let me know if you are interested and your best point of contact – and we will make the connection. If you do not wish to participate, we would very much appreciate any referrals. There is no catch, obligation or other nonsense.

    I appreciate you taking the time! If you have any questions feel free to email us.



    • Hi Gina – Usually I am delighted to help but unfortunately, I believe I’ve already been in contact with this reporter and she is looking for more information than I can deliver with my schedule. Keep me on your list for future stories, please and have a great day. Sarah

  45. Hi Sarah –

    We have a 3-year-old mini Aussie who is sweet as can be 95% of the time. We have been working with him on border aggression (fences) and resource guarding (toys). Yesterday our friend visited him and our other two dogs in our big back yard for the first time for about 10 minutes. He greeted her and appeared relaxed and comfortable. He interacted with her very nicely until we turned and were walking from the yard into our garage. Neither my husband nor I saw his behavior as this began to play out, but he suddenly sprang up from behind her and nipped her arm right below the shoulder. It immediately began to bruise. We were mortified. We called him and he came right away, so there was no discipline that seemed appropriate for him coming to our call. Can you add any insight or suggestions for us dealing with prevention and correction of this extremely unwelcome and disturbing behavior?


    • Hi Michelle – Find a local trainer who has and understands herding breeds.

      Your short answer is your aussie enters the house on leash with you (at your side or behind you, not in front) and behind your guests. I don’t know the layout of your house but my guess would be this happened at a doorway or in a narrow hall. The smaller the space, the more pressure it puts on a herding dog which is why outside, in the open, all is well. Inside, in a narrow area, he’s urges can get the better of him. Work your basics and your My Smart Puppy space games a LOT. You need complete mental control of your dog. Good luck! Sarah

  46. Hi Sarah, I just realized that I may have tried to contact you through an old website. I bought a phone consult, but it was through the My Smart Puppy site. I hope it still gets to you. If it doesn’t, can you let me know what to do? Thanks!!

  47. Hi Sarah,

    I’m a freelance writer working on an article with fun facts about dogs for a national website with over 13 million members. I’d love your expert input (or a few fun facts) to share with my readers. You can reach me via email noted above for more details.

    Thanks for any help you can give and also for the great tips and advice you offer dog lovers everywhere.

    Sandy Wallacce

  48. Hello Sarah,

    I am in some dire need of help. I have a 7 month old teddy bear mix puppy. I live on the third floor in a apartment building so we decided to train our dog using a pee pad. We thought it would be easier this way because he will not walk outside by himself and hes small enough to use the pee pad. Anyways, he is a very smart dog and knows the go on the pee pad but along with going to the bathroom on it he also go to the bathroom on the carpet. I don’t know how to make him stop peeing on the carpet and start just doing it on the pee pad. If you could please try and help me I would be so greatly appreciated! Living in an apartment building I just cant have him going on the ground.


    • Hi Josephine – Sounds like your pup needs to know how to run back to the papers when he needs to go. That is a process of crating him then taking him to the papers. When he goes – praise and supervised play time. If he doesn’t, back in the crate and try again in a bit. It’s a slog at first but once the pup catches on, you’ll be ready for the next step. Good luck! Sarah

  49. Hi Sarah,

    I was hoping I could consult with you on finding a breed that fits my lifestyle. My situation is unique in that I am a quadrapalegic and live in a condo. I’m hoping to find something that is affectionate, smart, relatively small (20-30 lbs) and would be happy living in a city setting. I would like to discuss this in greater detail if you have any time available.

    Thank you for your time and consideration,

    Ned Church

    • Hi Ned –

      My first thought is how much reliable help do you have? And is there a local dog pro you can work with? I’d think both of those pieces need to be in place to make it work. That said, I’d suggest an adult dog. An adult lacks the cuteness factor but makes up for it in the self-control arena. Where are you located? Sarah

  50. Hi Sarah,

    I am an author of historical mysteries (19th century) and my current WIP relies on a dog to help “unearth” several clues. I’m looking for a breed that would be, without any training, consistently getting to garbage, stealing socks/shoes, etc. but who also brings the “treasures” to his owner. I was thinking of a beagle (specifically a less than year old puppy) for its otherwise friendly behavior and unique baying vocalizations. I also considered a Labrador Retriever puppy. Am I on the right track or is there another breed you would recommend. I’ll be happy to acknowledge you in my book for your help. Thank you in advance!

    • Oh what a FUN question, Anna. A beagle is a great pick for the “getting into it” category but less likely to bring it to the owner than to enjoy it under the privacy of a table somewhere.

      Your second pick, a Lab, is bred to bring things to their person. So a Lab has that, plus can have a “bull-in-the-china” shop quality is a pup. A Golden or Flat-Coat are clownish with, often, a sensitive side as well and a Chessie could have a protective aspect layered in. Think Lab in a leather-jacket.

      If you want smaller, a Boykin or Welsh Springer could fit the bill, too.

      Want rarer? Look at the Irish Water Spaniel, American Water Spaniel or Curly-coated Retriever.

      Oh, and right now, everything is Doodle. Golden X Poodle or Lab X Poodle.

      Hope that is helpful to you and thank you for giving me this little romp in the middle of my Friday. 😀 Sarah

      • Thank you so much! Now I have lots of choices!. I truly appreciate your input. FYI, the book is entitled “A March to Remember” (Hattie Davish Mystery #5) and will be released most likely July, 2016. I’ll be sure to acknowledge you. Thanks again! Anna

  51. I hope that this question is not too off-topic. It is in a sense health related and I am just hoping for a quick opinion. I am in the beginning stages of researching how to open a small refuge center for dogs. I’ve noticed that many dogs housed in an indoor facility often end up with upper respiratory infections. I volunteered at a center that had the dogs housed outdoors, each with a small yard of their own with large dog houses with the capability for both AC and heat. I am located in Florida, and was wondering what your suggestion would be in regards to indoor vs outdoor sheltering, assuming the AC/heat capable houses were in place.

    • Good ventilation is key, you are correct. That can be done in an inside facility if it is understood and planned for. Keeping outside pens truly clean and truly easy to clean is also a priority in minimizing disease in a colony and that is tough to do on plain earth. There are many pieces to this puzzle. I’d go and talk to many people housing dogs to get a sense of all the variables you have to juggle. Good luck!

  52. Hello SARAH
    I need ur help regarding the fingers of dog. I bought a pomerian pup and he has 20 fingers ppl are argue in that dogs with 20 fingers are dangerous than ordinary. What is ur advice in this case?

    • Hi Neha – All dogs have 4 toes that touch the ground as they walk and most have one more a bit higher up each leg called a “dewclaw.” The dewclaws on the front leg can help the dog land after jumping or turn sharply. Some dogs are born with all four dewclaws and some aren’t. Some breeds, like Great Pyreness and Briards, have “double dewclaws” meaning two on each leg (or 24 fingers.) Some dogs are born without a dewclaw or two and some people cut dewclaws off puppies when they are young.

      Now, to your question, are dogs with all their dewclaws (or 20 fingers) more dangerous, in anyway, than dogs without them. No, they are not. Dogs with dewclaws are not better or worse than dogs without them; they are just 100% normal dogs.

      I hope that is helpful to you and your puppy. – Sarah Wilson

  53. Thankyou sarah. 🙂

  54. Hi Sarah
    I have a 10 week old shichon. I’m feeding him kibbles and a small amount of wet food morning and evening, I followed the breeders routine.
    I the wet food necessary? Something is not agreeing with him. Just wondering if there are rules to feeding a teddy bear pup.
    Thank you

    • Hi Lisa –

      Here are the three rules of feeding a puppy in the age of the Internet:

      1) Everyone has an opinion.
      2) Everyone is sure they are right.
      3) Plenty of people will tell you (vigorously) how wrong you are.

      Pups do well with wet food and without it. Do what works for you and your pup.

      Is wet food “necessary?” No.
      Do people enjoy giving it? Yes.

      So, relax, enjoy your pup, and do what works for your pup.


  55. Hi Sarah,

    I have a huge problem. We (husband, son and I), bought a yellow lab from a lady, whom we later found out was his third owner. He was one when we got him. I understand in the beginning him trying to adjust. I must admit, I was upset that he destroyed my brand new couch, scratched up the livingroom wall, and tore one of the base boards from the wall in the livingroom. Not only that, he peed and pooped twice in the house, and that was his second night in our home. I determined he had separation anxiety. But now, in December he will be four, and he’s still doing the same thing. We had to get a kennel, amd if it’s not tied shut with zip ties when we leave, he gets out, pees, poops, and destroys stuff. I don’t want to get rid of him, because it’s unfair to him. We love him, put a house that’s only 3.5 years old looks like it was built in the 80’s instead of 2012. I don’t know what to do. Our lives are coming to a halt, because we have a pet we can’t leave at home. How do we fix this problem?

    • Hi Barbara – Poor you and poor dog. On the upside, you are very lucky that, when he is crated, he is clean. So, zip tie that crate thoroughly and use it consistently while you are working to up his understanding and lower his stress levels (and yours.) But, for now, do what works while you head toward a calmer time for all. – Sarah

  56. Hi
    I have a 2 1/2 year old male black lab, who’s name is Kovu. Kovu is a very smart, well trained and active family loved dog. Kovu has been having problems releasing urine while he sleeps. We feed him Earthborn dry food that has been soaked in water prior to giving it to him. He seems to be thirsty all the time. I have tried a lot of different ideas, but the problem seems to be getting worse. I could use some help trying to help my dog.

  57. Hello me and my partners are apart of the Waverly middle school science fair this year. We were wondering if you could email me and answer a few questions for our project. Our project is “can you identify a dog based on its nose print” if you have time to email me that woul be great thanks

    Hi Sarah,

    I’d like to briefly interview you for an article for Next Avenue, the on line PBS mag.
    Can you please let me know when and how I can reach you by phone?
    My email is above. My # 919 913 8059.
    Thank you!


  59. I have 3 dogs 1 Male he is the oldest he was born 9/25/2010 1 female she was born in 2011 and then her baby who is a little over 1. I was wondering if i let the female mother dog in the house and keep the others out will this make them potty more in the house or break the potty training?

    • Hi Tammy –

      House training should have little to do with which dog is in the house or not. If your male is the father and he is leg lifting inside, that is an attitude confusion not really house training. If none of your dogs is house trained at their ages, I would strictly limit where they can do in your house and consider belly bands or sure. At 4 and 5 years old, it is unlikely either of your original dogs will ever be truly house trained. It can be done but would take a great deal of effort and commitment from you and some major changes in dog management. Sounds like a complicated situation. Sarah

  60. Hi Sarah, I’m doing a project for school on how the form of a dog’s body affects how fast it runs and I was hoping you could help me. The dogs I’m using are Bernese mountain dogs, Greyhounds, Huskies, Pitbulls, Dachshunds, and Chihuahuas.
    Thanks for your time!

    • Hi Heidi –

      This is a complex question. Have you searched “slow motion dog running” in youtube? You’ll get many results with all sorts of breeds. Yes, sighthounds, like greyhounds, are bred to have long curved backs and straight shoulder angles so that when they “drop” into a running posture, they can function with a grace and speed other dogs cannot. (Compare their build to a cheetahs.) The shorter the back, the less fast they can do. The shorter the leg, the less fast they can go. Anyway – good luck. That’s a fun project. – Sarah

  61. Hi Sarah. I am a student in Colorado. I am in the research portion of a newspaper that I am doing for a school project and I would like your help. The newspaper I am doing is about how dogs learn. I was wondering if you could help me on this.

    • Hi Kaitlyn –

      What a great project! I wish I had time for all the great projects that come my way but I just cannot be of help this week. But I thank you for asking and I’d love to see your article when you are finished. Best – Sarah

      • Hi Sarah, I was the student in Colorado doing the newspaper article and I finally finished the article! You said you wanted to see it when it was done, so I was wondering if I could email you the article.

  62. Hello i am a high school-er in beech grove Indiana. My teacher had us pick a project to do on anything we want. I picked pit bulls. I’m a stronger believer that they are great dogs with bad owners. I was wondering if you could answer a couple questions for me. My email is
    Thank you have a great day

    • Hi LaShonda –

      Sounds like you picked an interesting project. I wish you the best with it but I, unfortunately, do not have time to help you right now. I will send you a couple of links that may be useful. Good luck! Sarah

  63. Thank you Sarah I will definitely try to show you the finishing article!

    Thank you for responding-


  64. Hello! My name is Diana Lovermi and I am a student at Stockton University in New Jersey. I am doing a project on dogs and their understanding of human feelings and was wondering if you would be willing to answer some questions I have about this topic. Specifically, I am conducting an i-Search paper which is basically an informal research paper in which I must do my own research and contact/ talk to people in order to gather my own information. Thus, I am contacting you!
    The questions I have are…

    Do you believe dogs can understand human emotions? For example, if a human is crying, do you think the dog understands? What if the human is their owner? How do you think the dog would react?
    How attached are dogs to their owners?
    Do you believe dogs have emotions, like those of humans?

    Thank you in advance for your time! I hope to hear back from you as soon as you are able to! Thank you again.


    Diana Lovermi
    College Student

    • Hi Diana –

      You are doing a great project. In short, yes, dogs have emotions and yes they can understand ours and yes how much they respond to us varies dog to dog (just as it varies person to person.) Google dogs and oxytocin to find a rich resource for your project. Good luck – Sarah

  65. My family and I just adopted an 11 month old lab. She is perfect in every way except she is reluctant to pee. We’ve only had her for a week. She had never been on a leash, and while we wait for our fence to be installed, she must be on a leash to potty. During her first week, she has figured out the pooping, but holds her pee. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Jennifer – this is a more common problem than you might think. Solutions to try: a longer leash (10 feet or so,) walk in a slow large circle in a quiet, grassy area, do not look at her, do not talk to her, just keep her moving along slowly and be patient. Expect to walk for 1/2 or more so I listen to audio books. Once she starts to go, stand still, say NOTHING until after she is done then praise her warmly. Once she has gone a few times, this should be over and done with. So, hang in there and congrats on your adoption. Best – Sarah

  66. Hi,
    I already have a 5 yr old King Charles spaniel. She is lovely natured and a really good dog, though I took her in when she was 2 yrs old, so have never experienced a pup. I have decided to get a pup after Christmas but want to get it right. Di I get a crate? Or put them together? I also have a 5 yr old daughter so worry about any crying at night?! What do you think is best to do??
    Thanking you in advance :-))))

    • Do you get a crate for the pup? Yes!
      Do you put them in together? No. Your older dog does not need to be crated, any more than you put your first grader back into a crib when you an infant arrives in your home. Infant treated like an infant. Pup is treated like a pup. 🙂
      Will the pup cry at night at first? Probably. Crate her next to your bed the first few nights. I have a blog on this here.

      Have fun and congrats on your new pup!

  67. Hi Sarah!

    I have an 11 month old dog, Ollie. He is a mixed breed – actually got a DNA test for him done a few months ago and he is half American Staffordshire Terrier & Border Collie / half Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix.

    Oliver responds extremely well to human correction, but I’ve tried multiple dog daycares and everytime I pick him up, they express concerns on his social skills with other dogs. Ollie has no fear, is dominant, and LOVES TO PLAY. But sometimes his love of play and his dominance get in the way to where he is running into other dogs playing, forcing others to play with him, and is so energetic about the entire day in daycare. No daycare seems to want to take the risk and the last one told me it may not be worth my money because of all the “time outs” they have to put him in. It makes me sad because I know he enjoys his time, but I don’t think other dogs around him enjoy him. I’ve asked for tips on how to nurture healthy social skills, but haven’t had much help. Ollie is very energetic, so we go for walks daily (sometimes twice a day) and work with him in the house as well. He has good restraint inside the apartment, but when you let him around other dogs, it’s a different story. Do you think this is something that will come with maturity? I know 5 month old dogs that go to daycare and do just fine. Any tips are greatly appreciated!


    • One thing I did not mention is he does tend to whine a lot in the apartment… we’re not sure why either. He does whine when he needs to go out but it’s also beyond that as well. He will whine when he’s not getting attention. I will ignore him. But it doesn’t seem to help. I don’t know if these things are related?

      • My guess is you talked to him when he started this and now it’s a habit. Train him to do other things on command so you can send him to his bed or his crate or into a down when he whines. Time to skip treats at home for the basics and really using that brain of his. My guess is, with that cross, he has a very, VERY, good one.

    • Hi Amy – My guess is Ollie is not a group-play dog. Not now and now ever. What you describe is probably not “play,” no matter how much he is personally enjoying it, as much as bullying.

      Find dogs he can play with one-on-one, ideally older dogs who can set boundaries for him that he will respect so he can learn to moderate his behavior. There are many dogs who do not do well in group play situations (I’ve had a few myself.) Many just suffer in relative silence at daycare or their behavior at home degrades, either way, he’s not alone in daycare not being the right care for him. Just find him larger, older dogs he can play with productively. Do not allow him to gain more practicing bullying other dogs. No good ever comes of that. Good luck! Sarah

      • Thanks, Sarah! I actually know a 6 yr old dog with a great disposition whose parents have a dog walking business. I may tap into this.



    • There are many, many good brands of food right now. Feed what you can easily get and that your pug does well on. Personally, I’d be feeding adult food but ask your vet for guidance. Good luck!

  69. I have a 2 year old lab mix, Sadie. My husband passed away in October and he and Sadie were close. She has been somewhat depressed and now I will be leaving for 2 or 3 months. I has thought that Sadie could go stay with my daughter in town, but she lives on a busy street and will be gone from home most of the day while at work. What is the best thing for me to do for her care while I am gone?

    • So sorry for your loss, Debbie. {{{ }}}

      Putting Sadie someplace where she is known and feels comfortable is a great plan, as long as you think she’ll be safe there. Is your daughter careful with her animals? Think this is a fact-based concerned or an understandable but not fact-based fear of another possible loss? Only you can make that call. Sadie is lucky to have you. – Sarah

  70. Are dogs actually colorblind

  71. Dear Sarah, I have two beautiful chocolate Labrador retrievers. My seven year old is a AKC Master Hunter and has her Canine Good Citizen. She is a descendant of Baracuda Blue MH FC AFC CFC CAFC and a pedigree of Master Hunters. Her now 1 1/2 year old pup was a product of Field Champion Running With The Devil pedigree and field trial champions and Master Hunters. My wife and I are divorcing and I have been out of our home for 1 year sice she “kicked me out” My attorney has told me I would have to sue her in cival court for custody of the dogs and at best the court would award shared custody. That will not work because I now live 1,200 miles away. He has asked me to put a value on the dogs; to me they are priceless. So how could a find someone to place a monetary value on them? I have searched the web to no avail. Can you help?

    • So sorry for all your loss and changes. 🙁

      Value? Priceless. But you can find out how much it would cost you to “replace” him with a similarly trained dog (though no way to replace the bond) or total up the hours you spent training him, travel, equipment etc. I’d talk to your lawyer but those are the two approaches I have heard of.

      Again, my sympathies. It is always so hard. – Sarah

  72. Hi Sarah! I was wondering if you could help me with my dogs anxiety problems. I don’t want to put him on medication, but I’ve tried virtually everything. My dog Sawyer is a 1 year and 8 month old chocolate lab. He is 107 pounds and super sweet. He loves to play, and honestly doesn’t know how big he is. When he is with me, he is usually very well behaved. He knows every basic command and of course I taught him all the cute fun ones like roll over and play dead and he even knows how to jump over things and go through things and whatnot. My problem is when Sawyer gets anxious he gets very destructive. We have a huge fenced in yard that he runs around in with my parents dog, but he puts his head between the metal bars of our fence and wiggles between them until they bend and he gets out. It’s usually when I’m not allowed, but thankfully someone lets me know and when I go outside and call him he just comes back and is overjoyed to see me. We put in an electric fence around the perimeter of our lot, so he doesn’t try to get out anymore. When he was a puppy, we used to kennel him when we left the house using the command “go home” he would go in willingly and get rewarded but would have some sever separation issues once everyone was out of the house. Once he stopped chewing things while we were gone, we let him out of the kennel, but he started again so we kennel him now. He. Freaks. Out. Every time. I had to zip tie the sides of the kennel together because he broke it apart. He ripped up the plastic kennel tray. He then learned how to open the door from the inside. So I am fixing up a small room for him with all his indestructible toys and his bed in his kennel and water with just a gate or two keeping him in and hopefully that’ll help him not get so anxious. My biggest problem, and what I have given you all this information for, is that Sawyer is TERRIFIED of garbage trucks (or basically trucks in general). He hears them from miles away and goes absolutely ballistic. He shakes, drools, pants so hard I think his heart might burst, crouches low to the ground and tries to hide in the closet. He has broken our sliding closet doors, which we got replaced and he proceeded to scratch them up immediately after. He managed to fit himself through a cat door (note that Sawyer is 107 pounds and about 30 inches around) and pulled it out of the door, leaving a hole in the door. We tried to patch it up so that he couldn’t get downstairs because he would go downstairs while trucks were coming and pee cause he was panicked. He doesn’t pee in the house unless he is panicking. He managed to get through the hole still though, and broke another cat door that was installed in dry wall leading to our storage room. I have tried absolutely everything to try and help his fear of garbage trucks. Desensitizing doesn’t work because recordings of truck sounds doesn’t register as trucks to him, and he doesn’t react to them at all. Trying to distract him doesn’t work because he doesn’t even eat his favorite treats when trucks are near. I just need some advice other than “get a thunder-shirt” or “desensitize him” or those things that I’ve heard a thousand times and tried a thousand times but haven’t worked. He’s such a good dog, but his anxiety is making my family resent him. Please please please help, any advise or suggestions will help. Thank you.

    • What a heartbreak for everyone concerned. So sorry to read your saga.

      Resolving this may or may not be possible and would take a great deal of trial and error. And no, desensitization isn’t going to work when a dog is this frightened. Wish it did; would sure make life easier.

      I’m going to email you right now. – Sarah

  73. Hi Sarah can you help please. Or anyone?
    My dog barks and cries in the middle of the night he has only start doing it recently. But it’s like he is scared of something. He is shaking and trying to hide in tiny corners when you go downstairs to check on him. We let him out every night before we go to bed and make sure he has plenty water. Any ideas what could be causing him to be like this. Can dogs see things we can’t see, cos it really seems like he is scared of something or someone in the house. It’s really late at night he has been doing it keeping all the house awake. Please help

    • That is odd. Any animals outside this time of year? That can frighten some dogs and we are often unaware. Frightened dogs often feel cozier crated or gated into a small room. Just a thought.

  74. Hello Sarah, I was wondering if I could email you ten questions about dogs and their behavior for a school project I’m doing. My thesis statement is ‘Has the domestication of dogs improved society by working and comforting humans?’ So I was hoping I could interview you over email. Thanks!~

  75. Hi Sarah,
    I just adopted a 5 month old, lovable mutt! It is the first dog for our family and it has been quite an adjustment! He is a sweetheart, full of energy, and definitely a great addition to our family, but these first couple weeks have also been anxiety-producing as we figure out his schedule while still balancing our kids’ needs and our own schedule. Do you have any advice for staying sane during these early days of puppy ownership?! Thank you!

    • It gets easier! Don’t worry about leaving him crated a few hours to do what needs doing (assuming he is crate trained). feeling guilty makes everything harder. So, have fun, start training, take him places, crate when you need to and… congrats!

      • Thank you, Sarah! Your message makes me feel like I can do this! It’s really hard not to feel guilty when I need to put him in his crate to focus on the kids. When he starts whining I want to give in and let him out. I need to keep reminding myself that I’m in charge, not him, and that this phase is fairly short-lived. Thank you!

  76. Hello! I have an important question. My family owns a dog but I would like to get my own personal dog. The dog we have now has been with us since she was a puppy and is now a 12 year old. Would it shorten her life if i brought another dog home? I was planning on keeping it in my room in a cage when I am gone and letting my dog now run around outside of my room. I DO NOT want to affect my current dog’s life at all. We love her too much and it would kill us if we affected her life span.

    • Does your current dog like other dogs? Thoughtfully added and managed, many older dogs enjoy having another dog around. If your dog dislikes other dogs then it’s another issue.

  77. Sarah,
    Just wanted to let you know that Willy passed away on July 24th – he was almost 17 and 1/2. He was healthy right up to the end and just decided it was time to go. Hope all is well with you. Do you ever hear from Lily?

    • Hi Barbara – So sorry to hear that but 17.5?!!! Wow. That is something to be proud of. Stopped by and visited Lily in Pittsburgh on one of my cross country jaunts. She has a gorgeous spot and seems very well. I’ll email you… Sarah

  78. Sarah I hope you can answer a quick question. My son purchased a golden retriever from the Hearts of Gold kennels in Two Rivers WI which is the same kennel we purchased our now 6 yr old golden retriever from. My son lives in FL and is struggling with getting the pup home. The airlines require the pup to be 10 weeks old, the breeder would charge a daily fee and is not able to keep the pup another 2 weeks due to their schedule. But the breeder is planning a trip to Pensacola FL by truck, trailering their Harley motorcycle. For a fee, they have offered to bring the pup with them in the truck and my son would drive from Palm Beach FL up to Pensacola (about a nine hour drive one way) to meet them and accept the pup. The breeder has also offered to bring the pup to Tallahassee BUT from Pensacola to Tallahassee they would be on their Harley and the pup would be in a crate. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THAT, OR WOULD YOU EVER RECOMMEND TRAVELING ON A HARLEY FOR 3 HOURS FOR A 7 week old pup????? The breeder doesn’t seem to think it would be detrimental. At this point I plan to recommend to my son that he not allow the motorcycle transport and he will have to meet them in Pensacola. What do you recommend regarding the 3 hour Harley ride for a 7 week old pup? Thanks so much.

  79. Hello there 🙂

    I just buy a pug of 4 months , which royal canin food will be best for him, there are so many like ‘upto 10months etc’ but i don’t know whic is best for him, because i didnt find any food printed ‘for 4 months or upto..’ Please advice me.

    • It IS confusing, isn’t it? Royal Canin is a fine brand and, at 4 months, I would feed any of the puppy foods or even adult foods with confidence. I, personally, and I am not a vet or a canine nutritionist, have switched pups to adult food at 4 months for decades. That is when teething starts and rapid growth slows to a more manageable pace. I’ve never had a problem with that and given that no animal in nature gets a special diet after weaning, I’ve always felt comfortable doing this BUT, there is a lot of conflicting info out there so you do what you think is best.

  80. I inherited a great dane from a family down my street. She’s seems so sad and whines while looking out the window. The daughter of the previous owners stopped by and Marnie was so happy. When she left back to pacing and whining. Should I let her come by at lunch and take her out etc? I just don’t want her to get all worked up.

    • I’d let Marnie settle in first. It’s too confusing and hard for her to see her old life while trying to adjust to her new life. Start training with her to help build your new connection. Teach her games and tricks. Have fun with her. Good luck!

  81. I would like to have an expert’s opinion. I have a 14 yr. yorkshire. He’s been with us since day one. He is more attached to me than to anyone else at home. I have to leave, and will be gone for a very long time. My concern is how will my dog take this? Will he get depressed? He will not be changing home. Everything will be the same, I am the only thing that won’t be here. Can you please give me your opinion or advice if there is any, on how do deal with this? Thank you!

    • Hi Demitra – It’ll be a change for him, for sure, but my guess is he will attach to his next favorite person in your family. He is lucky nothing else will change. He will be very happy to see you when you return. – Sarah

      • Thank you for taking time to read and answer! Your answer is what I was hoping to hear! I already feel much better!!! Thank you once again!!! 😀

  82. Hi Sarah! I’m having quite a dilemma. I’ve had my Beagle, Fanny since she was 9 weeks old and she was potty trained easily and quickly. Through the many years, she’s now almost 10 years and I’ve recently claimed her back from my parents. They lived in the rural area where she had plenty of room to roam and much freedom to go in and out of the house through the dog door. My boyfriend and I live in the city and have a tie out for her but we have to lock the doors for when we leave for work. Since having her for a week in my new home, she has been using the bathroom in my dining room whether we are home or not.
    I’m getting really frustrated and I’m out of ideas as of what to do, please help!

    • Hi – Sounds like Fanny needs some help transitioning. So, if she’s acting like a puppy, treat her like a puppy. Back to a crate schedule, keeping an eye on her and walking her on leash so you know what she did and when. Block off the dining room for now (though she should not have a chance to get to it without you going too for a couple of months). She’s just confused. This too shall pass with your help. – Sarah

  83. Hi sarah , i have a dog that is almost 4 years old. he has lived in my household since he was 8weeks old with my brother , mother , and i. Everyone in the house is attached and loves him very much as he gets along and loves everyone back. Unfortunately i will be moving out of the state that i live in this upcoming September. I do not know whether or not i should bring my dog with me. He is my dog and has been my responsibilities since i first got him. He has the strongest relationship with me out of everyone else in the house but he still has very strong relationship to my mother in particular because she spoils him with treats and love all day long. he is comfortable in the home he is in now and has his own routine with doing everything. I just don’t want to bring him far away and change up his whole life style but then again i know he will miss me terribly as i will miss him.

    • Hi Hunter – Your dog sounds lucky to be so loved. I guess my first question is, after you move, how much free time will you have for your buddy? If you’re moving to school or work, your time may be pretty tight. Maybe a compromise… move and settle in. See what your new life looks like and then think about where he would have the best possible life. How does that sound? Sarah

      • sounds great. i am going to work but not until I’m there for a few months and get settled in. but yes thats a good idea thank you so much for taking the time to get back to me.

  84. I have 50 days old Rottweiler and eating clay alot whenever i see she is having clay then i tell to stop eating this but sometime it is very difficult to keep an eye on her.

    Can anyone assist me on this and can give me some tips so that my puppie can stop easting clay.

    I really appreciate your support and help in advance.

    Nitin Maggo

    • Is the clay causing any problems? The best way is to keep her on leash with you or confine her safely away from it if it causes problems. I’d teach “Leave It” and review the diet/check for parasites as sometimes that can be at the root of such things. So, I’d ask her vet for insight on this one.

  85. Hi Sarah I have a question for you. My puppy is only 7wks old and when I got him he is covered with fleas and I heard this old school trick to get rid of them is to use burnt motor old and then bath the dog after will that work and is it safe for my puppy

    • No. There are so many good, safe ways to remove fleas these days no reason to put your pup through that mess. If you want simple, get a nice foamy flea shampoo. Wet his neck first and soap all around that area first because fleas head uphill (to the head) during a bath and that creates a flea-killing barrier. Then shampoo the rest of your pup as per instructions. Use tepid water (not warm, not cool) and rinse a lot. That will get most of them. Your vet can help you with long-term flea control. Also, your pup needs worming and vaccines. Congrats on your new puppy. – Sarah

      • Thanks Sarah but I was told that being he’s only 7wks old that the chemicals in the flea shampoo would make him sick being that he’s still so young

  86. Hi Sarah,

    I have an 11momth old French bulldog with my girlfriend, and he still seems to be having problems inside his crate. We have tried everything to try and stop this happening, but we are still having problems. It\’s almost as if its done through stress. As on a few occasions we have let him stay in bed with us and he doesn\’t have problems through the night then. We are running out of ideas and wonder if you could help us?
    King regards

    • Hi –

      By “problems” you mean pees and/or poops in the crate? Yes, that can be stress. How much do you crate him when you are home? Making it a routine part of his day can help him learn to accept it calmly. There is much you can do. Sarah

      • Yes i mean pees and poops, he goes into his crate at night time. And also when we are at work. Which he doesn\’t get left alone that often in the day. Probably 5 hours at most. We want to keep him in the kitchen but don\’t feel we can do that until he is trained properly. Do you have any suggestions in ways we can stop this?

  87. My father was given a short time to live and over the last week his dog has been acting strangely. While dad is sleeping, which is a lot, Pancho puts his front paws on the couch, looking dad in the face and whining. Dad didn’t wake up so Pancho jumped up on the couch and licked dad’s face to wake him up. Yesterday Pancho jumped on the couch and layed on dad’s chest. Is this a sixth sense sign that dad will be leaving us soon?

  88. I’m looking into using sheep/goats to take care of my acreage instead of having to mow it. Can a herd dog keep a dozen of them from leaving a 20 acre area?

  89. Hi Sarah, my dog has just been diagnosed with malignant melanoma and we are planning to bring him for x-ray soon to see if it has spread to the lungs. Worst case scenario if it has spread, what are your advice on this? how long does he have to live?

    • I don’t know for sure, Natalie, but it is never long enough. {{{ }}} I’m sorry your dog has cancer and I hope there is an option that works for her.

  90. Hi Sarah
    I have a 2 year old female German Shepherd (Zee)and we took in a 5 year old male German Shepherd (Ruger) from a friend of ours who isn’t able to care for him anymore. Ruger is a well trained dog and is very very friendly with humans. But when we introduce him to other dogs he’s calm at first, he does all the smelling and he allows the other dogs to smell him too, and out of nowhere he attacks the other dog. we’ve had him for a few days now and we constantly have to keep Zee and Ruger separated because he keeps trying to attack her but doesn’t fight back. We’ve tried walking then along side each other and Zee is super friendly and just wants to play with Ruger but he refuses to even go near her. Any thoughts on what’s going on or why he’s so aggressive towards other dogs? any suggestions on what we could do to get him to warm up to Zee or how to deal with this?

    • That is a “needs hands on help” situation from a local dog pro. Until then, continue to separate them and work on your basic verbal control so you can stop him when he starts to get tense.

  91. Hi Sarah,
    I’m Alexa Holden and I’m doing a report for school could you tell me if dogs dream? If they do what about, can they dream like us or do they just dream about random stuff?

    • Hi Alexa –

      So they dream? They certain appear to by the twitching of their paws, muffled barking and tail wagging some do when they sleep.

      What exactly do they dream about. No one knows, we can’t ask them, but I hope it is of happy times.

      Hope that helps –


      PS: I LOVE when my dog’s tail wags when she dreams. Makes me happy to know she is having a happy memory. Or at least, I hope she is.

  92. Hello,

    I am seeking advice on resources for how to best handle a situation of a new puppy and an old dog. the old dog is a tibetan spaniel who was rescued 4 years ago from shelter. he is fine dog however he does have more bad traits that i would like to avoid being rubbed off on to this new puppy. the old dog is very dependent on its owner and cannot be alone by itself and free in the home. if it is free in the home it will scratch the floor so we have to put him in a cage. The dog is also obnoxious in the car, he does not seem to calm down in the car and just is anxious. I am looking to train a new puppy but not have these and other bad habits rub off on it from this old dog. any recommendations for resources I can review to assist with this?

    • Dog habits – good and not good – are not so easily shared between dogs. I would probably start crating your older dog in the car since he is calmer when crated. Other than that, spend time with your new pup away from your older dog, socialize and train him daily and just you and the pup and maybe the pup’s good behavior and confidence will help your older dog. Good luck! Sarah

  93. Hi…. I have a 6 months male english coker spanial.. I want to get second dog like german shepard… I am confused about the german shepard’s gender..

    • Usually, getting a second dog of the other gender works best. There are exceptions, of course, but that’s a good guideline.

  94. Hello Sarah, please help me fast, I adapt French mastiff 5 weeks puppy yesterday, after eating lunch, his belly hanging more than 2 hours after eating, stool is loose or paste-like, today morning he eat royal canin n throw it, and not he is again trying to vomit, what happen with him?

    • Hi Naro – he is a very baby puppy who needs immediate veterinary attention. There are many things it might be and only a dog doctor can tell you what it is and how to get him better.

  95. Hi Sara I am trying to get my dog to relax about going in the car but I cant even get her to walk around the outside of the car. I would love your tips.

    • Hi Angelina –

      Fear isn’t a quick fix. Ever. In humans or dogs. Some easy thing are play “Near is Dear” (explained in My Smart Puppy) or start feeding her near the car then, as she relaxes a bit, in the car. That would be a start.

      Start a near as the car as you can be AND have her eat. Good luck! Sarah

  96. We are owners of a rescue dog (Tennessee Treeing Brindle?) who live in NYC. Ada has been with since she was 3 mos. She is now 2 1/2 years old. She has always been a very social dog, both with other dogs and especially us humans. Recently however she is insistent that my wife and I go out with her together. If we both don’t go she can be incredibly resistant and shows anxiety outside. She will do her business then want to come right home.
    I get the sense that she feels the need to protect us and worries when we are not all together. A few months ago there was a non-dog owner (being polite) in our local dog run who spooked her badly. The man was yelling how beautiful she was in a loud, piercing voice. We also has building construction going on next door.
    This is new behavior. For the past 2 years this has never been an issue. We take her off leash in Central Park often.and she is a happy squirrel chasing wonder.
    As my wife and I work freelance we have many opportunities to walk her together, but we also want to get things back to the way they were.

    • I should also add the Ada has no issues at all when my wife and I leave her alone in the apartment. She will happily go in the crate if we are away for a long period, or we will leave her out for a short absence and she if fine.

      • Hi William – Wish I still lived in NYC so we could sort this out. Since this is new and she is otherwise stable, I suspect this will be a quick fix with some good hands-on help. Until then, have you, by any chance, been sympathizing with this behavior? Soothing her? Petting her? Allowing her to haul you back into the building?

        When things go awry, I always start with the basics: sits, downs, waits and loose leash walking. How are those going? Without treats?

  97. We do let her take us back home after she\’s done her thing. The choice is that or try to coax her down the street for a walk which is frustrating for my wife and I.

    Here\’s what today was. Raining this morning (7A) so my wife took her out for a quick pee. Both of us use treats to get her out the door.
    A few hours later (10:30) we both took her out to do errands. She did her thing with light stubbornness.
    She stayed with my wife in her studio (the standard afternoon) until around 3:30 when I took her out. She knew she has to go. I got her down the stairs with a firm command but once out the door she was shaking.
    I made her cross the street with some firm vocal persuasion and a tug (she knows when I won\’t take no for an answer) then she flapped her ears and we went to the new dog run in the hood. No problem.
    Yes we use treats to bribe her, but still use the basics until the frustration level gets too much.

    Could the construction situation be a factor?

  98. I have 8 months German Shepherd. He is skinny and I think not growing like other German shepherds grows. I have tried dog food , chicken. , eggs…what should I do now….

    • Bring your concerns to your vet. Could be parasites. Could be digestive issues. Could need a third meal a day. Could be he’s a normal lean pup. No way to know from here. Hope all is well. – Sarah

  99. Hi there,

    Looking for some advice on naming a new puppy. I have read that your dogs name shouldn’t sound like a verbal command you would use. I really like the name Juno for my puppy, but would a dog confuse their name “Juno” with “No”? Or is that not a real concern, or not similar enough to be confused as the same word or command? Would love some advice on this.


    • Hi Lisa – It’s not a huge concern but if it confuses your dog at all, why not pick another sound? There are so many great names that you can avoid any possible confusion/stress pretty easily. Congrats on your new pup! Sarah

  100. Hi Sarah,
    My boyfriend and I adopted a 2 year old Great Pyrenees last September and absolutely fell in love with him. However, he has severe separation anxiety any time we leave him alone. In our apartment, he will chew and scratch at the door and has even been able to unlock the dead bolt and open the door so that he can escape from the apartment. I have been able to make a contraption so that he cannot open the door, but he still chews, scratches, and barks relentlessly. At my parents house, we have tried to keep him in the backyard, which is fenced in, thinking he would be happier outside with a larger area to run around in. However, he has escaped twice by digging and crawling out underneath the fence. We take him on long walks and even have a Xanax prescription for him for days when we know we will be leaving, but it has gotten to the point where we can’t even make dinner plans without getting somebody to watch him. Previously, we had a crate for him, but he hated it and completely destroyed it one day after he escaped out of it. We are now considering an invisible fence so that he won’t escape, but I have my reservations about it. Do you have advice?

    • Wow. That is a lot to deal with. I’d get an experienced dog pro in to look at what is going on. That’s no fun for anyone.

      I’d start with how is his basic obedience? Big, low-key dogs often don’t get the mental work they need to feel both calm and properly connected to their people. I always start there.

  101. I have about a 18 month year old black lap puppy, he’s a big boy. He is afraid of being separated from us, he hates his kennel and I literally have to pick him up and put him in there. I am going to college in August and I need to crate train him before then so my mother and sister will be able to tell him to go in it and he will or I might have to get rid of him. What’s the best way?

  102. Dear Sarah,
    Hello. My name is Jane. I have a long story about my dogs so here goes. I have to amazing 10 month old puppies. One is perfectly healthy but quite hyper. However, the other is healthy but has a knee problem called luxating patella. This is when her knee pops out easily. It has usually just been her back right leg, but recently, both of her legs have been giving out. She is very athletic and loves to run so I hate to see her in so much pain. I took her to the vet and they just gave her anti-inflamitories. They also said to either put or down or get rid of my hyper dog if it gets even worse. She said because my hyper dog jumps on my hurt dog playfully and causes further damage. I have taken them both to a puppy training class and she has improved. Still, I don’t want to get rid of her or put the other down. What should i do? I was thinking of surgery. Will it work with my hyper dog? Will she heal properly? Please help
    Thanks for your time,
    Jane M

    • Hi Jane – That’s a tough one. If one dog is hurting another, even in good fun, and it cannot be stopped or controlled then you either find a way to control it or you place the healthy dog so you can protect your hurt one. Allowing her to be hurt over and over isn’t okay, even when it happens in the name of love.

      Sorry. 🙁

      I certainly would not put the hurt one down. She can live a fine life as soon as she stops being injured and re-injured.

      I know this is hard and not your hope or plan and that you love them both but love means doing what is best for the loved one, even when it is tough on us. {{{ }}} Sarah

  103. Hi Sarah, how are you? I found your page very interesting and suitable for my search results. I m glad that i found a good guide by seeing all the blogs in your page. I was hoping to adopt a Saint Bernard, but there are so many sellers with different quotes and also with different breeds in the markets. So I was hoping that u might help to identify the best and pure breed of Saint Bernard. How to identify the best and pure breed. It’s not that I don’t like other breeds, don’t take me wrong for that. I am looking for a best And pure breed and I don’t want to get misleads this time. Please help me on this and also brief on how to feed her and keep it in well disiplined thank you

    • Hi – First question: Why do you want a Saint? That’s a massive animal with unique demands and needs. I’d find a local rescue who can help you find a great dog and educate you about the breed. There are rescues all over the US and the world. Start there.

      Glad you are being thoughtful and careful. Good luck – Sarah

  104. Hello Sarah! I have a seven year old Boston Terrier. When my dog was a puppy he was attacked by an older dog. Ever since then he been aggressive towards other dogs. When he sees another dog the hair on his back stands up, he barks, growls, and tries to attack. For years we have kept him away from other dogs. When I am walking him and another dog passes I have to pick him up. We are realizing he might be scared and trying to defend himself. We would love to try to help him a potentially get another dog. Is he too old to retrain? Do have any advice? Thank you.

    • Hi Anna – He is not too old to learn how to calm down a bit. You’ll need a good local pro to help you get there though. This is not a DIY project. You’ll goal is to teach him calmer choices when no other dog is in sight and then reward him to making calmer choices when they are. Correction will not help either of you here. Good luck! Sarah

  105. hello can you give me a advise i have to take a dog for home protection so which dog is good. does rottwiler is good or not.

    • Hi Jatin – Can’t answer that one. Don’t know your situation or what breeds are in your area. In general, I do not recommend true protection dogs are pets. Such dogs are working dogs and need to be managed by experienced people. Often a large pet dog with good obedience training does the trick in the US. Sarah

  106. We have 2 week old puppies mom died so we’ve been bottle feeding one of the pups won’t poop and weve tried wiping her butt with wet towels but she hasn’t gone in a couple days she looks like shes trying but can’t what can we do please email or call me 7047337000

  107. Hi Sarah. I happened to come across your site and you seem quite knowledgeable so here’s my question: I am picking up my new Poodle Bichon puppy next week. She will be eight weeks old. When I first bring her home and start doing potty training, should I teach her to use pee pads or go outside? I want her to be able to do both; outside when I’m home and pee pads when I’m at work. Is it possible to teach her both right away? Thanks.

    • Hi Kathy – If you want both in the long run then you pee pad train first. Go outside daily to socialize her and teach her about the world but reward and focus on the pee pads. That’s how I handle that situation. Have fun! Sarah

  108. Hello, I’m sorry for taking your time but I just have a quick question. So I’m mostly out due to school; I leave home at 8 and come back from 4-6 and I was wondering if either Maltese or yorkie poo or which breed is good for that. I don’t want a super energetic one that will start destroying things but j don’t want a couch potatoe. And I was wondering if you could please help me with this doubt as I have been researching a lot but haven’t found specifics. Thank you have a great day.

    • Hi Kathy – My first question is how much time do you have for your companion before and after school? That is a long time alone every day for any dog. They are not meant for isolation. It can work but usually with an older dog and with someone who devotes time in the AM to a long walk or play time and the same in the evening. You might consider adopting an older dog who is already through puppyhood and who could adapt more easily to the time alone. Or, it may just not quite for time for a dog in your life. If you leave for college in the next 4-6 years, who will care for your dog then? Many questions to answer. Good luck – Sarah

  109. Hello!
    I don’t know if you remember me at all but I worked with you a little over 10 years ago with my papillon and border collie. Since then you have inspired me to follow my passion in dogs. Now I show my dogs in confirmation and groom for a living. Had it hadn’t been for you, and the extra care you took to let me spend time on the farm with you in Gardner, help out with seminars I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve been trying to relocate you for years! Hope to get in touch again
    -Kimberly Clark

  110. Hello I have a few questions about my dog and it feels like we have tried everything. I adopted Robin, my 3 year old cattle dog/beagle mix, from a rescue about 8 months ago and we have having some problems that we just cant solve. She keeps peeing and pooping in the house. We have tried scolding her (we know its wrong to scold unless we catch her in the act and we never hit her), putting a diaper on her, letting her out more, keeping her close by so we can watch her, keeping a consistent schedule, trying to train her to use bells to tell us when she has to go but she still goes. She knows that outside is where she is suppose to go but she never tells us when she has to go so she just sneaks down stairs or in a room. I have asked many people including a veterinarian and they have been no help. Is there anything we can do? It’s getting very frustrating and i can’t give her back. I love her too much. I feel like she is just untrainable. I can’t even teach her how to play with toys, play fetch, stick her head out the window, and just things that dogs usually do. She is also food aggressive with other dogs but that isn’t a major problem. Please help us. I would appreciate so much. Thank you for your time

  111. Hi Sarah,
    I just found this website and have been very impressed by what I’ve read so far. I have several topics of concern so I hope you can bear with me 🙂
    I adopted Nina from a rescue organization this past April, she is 3 years old in August (as best we can tell) and weighs 33lbs but still looks like a puppy because she is pretty compact. I was told she is a lab, collie, and terrier mix. People say she looks like she has pit bull in her, others say they can’t see it, I have no idea. She was picked up as a feral about a year ago and doesn’t seem to ever have been leash trained but we are making progress with that. A Thunderleash and a Gentle Leader head halter have helped immensely—that and cheddar cheese :).
    One of the posts from December 2, 2015 about a dog named Ollie addressed something I think I’m seeing with my Nina. I think she exhibits some of the same symptoms I saw described by Ollie’s owner. “… has no fear, is dominant, and LOVES TO PLAY….” Sounds a lot like Nina. “But sometimes his love of play and his dominance get in the way to where he is running into other dogs playing, forcing others to play with him, and is so energetic” Some of this sounds like Nina at the dog park. She is very energetic but does stop to rest, will not exactly force others to play but she will bounce around them playing the pouncing game until they either put her off (walk away a couple times or growl or snap) or agree to play. She was being fostered with 9 other dogs and the foster human told me that she was the only one that could get each of them to play with her.
    She looks like she’s playing pretty rough, especially with dogs smaller than she is, like puppies. I would like to take her to doggie day care but I’m a bit wary of how she might behave and I’m not there to take responsibility or pull her out of it. She does like to join in a ‘rumble’ if other dogs start it. It all starts out as play but I worry that it might turn into a gang up situation and the dog on the bottom of the pile might feel compelled to defend itself forcefully. Is this part of a pack mentality? From being on the street?
    She doesn’t chase balls or Frisbee but she LOVES to run and chase the dog that is chasing them. And she growls and barks while doing it—it sounds scary to me but the dogs involved don’t seem to react. Is that a normal dog behavior? Something herding breeds do? I don’t see all other dogs doing it, just some. I wondered if that is the owner not teaching good behavior? If it is something I can address I’d like to try (the growling/ barking freaks some owners out a bit).
    Sigh. She is also leash reactive with other dogs. She has been known to not react to a dog that is walking by, but then bark and lunge crazily at other dogs walking by, a dog in the near distance, in their fenced yards as we walk by, as they bark at her from inside their house….
    The ‘use cheese to distract, make her sit and pay attention to you” methods have worked on the farther away dogs and confined indoors dogs but it is a battle royale when they are walking nearby, outside in their yards or walking by. I am able to hold on to her…now (she slipped out of or broke out of 3 collars before we put her on a harness and then the Thunderleash).
    We are attending a class specifically for leash reactive dogs at the local SPCA soon but any advice from you that we might be able to work on a bit ahead of time would be great.
    She is a total sweetheart at home, with friends and visitors in the house, with the family and with select dogs in controlled settings, I just want to help her be that way as much as possible at all times in all places ( I know, it’s a stretch).
    Thanks so much for all the patience and help you give us bewildered doggie parents!

  112. Hi please help me I have a 7 month old female shih tzu who we love to death the problem we have is her messing in the home. If I put a pad down she will go on the pad. If we go in the garden she will do it out there and we praise her so much. If there is no pad she will mess on the floor. We have a dog flap she will go out and play all day long but will still come in and mess some times if I leave the back door open she will still mess on the floor we then tell her off and tell her she is bad. Apart from that she is perfect.
    Both myself and husband work and we are trying so hard to train her but it’s not working any help or advice would be so much help

    • Sounds like things are really confused. I’d set up her crate so the door is open and against the flap so inside she can only be in her crate. That should help get things back on track. If not, I do phone sessions.

  113. Hi Sarah, I have a 4 month old male Pomeranian puppy. I live in Alaska and have a full time job so I chose to train him to use puppy pads. I leave dog food out for him 24/7 because he is very small and had hypoglycemic problems when he was 8 weeks old. He is doing really well about peeing and pooping on the pads. When he poops I clean it up right away but at night when I’m sleeping and am unable to remove the poop right away, he will not pee on the pads. He will even poop twice n one night on the pads but once he has pooped on them he will not pee on the pads. Instead I wake up to a large puddle of pee on the floor in his small pen sleeping area and poop on his pads. There is always plenty of unused pad space where he could have peed. Please help, I’m not sure what to do.
    Also he seems to punish us every time we leave the house, or the room he is in, by peeing on the floor. I think it’s because he wants us to come back to clean it up. He really doesn’t like being separated from us and loves to be wherever we are.
    Please help, I don’t want to be one of those small dog breed owners that has a grown dog still having accidents in the house.

    • Hi there – Question #1 is how small is he now? Hypoglycemic issues at 8 weeks – weeks of a lot of stress with vaccines, wormers, home changes and rapid growth – does not mean a problem at 6 months – vaccines done, worming done, larger and settled. If 5 pounds or over, time for a meal plan! That would help get all this under better control. In lieu of that, consider a larger pen with a second pad area. He’s trying to be uber tidy and you have to love that about him. Good luck!

  114. hey sarah. i was wondering if a black labrador breeds with a yellow labrador and a yellow lab pupy comes out, does the puppy have a chance of having a black puppy, because of the black parent?

  115. hi sarah, my st bernard is about 10 months and my mother wants to neuter him now. when is the best age to neuter him?

    • There are many opinions about that these days, Joseph. I’d discuss your options with your vet but Mom’s vote counts for about 10 votes.

  116. Dear Dog Expert
    I am facing a big problem here. My dogs are too friendly with STRANGERS that’s it my dogs shake it tail when strangers is approaching my house and yet Expert can you please help me out? What action should I take? Hope you reply soon. Thank You.

  117. Hi Sarah!

    I am a university student and after waiting for a really long time, my mother is finally allowing a dog in the house.

    I’m a design student and I’m interested in visualising information of the human-canine bond, the growth data of the canine and anything that would further strengthens the statement of “play as bond”.

    I love dogs and I think it is a great thing that many people chose to own a dog, but it also appears that dog owners do not spend enough time with their pets and especially in the case of living in a city.

    City dwellers live in high rise apartments, work a 9 to 5 job and because of that, their dogs barely leave the apartments. Also, in such a competitive environment such as a city, people often bring their work home and ignore their pets.

    No doubts they love their pet but I feel that people should spend more time with them and not blame their companions for any negative behaviour; there are no bad dogs, just bad owners.

    Do you have any advice on the following:
    How I should collect these data from my new puppy or from other dog owners?
    How these data could be interpreted to educate the public about dog ownership?
    How to educate owners on the importance of the human-canine bond and how that helps to improve the relationships between them and their pets as well as their family members.

    I’m also looking for scholarly articles and would love to hear about which book of yours touches on this specific subject of human-canine bond. 🙂

    Thank you so much for being an inspiration!



    • Actually, city dwelling dogs usually have an excellent quality of life. Every day they get walked, experience new things, other dogs and new people. If you are looking for dogs who may be living a boring life, then I would look in the suburbs where the fenced backyard makes it possible to basically ignore the dog.

      Google “human animal bond full text” and you’ll find plenty of what you are looking for. Keep an open mind and good luck!

  118. Hi Sarah,

    When 2 people have co-owned and raised a dog together but then part ways, shared custody (1 week per person every other week) is an option. In your expert opinion, is shared custody of a dog a detriment to a dog’s well-being? With the living in 2 different places, weekly transporting, routine disruption, etc. does the shared custody option place more stress/anxiety/confusion on the dog than if it were to just never see one of the owners any more?

    • Hi Mel –

      All depends on the dog. Try it for a few weeks and if the dog is fine then it is fine, if the dog starts to stress then it is not fine. And, the adults involved need to behave in adult ways and not work their emotions out about each other through the dog. That can be easier said than done but if that cannot be managed then the dog will probably bear the brunt of that situation. Does that help? Sarah

      • Thank you for the response, Sarah. A follow up question: what would be some of the prominent indicators that the shared arrangement is failing/causing more distress?

  119. Hi Sarah, I am in need of your help. We have a puppy who is 8 wks old. He’s been with us for 3 wks now. He has been very playful and just fun. Now, his mood has changed. He sleeps all day, doesn’t want to play or eat and when I call his name to try and get him to come to me he just turns his head and hide. I don’t understand what is going on. We took him to the Vet and she doesn’t think it could be depression because of the way his poop looked. It was runny with a little blood. So she did give us meds. He is still not his normal self. Is there something we could have done to make him depressed/sad? This is our first dog and we are going through. The first day we got him he acted like this but his sugar was low. This is not the case now because he ate normally before today.

  120. …also he had a little seizure and this is when we found out his sugar was low. The previous owner who sold him to us was not feeding him enough. But, after we got him help has been very playful. Now he just seem so sad.

    • Sounds more sick than “sad” – loose stool with blood can make anyone feel punk. A few days of meds and I bet he’ll perk right up. Hope so. Sarah

  121. Thanks, Sarah. I hope so too. I also just remembered giving treats of chopped chicken breast to him as rewards. I seasoned it with a little salt and I just read this can be dangerous for dogs. Could this be his problem? I’m just nervous.

  122. Seem like he is starting to come back to himself. Jr is playing a little and eating… YES!! So looks like the meds are working.

  123. Hi Sarah my dog is a “Lavrador” and he have an fixation with balls..
    I walk with him every single day and he when have the ball is very quiet but when i don’t give him the ball he change.. jump for me all the time
    I really dont know what to do..

    • Short answer is give him a ball. Longer answer is train him not to do that but you need to teach him when he is calm so he can respond when he is excited. Well worth the effort. I’d start with Space Games from My Smart Puppy: You can do this! Sarah

  124. Hello Madam,

    My name is Supreeth, I have a 33 Days old female Pug.
    It has been 2 days since I have adopted this wonderful dog in my life, we ll the problem is it keeps whining and crying whenever i place it inside the Cardboard box(since i dont have a crate). it constantly seeks attention. when i get him out of the box he starts playing, last night when i got fed up of whining i let him out of the box then he came and slept in between my knees, I know it wants attention and is feeling lonely, where as i am struggling to keep calm and i am getting anxious as in when this whining would stop, please suggest some good strategy so that she stops whining and becomes calm

    • 4-5 weeks old is very, VERY young. At least a month too early to come home. Speak to his vet about what special care he needs to grow up physically and mentally normal. Good luck!

  125. Sarah.
    My family and I are looking to add a dog to our family. We are trying to decide which breed would be best for out family. We have three young kids ages 6,4,2. We would prefer a small-medium size dog. Someone the is great with kids and loves to play. A dog hat does not shed all would be nice but not a necessity. Also one that would be easy to house train. Would you have any suggestions thank you

  126. Hi. We just got two new puppies but we don’t know their breed. Could you help us identify? Make I ask for your email address so i could send some pictures? Thank you.

  127. Dear expert, my dog is suffering from canine distemper, my doctors are trying their best. But, how long does this virus attacks the dogs cells? Do the virus have a life span inside the dogs body? How long will the virus survive inside the body?

  128. Thank you. The story in the second link was encouraging. We will keep on fighting.

  129. Its been 8 days we are fighting together, antibiotics are helping. I do not want my 4 year old “Poko” to slip away…oh God.

  130. Miss sarah, hi
    I live in india and have a 13 year old male daschund now it is solely my fault that he is way beyond his mating age and still a virgin but I have tried taking him to a few bitches and even a daschund bitch but he never responds to them and ignores them I really want to see my dog become a father so is there anyway that I can help him he is quite active sleeps for about 8 to 9 hours a day doesn’t go for walks much but he can be really aggressive sometimes I was thinking I was wondering do they make something like viagra for dogs or anything that can induce the need for copulation in him

    Please advice


    • At his age (roughly 70 for people), I would not expect a dog to have a strong drive to mate. Dogs do not “need” to mate to have a happy life and most dogs in the USA never do. So I would enjoy him just as he is. He does not know what he has missed and has no regrets. Best – Sarah

  131. Dear Sarah Wilson,

    I am a student at Oxford Intermediate School in Oxford MS. I have a group in the first lego league ( FLL ) and we have to solve this problem. Our problem is when dogs spend there whole lives in kennels, and never get adopted. Instead of them wasting there lives in a kennel, we can train them depending on what type of dog they are. For example, a retriever could be a therapy dog. Also, a lab can be a seeing eye dog. We need your opinion on this solution. Do you like our solution, or do you think we need to change it a little bit? Thanks!!!
    5th grade insights class at Oxford Intermediate School

    • Hi Team – What a great project! And you are right one trend here as many organizations go into shelters looking for dogs. Generally, dogs are matched by temperament and ability rather than breed, but the idea is the same. Finding work for the dogs who can do work is ideal. Frequently what can make some dogs difficult for some as a pet (highly active, very determined) may be just what someone is looking for as an arson dog or customs dog.

      So, instead of thinking “a retriever can be a therapy dog” consider what a good therapy dog needs to be. I might say, “Any people-loving, dog-friendly, trainable dog might be a therapy dog.” Does that make sense? Sarah

      • Thank you so much!! This makes perfect sense! This will really help us in our competition!!!! Again thank you so much!!!! We needed this badly.

  132. Dear Expert,
    We are from the Hockaday School, and we are doing a research project about dog food. We are making our own dog food and were wondering if you thought that this is a complete and balanced recipe. We were also wondering if there was anything else like this that already exists. Our idea was to make a dinner and a breakfast dog food packet. Thank you for your time!

    Dinner Recipe:
    ½ cup of ground chicken – 150.5 calories
    ⅛ cup of green beans – 3.875 calories
    ¼ cup of carrots – 12.5 calories
    ⅛ cup of chia seeds – 180 calories
    ¼ cup of basil – 1 calorie
    ⅛ cup of rosemary – 4 calories
    ⅛ cup of oregano- 18 calories
    Enough water to bind

    ¼ Oats – 42.5 calories
    ½ Ground Chicken – 150.5 calories
    7/32 cup Homemade Peanut Butter – 237.5
    1/32 cup Basil – .125 calories
    Enough water to bind

    Madeline and Julia
    The Hockaday School

  133. Just another comment letting you know how wonderful it is that you’re providing such excellent information! Keep up the great work 🙂

  134. hello Sarah, my family is thinking of breeding my dog. She is a 3 year old yorkie and is 4.6 pounds. is it good to breed her with a yorkie the same weight. When should we breed her?

    • Hi Jospeh – many people wonder about that. At your dog’s size, pregnancy and birth are risky for both her and her pups. Set aside enough money to pay for a c-section and enough time to hand raise the pups should your female not survive the surgery. Also, the smaller the puppies, the easier it is for them to perish. So a litter of 2-3 (standard for a yorkie) can easily all die leaving you with heartache and a lot of bills to pay. I always advise people against it. If you’re determined, talk to her vet and to local yorker breeders/rescue and get all the info up front. Sarah

  135. thank you sarah that was some good information for us

  136. Hello Sarah,
    I am a student at Tarbut V’ Torah and I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me!
    1. Do you believe humans have complex emotions?
    2. Why or why not, and if they do what emotions are complex?
    3.Do dogs have complex emotions? What are they if they have them?
    4. Do dogs and humans have the same emotions?
    5. What basic emotions do they have?
    6. Do you have any additional information I can use in my project?

    • Those are all excellent questions, Savanah. Each one a book in itself. What I will say is that while we share what we believe to be common emotions, we will never fully understand what it is to view the world as a dog views it and it would be both extremely human and extremely disrespectful to assume that their emotions are exactly like ours. I doubt it. But I do not doubt that they have them.

  137. Hey Sarah. Hoping maybe you can help

    I have a 7 year old lab mix. She’s a big girl (100#). We recently adopted a puppy who’s currently 22# the dogs play great for the most part other than the large one throwing her weight around…which I assume can be expected. What I worry about is when the little guy tries to jump on the couches the old girl gets aggressive. Loud barks. Sometimes teeth showing. No hair standing up (her real tell) How should I attack this??

    • Hi Ryan – I’d get some experienced eyes on the situation as that’s a big size differential. Your older dog may be exactly right to be setting that line or she may be over the line. Talk to some local dog people to find someone who can help you see the difference. Sarah

  138. Hi my name is Dezirae Kling and i am in a Middle school genius hour class and I would like to know some interesting facts about dogs that people would enjoy and what I could do to make people interested when I am doing a dog slide show. Also, I have a question about dogs- when and how were dogs invented and who invented them. I hope you can answer my question.

    • Hi Dezirae – That is a great topic and good questions. I encourage you to search them and find the answers. I know you can do it and applaud your effort. Good luck – Sarah

      • its Dezirae and we have to ask someone a question about what we are researching and we can ask any question. If you could please get the answer and send pictures or videos please. Thanks Sarah

  139. Hi Sarah my name is Heidi i have a 7month old jack russell girl called Tilly and she is a constant bitter i have tried everything to stop her from biting!! And it\’s only the handsand arms she seems to go for she is very hyperactive and into everything i would be grateful of any help you can give thanks ever so much Heidi

    • Hi Heidi –

      Dogs in general, and terriers in particular, need to be taught positive, rewardable choices. Going toe-to-toe with them is rarely helpful, as you have already found out. Put her on leash and teach her the “My Smart Puppy” exercises in the book. Get some communication going and you’ll have more success. Good luck –

  140. Hello my name is Dezirae and im in a Middle school Genius hour. We have to ask a question about what we are researching it can be any question. So i would like to some interesting dog facts or anything you thing the other students would injoy learning about. Maybe even send me pictures and videos on my Email. If you could answer my question – How do you train dogs to do tricks and them remember how to do it. I choose you to email because i believe that you can answer my question(s).
    Thanks Sarah wilson

  141. It a German Shepherd is put outside with a fence around it and it is snowing can it get sick if it has to be outside like my neighbors outside it doesn’t look comfortable out there please answer I need to know.

    • A well-fed, healthy German Shepherd can do well outside in most areas IF they have proper shelter, water and food. ALL companion dogs prefer to be inside, though. In short, NO dog should be outside without proper food, water and shelter. “Proper” shelter is a weather-tight, winter-appropriate dog house.

  142. Hello Sarah,

    I have a husky and it’s a female. I petted her because my dog was being a good girl. But then, a few seconds later, next to her house, she sneezed and ran around the whole entire backyard. I found out that her nose got bigger and I am pretty sure it’s swollen. I also think she got a spider bite. What should I do??? She can’t stop itching and running around!!! Please help!!!!!

    – Elaine

  143. dear sarah,

    we need some information on dogs helping people that have disabilities.

  144. Hi Sarah, just lost my Pitt after almost 13 years due to cancer ,and she was like one of my kids to me, my wife and I said we weren’t going to get another dog but I’ve had dogs all my life and I don’t even feel right coming home to an empty House, my kids r grown and gone and now no dog, so now my wife and I r tslking about getting two dogs, my wife wants to rescue one and I really want a rotti or another Pitt. I’ve had all kinds of dogs in my lfe but not a rottie . Question , what’s ur opinion on getting a rescue dog and a rottie ,also I’m a senior so is a rottie going to b to high energy for me

    • Hi Jesse – I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your pit. I know that heartbreak well.

      Great dogs come in all shapes, sizes and breeds. That said, I, personally, choose only to have dogs I can easily manage and, if they are hurt or sick, I can easily get into the car. That means I’ve had to let go of a few dream breeds but you know what? There are WONDERFUL rescues of all sizes and it is the heart, not the weight, that determines the greatness of the dog. I’d also say that your wife’s size and strength is part of the equation, too. As hard as it can be, choosing for the life I have, not a dream I’ve long held, is what I try to do. Good luck!

  145. Dear Sarah Wilson,

    I have a group project for school and my group members and I would like to have your opinion regarding how to stop dog aggression towards humans. What are your thoughts on aromatherapy on dogs? Would it be better to have dog owners take a course on recognizing dog aggression behaviors in order for them to help minimize their dogs’ aggressive behavior? What is your opinion on shock collars and do they really help calm down dogs? Do you have any suggestions on which methods are best at calming down dogs? We would really appreciate your answers and suggestions as we need to have an experts opinion regarding this subject. Thank you so much.

    • There are many reasons for aggression and therefore, many ways to address it when it appears. There is no simple answer or pat advice. Big questions. Good luck – Sarah

  146. Hello,

    I volunteer at Blue Chip Farm Animal Rescue in Dallas, Pa. We have a German Shepard mix that was locked in a crate for a very long time and we have not been able to socialize him. We can’t find anyone to walk him since he bites. Do you know of any activities that we could have him take part in to make his days better?

    Name: Tito
    Age: 6 years old
    Sex: Male
    Breed: German Shepherd mix
    Color: Tan with dark spots on face and tail
    Weight: ~68lbs
    Bite History: Yes

    Tito has extremely high anxiety. He is a very fearful dog, and is on guard at all times. He was kept in an airport crate for the first 1 ½ of his life (or around that long). He came to the shelter when he was 2 years old (March 2012). Tito only trusts 4 people, but occasionally gets overwhelmed in simple situations and bites (being fed, leashed, or just simply pet). He is extremely food aggressive, but that could also be him protecting his food because of his fearfulness. He is terrified of gunshots and any loud noises. when he hears them, especially gunshots, he chews on his kennel attempting to break free (he has been successful multiple times). He spins constantly, which is a result of his anxiety and living in a crate for so long. Tito does not like new people, dogs, or cats. He also does not like eye contact, he will bite if you stare into his eyes for longer than a few seconds. Tito’s anxiety and fearfulness are keeping him from being able to live a normal life, the fearfulness might not be able to be fixed but hopefully the anxiety can be!

    Janice Preston
    Blue Chip Volunteer

    • Sounds like Tito is terrified all the time. That’s a tough life. 🙁

      No simple answers from here. He’s a complex case and, at this point, a very, very difficult case to resolve. I’d certainly look at medication for him. Anything to help him be less stressed and frightened. Not normally a recommendation I leap to immediately at his age and issue, meds might be helpful. Or not. I cannot know from here. You need excellent, local, hands-on coaching. Good luck. – Sarah

  147. Hi Sarah,
    My fiancé and I recently adopted a 8 week Australian Shepard mix (not sure exactly what he is) we named Rogue. He just turned 9 weeks old on 12/19. We have to go out of town tomorrow for 3 weeks, kind of a last minute thing for a funeral for my grandmother. He will be staying with one of our friends who adopted his brother. They will be staying at our house the entire time. However, I am worried about a few things, on one hand, he’s so young and I feel extremely guilty about leaving him. He also came to us with kennel cough (he’s on medication for that) as well as coccidia parasite. He has finished those medications, but the vet told us that he cannot go outside as we live in a snowy place and he has not had all of his parvo vaccinations. My questions are 1. Is there anything I can do to make us leaving easier for him (we’ve had him 5 days and he is already super attached)? 2. He came to us trained to go potty on a specific towel, and he still does that, but will it be impossible to train him to go outside once we get the clear? And 3. Will he know who we are when we come back?
    Thank you!! I am having trouble getting ready to leave my little guy!

    • Sorry this came in while I was on vacation. I would not have him potty on a towel as towels will in around his entire life and that can get messy. I don’t know where you live but I don’t understand why he can’t go outside to potty and be socialized.

  148. Hello, my wife spilled a little bleach on my Yorker by accident. When I picked her up her ear smelled a little like bleach. She isn’t showing signs of discomfort right now. What should I do?

  149. Hi Sarah,

    I am a big fan of your blog although I don’t even own one yet! I was wondering if you can give me some advice. Me and my family absolutely love dogs. I honestly think the day I bring a puppy to my place will be one of the happiest days of my life. I’ve grew up around dogs and always knew there would come a time for me to have my own. We are thinking of getting a lab next September, but we really want to make sure the dog has a happy life. Now the problem is that me and my husband both commute to work in London and so we are away for 10h a day. My daughter is going to turn 11 in September and she goes to a local school. Our house doesn’t have a garden. I know this already doesn’t sound ideal but my question is 1) if we make sure the dog has at least 3 long walks a day 2) our retired neighbour takes the dog for a walk during the day whilst we are at work 3) my daughter takes him for a short walk when she returns from school at 3.30 4) and I work one day from home just to be with the dog all day, do you think the dog will get all it needs?

    Your advice would be much appreciated.

    Best wishes

    • That sounds totally workable. Very few homes that are otherwise wonderful have people home all the time. If that were a requirement, many fewer dogs would be loved.

      It will be more challenging with a pup. So, getting a pup earlier in the summer so they can mature a bit before your daughter’s school starts again might work, though that is a lot to ask of an 11 yo.

      Regardless, you are thoughtful about the dog’s needs and therefore I am confident you will work it out well. Good luck!

  150. Hi Sarah,
    You helped me once before and I don’t think this will be a head scratcher for you. We just marked our 1 year anniversary with our beast who we got from a rescue group.
    She is a Gr Pyr/lab/poodle mix and fed a semi-raw diet. We feed her in her crate with the door closed b/c she struggles with the crate ( this gives her positive associations with it) and b/c we have 2 cats. When I introduced chicken feet a few weeks ago she started growling if the cats approached while she was eating. This was new. No issue with me- I can open the door and reach in- but she seems unnerved by the felines. No other guardy issues. She’s got a solid drop it and I can reach into her mouth if I need to. And only with raw/body parts it seems. Kongs filled with dry food/cr. cheese etc do not seem to be a problem. Marrow bones are iffy. So she gets those in the crate too. So far I’m only managing it- monitor the cats etc while she eats/chews. Is this enough? Or should I be trying to rehab this? Not sure what could be more high value than raw to give her as a counter conditioner. She’s lovely with them the rest of the time (unless they wake her up & startle her). And this growling is not all the time. But more than I’d like. Thoughts? She’s a CGC and Therapy dog. Other than this, she’s pretty perfect.

  151. How do I create a close bond with my dog, but keep control of her?
    What proper nutrition do I give her and how often?
    What are the best ways to exercise?

    Thank you, I\’m new!

    • The My Smart Puppy games in the book will help with the bond and building connection. Nutrition – you have MANY excellent options to pick from. I’ve fed everything and now I feed a good quality dry food, of which there are DOZENS! Enjoy!

  152. What would be the best food to donate to a local shelter? And would you please contact me back on my email? I have to donate supplies to a local shelter for a school project. Thanks! 🙂

  153. Hello Sarah. My St.Bernard is 1 year and 4 months old. I have two questions. How much protien and fat does his food need to have? And when should I switch him to Adult food?

    • Hi Elizabeth – I switch dogs over to adult food after teething myself so I would but check with his vet and breeder since giant breeds have their own special requirements. While you’re checking, ask them about foods. There are a myriad of great foods available for you to select from. I happen to be a fan of limited ingredient foods, here’s a selection on Amazon:

  154. Hey, my Yorkie is is 3 years old and doesn’t want to eat her dry food. I was wondering if I could make human wet food for her? And if I can do this, what ingredients do I put in the homemade food.

    • Toy dogs can be prone to bad teeth, even at a young age so I’d check with your vet. Also, try soaking his kibble until soft, see if that helps. If you want to make your dogs food, google that topic. There are many wonderful sites devoted to just that.

  155. Hello, my name is Priscilla and I am a student at Frost Middle School. As a required part of my project, I need to interview an expert on dogs. I would very much appreciate it if you could answer these following questions as soon as possible:

    1.How did you first get interested in dogs?

    2.What dog is known to be the most intelligent?

    3.How is the dogs brain compared to the humans brain?

    4.What kinds of colors do dogs see?

    5.How well is a dogs memory?

    6.How many dog breeds are there?

    7.Do you know any information on puppies and how they are raised?

    8.How many puppies are usually born in a dog litter?

  156. Sarah. My dog jumps on our doors to be let in. No problem there. Can get door shields but what about the weather stripping between the door and the jamb which is shredded?

  157. Sarah,

    Do you do in home training? I am dealing with a rescue 3 year old German Shepherd and he has incredibly severe separation anxiety. I also live in St. Louis. I could use all the help I can get. I am almost at my breaking point where I will need to return him to the rescue.

  158. Oh my, I pray you are the answer to my questions and my prayers!! I have a three year old (today 02/09) male German Shepherd. Yes, I am familiar with them, we had two growing up. Back in August, I was working on a project and let my boy(Anubis) out to go to the bathroom. I continued on my project, and lost track of time. Somewhere between 60-90 minutes later, I went looking for him. He is ALWAYS in the room with me, wherever I am. Usually when he scratches on the door, or if he barks, my children will let him back in if I’m busy, but he wasn’t there! I went to the back and called for him(gated) Nothing. Started asking the kids if they accidently opened the front door, they all said, no! I then was in a panic and went back to the back, where I let him out. He had managed to pull himself to the door from wherever he was, because he heard me call. He was paralyzed in both hind legs, and was dragging them. One held up in front, and the other just loose. The first thing that crossed my mind, He’s been poisoned! I immediately called our vet, and told her his condition. She told me to get peroxide down him, which he took, fully, no problem. My husband left work, then rushed him to the vets office. They started him on IVs and charcoal. The initial diagnosis was bromethelin(sp?) He had serious seizures, tremors, his eyes were hazed over. I love this dog so much, that I begged to stay and sleep with him because he hadn’t spent a day of his life without me! I didn’t care about sleeping in the kennels. No such luck! It’s like leaving one of my five kids. Didn’t make me happy at all!!! Anyway, he remained on charcoal and Iv for three days. He regained partial use of his right leg, but the other leg, was still paralyzed completely when I brought him home. The vet said he’d never use the other leg at all. He had no control of his bodily functions, couldn’t hardly get around at all. I had read about bicycling, and had also read about making him a sling to help him get going. I worked with him constantly. Five days later, he could hobble out to the bathroom on one leg, and two days after that, he started to try to use the other leg. I cried! No joke. I continued to work with him, with great success, until three weeks later… My oldest son, suffered a traumatic brain injury four years prior. Was airlifted to Little Rock children’s hospital. Took two years to rehabilitate him. We had to teach him everything over. My husband is in Law Enforcement, and I have been in the ministry my entire life. With that said, my son was raised correctly. However, on his 21st birthday, Sept 17th, my son decided that he could drink, even though he was advised he couldn’t with his injury. Alcohol and a traumatic brain injury, just doesn’t work. My son had left with his fiancé that morning, and while they were gone, he managed to consume two pints of Hot Damn and two beers. He beat his girlfriend in the car while they were driving, yet she managed to get him home to me, and dad, for help. She had a bloody lip and a black eye. He had never hit a girl in his life!, or said a harsh word to a female ever. Needless to say, I intervened on her behalf. I confronted my son about his actions, and he then attacked me…. My husband, who just by the grace of God, happened to be home, heard the commotion, and rocked my sons world. Anubis followed suit. Crippled and all. Attacked him. My son was kicking him in the head, and I jumped on Anubis to protect him, then put him in our room. I lost my front teeth, but Anubis lost something else. Faith. Since that day, he does not tolerate any of my children. My younger children are 13, 10, and almost 9. He is getting overly aggressive towards them I can’t give them a hug without him growling at them. They can not pet him when I am present, or if they are in the house, can they hug him anymore. Outside, he will play ball with them, and act like a puppy. Inside, something totally opposite. He starts growling if he hears them walking my way! Please help me fix this. He still doesn’t have full use if his leg. He licks that foot til it bleeds… I am just so sad. My sin was sentenced to 8 years, 14 months with good behavior for that day, even though he had no priors.( If that tells you how bad it was) I love my dog! I don’t want him to suffer, what do you think is going on? I have my theories’ but I don’t know what to do from here. He doesn’t trust anyone.

    • I’d suggest immediate assessment by a local dog professional who specializes in aggression. Sounds like there was plenty of violence that night for everyone to be traumatized in one way or another. Good luck to you all.

  159. Hi Sarah,
    I have a 6 month old zuchon pup, he is absolutely the most loving & friendly dog I have ever seen. As sweet as it sounds he is overly affectionate, it is quite obnoxious, he greets anyone and everyone with a zillion kisses with uncontrollable excitement. He wiggles and climbs on the person receiving the luscious licks and it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s very difficult to get him to calm down, I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’m afraid his excitement is going to cause him to injure himself. I have had dogs for most my 65 years and have never seen anything like this. As I said he is the sweetest pup ever but this is a bit too much lovin! Could this just be due to his breed? Another problem I have with my baby boy is he picks up pieces of sticks, mulch and small rocks while out walking. I am so attentive to this for he is so quick and low to the ground That I am forever giving him a treat to ascertain if he has something in his mouth, taking the treat makes him drop whatever he has picked up. I love this guy sooo much and don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’t want anything to happen to him because of this bad habit he has, am I being over protective?

    • Sounds like some good in-home training help would be the right next step. Your pup sounds adorable but in need of some self-control practice. My book, My Smart Puppy, has plenty of such games that you can practice together.

      But extreme friendliness is a good kind of “problem” to have. 😀

  160. Hello, Sarah. My female Yorkie dog went in heat about 5 days ago. And my male St.Bernard won’t stop trying to get to her. He keeps on panting and will refuse to eat his lunch. But he eats his breakfast. Yesterday I was walking my Yorkie, and my St.Bernard dug under my fence, just to get to her. If he gets to her, he tries licking her (private area), slobbers on her, and he even tried to mount her. We do not know what is happening and we will like your advise. We were thinking of neutering our male dog. Should we, and what is this problem with him called? How do we prevent it from happening again? How long is this still going to go on?

    • Hi – I’d neuter both your dogs. Your St. will continue to try and breed her for the next few weeks and you must NOT allow that to happen. He will be VERY FOC– USED in his efforts. This is normal dog behavior. When the female is ready, the males are, too. The term is: Lust.

      Talk to your vet and neuter them both ASAP.

  161. Ok, we will schedule an appointment for both of them. But it is ok for my Yorkie to be spayed while she is in heat? Thanks for the advice and consideration.

    • That’s your vet’s call. Some do. Some don’t. Be aware that even after neutering, your St. will still want to breed her so you’ll still need to keep them apart. When a female dog stops bleeding is when they usually become fertile so keep her on leash with you at ALL times or safely crated. Discuss her cycle with your vet so all your questions can be answered.

  162. My St.Bernard is put in a crate, in the kitchen. My Yorkie stays in the kitchen. Is that good enough to seperate them? Even if we neuter them voth, he will still want to breed with her in the next years? Sorry,for so many questions.

  163. Hello, Sarah, I feel I really need an experts help for my dog’s sake.
    My dog, Eli, is a golden retriever around his 6th year. He is a very loving dog, and pretty big. Early this year we had to put down our first Golden Retriever (very old girl named Ginger)
    When we got Eli, he would always follow her around and sleep wherever she slept. Her death has caused him to start licking his wrist and causing horrible black rashes and scabs. My main concern is that he looks depressed and bored all the time without her. I was wondering whats the best way to keep him occupied and wild while my family and I are at school: to keep him from licking his arm, to take his mind off of Ginger, And honestly, to make his life a better. Any toys, games, or anything that could do this?

    • That sort of licking is tricky to deal with. I’d be adding LOTS more exercise – long walks, play time with other dogs, whatever else he might enjoy.

      Remember, he’s never been by himself so he has a lot to adapt to. Using food dispensing toys and excellent chewies can help along with structuring him when you are home – have him work with and for you. That work can help him feel more secure.

      Good luck!

  164. Nope. That is not good enough (and it will be really hard on your Saint). I’d keep at least two barriers between them – meaning he is crated and in another room with the door closed or she is crated in another area of the house with a dog that securely closes. Walk them separately, keep them separate until she is all the way done with this heat cycle, as explained by your vet.

    No, once she is out of heat and spayed, he will not be interested in her. But, if he is neutered and she is still in heat, he will be interested.

  165. Thank you for all the help and good advice Sarah.

  166. I need help with my puppy. She is 2 months old and I’ve had her for 6 days. When she teethes on my clothes and I tell her to stop, she growls and instead of calmingly teething like she usually does, she starts barking at me and angrily bites on that part of my clothing. Is there something wrong with her or is this normal

    • Hi Chris – Find a good local puppy pro to help you communicate with your pup. She may well just be sassy or think she is playing or being reactive. You need some help sorting out which and then handling it in a positive way. Congrats on your pup and good luck!

  167. I know someone that goes to my school and they told me that I might be telling her to stop wrong so she might be thinking I want to fight. How am I supposed to say stop?

  168. Hi, Sarah! What advice do you have for someone to become a dog trainer? Aside from my own dogs and utilizing internet advice for an occasional dog-walking client dog with minor areas for improvement, I am very interested in find a way to train myself in canine alternative behavior training and working with timid dogs. Thanks!

    • Hi April – Find a local mentor, if you can. Take classes at a variety of places. Participate in a variety of dog sports. Go to every local dog event you can. And if there is a natural horsemanship pro near you, do that, too. For timid dogs, learn and use the tools in My Smart Puppy. Good luck!

  169. Hi Sarah,
    I would love to share an exchange with you and get some suggestions on my situation. I adopted a 2 year old dog 5 weeks who came with a pretty sever history of abuse. This dog has been traumatized and is scared of everything. For the first month I kept her on a solid routine in hopes that she would develop a sense of security. For the last week I have been attempting to bring her out of her comfort zone with very minor things such as just reversing her walk routine. Other than her walks – she refuses to leave her bed. My attempts to bring her out of her bed and into the living room is met with extreme stress and makes us both miserable. I would love to have an exchange with you and get some ideas on how I can bring this dog out of her shell and enjoy the love that awaits her. Thanks.

    • Hi there – you have a BIG project on your hands. 5 weeks is a blink of the eye. Until you two are working together IN the house and she is able to explore off her bed comfortably, asking for confidence outside the house will be too much. Start inside and build from there. Use the “Approach/Retreat” games in My Smart Puppy: Near is Dear and Check It Out to help build your connection and her confidence. Improvements CAN be made, they just take a lot more time. A lot. But keep at it. 😀 Sarah

  170. Oh, poor guy, he sounds really sick. Sometimes such meds can make them pee rather a lot. I’d keep him on leash with you in the house most of the time, get him out every 30 minutes or so, pick up ALL the pads because those are just confusing matters and, if he keeps his crate clean, use that, too. Make sure he gets loads of outside time and play and walks. Good luck and hope he feels better soon. – Sarah

  171. Hi Sarah,

    My wife and I are having a bit of a dilemma at the moment and need some advice. We recently got a new puppy who is amazing. When we got him we actually considered getting his brother too as we ideally would like 2 dogs. However, a lot of people at the time warned us of the dangers of getting 2 pups from the same litter so we decided against it.

    We have now had our boy for over a month. He has such a calm nature and he LOVES other dogs. The dilemma we face is that the person who bought his brother is now advertising him to rehome him as they can’t cope. This is due to illness and disability rather than the dog having behavioural issues. We feel terrible for this dog and really want him to have a good home to go to and would love to take him in ourselves. the owner said that he is very calm natured and loves other dogs just like our own boy.

    I was thinking that the problem of getting 2 from the same litter may not be a problem now that the dogs have been separated for some time (around 8 weeks). I appreciate that a lot of work will have to be done whenever taking on 2 dogs (especially puppies) but I wondered what the expert advice would be, bearing in mind that none of the dogs have the typical “hyper” personalities.

    • That separation helps. You CAN raise two pups at once: You just have to make extra time to socialize and train them separately so they are confident individuals as well as bonded brothers. You sound like thoughtful people so my guess is you could make it work (since you know it is work).

      Down the road, there could be a risk of sibling aggression – your training and management can lessen that possibility. Since I have no idea of the breed or mix, can’t really guess at this one.

      Also, be aware, that your pup will likely be more focused on his brother than on you and the brother more bonded to your pup than you, unless you get in their and make sure the bond to you is individual and strong. Good luck!

      • Thanks Sarah. Appreciate your help. It’s so difficult knowing what to do and a lot of thinking needs to be done. The dogs are goldendoodles. Not sure if that changes anything

        • No one right or wrong answer. What I will add is that a nice doodle pup is highly likely to find a good home in this doodle-positive time so you can rest assured of that part. So then the questions are do you want two, do you have the time for two?

  172. do u know new York state law regarding 2 dogs of different breed living at same house mating outside?; is this legal?; is it moral?

    • Dogs will be dogs. They don’t care what breed the other is in the least. I wish people would not allow their dogs to breed randomly, there are so many homeless dogs already, but no laws against it that I know of.

  173. My Jack Russell is 17 years old. His gums have grown over his teeth. Due to age he cannot undergo surgery. I mash up his food and mix with water so he can eat. What can I do for him to make his life more comfortable. ?

  174. Hi 🙂 I was wondering if you could tell me what breed this dog is.
    (Link to Allan Truong’s tumblr page.)

  175. Sarah? Are you still taking questions?

    • Ok, I realize now that you are. I have one for you. We have three toy poodles. Two are the parents and one is their daughter. The parents are 14 and the daughter is 12. We recently…three days ago…had the male put down…he suffered from mouth cancer. The 14 year old female had a seizure for the first time early Saturday morning. A few hours later, she had another…a vet came to the house. While he was here, he looked at the male…the mouth cancer had progressed more than we had realized…so, we chose to put him down. Back to the 14 year old female…after having her third seizure in a matter of hours, we were about to put her down. I gave her 1/2 tablet of Valium every 6…then 8 hours…then I stopped giving her the Valium…(which seemed to be having the opposite effect, making her anxious and very unsteady on her feet). It has been three days and she is back to normal…except for a few small changes that only I would notice, I am quite certain she had a minor stroke. My question is whether or not you think that the male’s illness…the severity of it…may have stressed the female to the point of having a seizure.

      • Sorry for your loss and the hard times you’re having. Seizures are often a mystery. Yes, stress can bring them on IF the dog is prone to seizures. Plenty of dogs are stressed who never have them. Or, they were on their way anyway and just landed during a hard time. My sympathies to you and yours. Wish I had an easy answer but there isn’t one that I know of. I do test ALL newly seizing dogs for a low thyroid issue. That can contribute so get a full panel done, if you can. Sarah

    • Depends on the question. Give me a try. 🙂

  176. We have a two-and-a-half-year-old Maltese Pomeranian. She has been housebroken for over a year. We want to know why, in Heaven’s name, that over the last three months she needs to poop inside. Why??!!

    • Hi Mary – Ours is not to reason why, ours to to adapt. 😀 Question #1: Has her food changed? New chews or treats? Question #2: Has her walk schedule changed? Added a new pet? Neighbors have a new pet? I’m wondering if she is more nervous outside and isn’t pooping when she needs to.

      Action: Keep her on leash with you inside, too out with her and reward her when she poops outside and crate her when you can’t have her leashed with you. Report back.

  177. My dog is 8 and has always used a pee pad .. all of a sudden she’s been chewing them up.. I have no idea why? Any suggestions??

    • Hi Cindy – that is an odd one, for sure. New pads? New food? I’d get some anti-chew spray, spray the pad down, allow it to dry and use those. Have done that for many years with success. Weird though, I agree.

  178. I have 2 dogs. One is a 3 or 4 year old rescue pit mix male named Bosco and the other is an 8 month old English bulldog female named Lucy. Lucy is blind. We got her at 8 weeks old and we had had bosco for a little over a year at that point. He was very skeptical of her at first, but once they got used to each other they loved each other! They still sleep together in the same bed every night. But we have issues with Lucy getting aggressive with Bosco sometimes. She has even drawn blood on his ears 3 times now. He barks at her as if to warn her to stop, but he has never hurt her or put her in her place. He is too gentle. I’m scared that it will get worse as she gets older. When she starts biting at his face (not playfully) he just removes himself from the situation, resulting in less and less time with Bosco. I fear she is being territorial over myself and my husband. What can we do to fix this?

    • Hi AmyS – I’d get a local dog-pro in for some insights and suggestions. Sounds like Bosco is being a prince.

  179. Hello,
    One of my students has some questions for you for his DOG REPORT. I hope you can help 🙂

    Hello, I’m researching dogs for a writing project in class.I know you’re an expert on dogs.I hope you can answer some questions I have about dogs.

    My questions about dogs are,How do dogs attract other dogs so they can mate in the wild,When is it best to introduce your dog to your cat,at what age is a dog considered an adult,how do you know if your dog is healthy?

    Also I have some questions for you about dogs. They are,What is your favorite dog breed and why,do you own any dogs and if so how many?

    Thanks for your time.

    • Hi – You have chosen fascinating topics and wish you the best with your report. I simply don’t have the time to answer individual questions. Good luck! Sarah

  180. Hi Sarah, I’ve been on here a couple of times and I am thinking of gettting my dog neutered, and if I do, will he shed less?

  181. Hi Sarah,
    My rottweiler (1 year old) has just moved into my family home with my Maltese shitzu (12 years old). They are both males and the Maltese unfortunately is not getting along well with the Rottweiler.
    Whenever the rotty smells or licks the Maltese calmly, the Maltese gets aggressive and will start snapping at the rotty who then, backs away and starts barking. How can I help them in terms of getting along with each other?

    • Because of the size difference, I’d get a local dog pro in to take a look and give you some suggestions. It’s not unusual for a small dog to get scared and react to a new, much bigger dog. But safety first, so get some help. Good luck – Sarah

  182. Dear Sarah,

    I was wondering if you could perhaps help me a bit with this situation. I´ve had a family dog for around six years and he´s always been very good with people however he becomes aggressive around all other dogs(regardless of whether they are male or female or size) and even growls and tries to fight. Recently, my family has taken in another dog due to her not being able to find another home. The problem is that my current family dog doesn´t seem to get along with her at all and we would really like for things to work out and for her to finally have a permanent home. Please help!!

  183. Hi Sarah,
    My name is Natalia. We are considering getting a puoltru guard dog, and have been looking into the anatolian shepherd. When living on a farm do these dogs need to be fenced in? If they do, are there any alternatives to fencing that do the same job?

  184. Hi I am Natalia. We are looking into an Anatolian shepherd as a chicken guard dog, do they need to be fenced in on a farm? Finally, sorry if I left the same question twice, I do not know whether it went through last time.

    • Hi Natalia – LGD (livestock guard dogs) generally stay close to home or flock when raised properly. I’d discuss your needs with the breeder for their guidance on how best to rear their pups. These dogs are serious so are a lot of responsibility. Anyone interested in an Anatolian or similar breed needs to know that going in. Here’s some info from their parent club. Start here: Best – Sarah

  185. Hi Sarah,

    I was wondering if I may ask a question about my dog!
    My dog is a 10 year old completely harmless goldren retreiver/lab mix who has been entirely harmless and has never threatened a single person other than the odd case of food aggression which has been dealt with accordingly; however, last night, my dog who has slept in my room close to every night (either on my bed or on her door removed crate) started snarling at me horribly and I felt as if I were threatened by her and this went on for at least 3 minutes. She does not seem like she is any pain nor was she threatened in any way, what could you suggest on the subject?


    • Hi Michael – I’d get an immediate full work up at the vet. That is not normal and could be seizure activity or low thyroid or a tick-borne disease or something else. First stop is the vet!

  186. Hi Sarah,

    I’d like some advice about my dog, he’s a 1 year old Malshi (Maltese/Shih Tzu cross). We have a problem with him biting. This is not in a malicious way but more in a playful way, but even so….its not acceptable. He seems to get over excited, especially when we have visitors, or if we have been out and then come home, he is constantly jumping up and grabbing hold of our/our visitors’ clothing, and biting hands or feet – it’s as though this is his way of greeting people. How can we teach him this is not acceptable and stop him doing it?

    Also when we take him out for walks, if a stanger approaches him, he is not very friendly towards them, he will start barking and growling and has on occasion tried to snap at someone. Any advice on overcoming this?

    Many Thanks


    • Hi Michelle – You need good hands on help with this one and I would not delay. He needs help making different and better choices. My Smart Puppy has lots of exercises that you can teach and then use to help. Do NOT allow him to go up to people when he is too excited. Reward him, instead, for sitting quietly next to you (I know, that will take practice). Practice at home. Good luck – Sarah

  187. Hello Sarah,

    Do you do any in-home puppy training in St. Louis? I have a 15 week old Coton de Tulear and want to start out on the right foot with him! If you aren’t training right now, could you recommend someone?

    Thank you!

  188. Hi Sarah,
    I have a 9 1/2 year old Brittany Spaniel. I got her a year and half ago from American Brittany Spaniel rescue. She was an owner surrender. She has EXTREME storm anxiety. I’ve tried everything I can possibly think to do but she still can’t be left alone when it is raining. I try to take her to work with me on days that we are expecting rain but can’t always predict the storms. She is very destructive and ends up hurting herself. I’m open to trying anything! Help!


  189. Hi, Sarah! My name is Dani and I have a pitbull/ Great Pyrenees puppy (he just turned a year old) and I was curious if you had any reccomendations for any foods that would be best for his breed mix and/ or any training tips? He is very stubborn- given the bred in independence of the Pyrenees and he’s VERY strong (much stronger than I) so leash training has been a journey and a half… but on the plus side, he is HIGHLY food motivated, almost too good motivated. Any pointers you have would be absolutely wonderful and greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

    • Food by breed is more marketing than need. Feed a good quality food that agrees with your dog. As for training tips: My Smart Puppy games – esp. space games – are usually a good start. But local hands on help is always recommended for large, powerful dogs who have learned they are large, powerful dogs. The basics such as working for EVERYTHING and no treats for the basics can help but won’t be an entire answer. Good luck!

  190. Hi Sarah, I am saddened by this decision but my family and I are deciding to give away our Saint Bernard. We just cannot take as good care as he deserves, so we are trying to find a better family for him. I am curious of this is the best decision? Can you please tell me if this is the right decision, and if he will truly miss us and have a hard time getting used to his new owners. He is really attached to my son, they always play around, and our Saint Bernard never leaves his side.

    • Sad for you and him, too. Talk first to his breeder and to local rescue groups to see what your best options are for him to land in a home that will be perfect for him. Sometimes the hard choice is the right choice for everyone. Oh, and don’t worry, once a dog has loved a human they will love another. He will always remember you but he will love another family, too. Just like us. – Sarah

  191. Hi Sarah,
    I’m having some serious issues between my 10 year old Redbone/Rott mix and my new 4 month Redbone puppy. With anything I understand our puppy is high energy and wants to always play and as my 10yr old is not as active and not always willing to play, I have trouble getting to puppy to lay off of the other dog. They have always been fine playing together but when the older dog wants to stop the puppy won’t leave her alone unless I kennel her. Most recently the puppy kept nipping at her ears and she finally couldn’t take it and bite her ear back. I didn’t think much of it as it was short lived and figured she was in a way establishing dominance over the puppy. But now this evening so could tell our older dog was showing some aggression towards the puppy and the puppy also sensed this and they were stand off ish. With in a few seconds the other dog tried to go after the puppy again. I was right there and broke it up fast but I’m worried that this may keep up and I fear I’ll have to rehome our puppy…. if you could contact me and give me some help in the way of insite or something to bring my dog or dogs to, to help I would be greatly appreciative. Thank you

    • Hope all has quieted down for you. Your older dog is right on time with setting limits for your pup. Only you can know if this is more sound than fury. When in doubt, as an experienced dog person to take a look. Sounds like your pup is getting the message, as every pup needs to: no is no, knock it off means knock it off.

  192. Dear Sarah,
    My puppy has only jumped on a person. Usually, no one ever reports it and since she’s just a pup, they think it’s just time to learn and that it’s cute. But because she’s a golden retriever and she is nine months old, she is a lot bigger compared to other puppies. When she goes on the streets, she will not even move a single paw unless she is familiar to that place. This person reported her for just jumping on her and I am not sure how to react to this. To my family and other people it doesn’t seem threatening and it never has to my neighbors. It was wrong to let her play on the patches of grass, but usually no one is around. We let her off the lead for about a minute. She usually isn’t bothered of much people but she was happy to this stranger. She trotted to that stranger to greet that person. Do u know the average of what will happen?? Please reply as soon as possible

    • Sorry to read this. Doesn’t matter that you aren’t scared or neighbors aren’t either. The person to jumped up on was. So, your dog is on leash ALWAYS until you get control over her verbally. If you cannot control her by your word, you cannot let her off leash outside a safe fence. Ever. I imagine you’ll get a talking to – hopefully nothing more.

  193. Hello Sarah, we have a 4 year old Yorkie and when she was a puppy she used to run around outside and like to play, but after a year she began to become lazy and sleep on the couch all day. We tried to make her play but she doesn’t want to. So I came for your help on how to make her active again and make her play again, thank you

  194. Hi Sarah I have a Yorkie that is about 5 or 6 years old and the alpha of the pack (golden retriever) has passed away and I guess he thinks he is the alpha but we got a German shepherd puppy she is about 11 months old now and he constantly gets into fights with her making her cry and for no reason too. My dad or whoever opens the door and as soon as they open it he goes straight for her. And even when I’m outside or someone is she could just be sitting down and the Yorkie would just run to her and start bighting and fighting her please help he fights her at least once a day.

    • Hi Oscar – First, put your yorkie on leash and start some training so you get some verbal control. While you’re doing that, get some local hands on training help. There are many options but you’ll need some help sorting out the right one. Good luck!

  195. Dear Sarah,

    My Chihuahua mix Milo was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disk Disease just a few days ago. She had been having unusually small bowel movements, so I thought she was constipated. I have managed to “cage” her. My problem is that I am worried that she is not having bowel movements. She eats and drinks normally. When I take her out to use the potty, she only pees. I have spoken with her vet. The vet said to give her pumpkin and I have. She still has not had a normal bowel movements. Thank you.

    • Well… could she be eating it in the cage? Is she pooping behind some furniture? No being can eat, drink and be happy and not be pooping. If vet gives her the all clear, she’s pooping somewhere. And being so tiny, there might not be much odor to notice. Anytime she leaves the room you’re in, follow her. See where she’s going.

  196. I got a rescue dog around six months ago, she was doing wonderful until last week were she did number 2 inside the house for 3 consecutive days. Nothing has changed on her routine, in the past she let us know when she wanted to go. This is an adult dog not sure what to do.
    Any advice?

    • No idea but something changed. Is there fruit in the yard or garden she is getting in to? Could a new animal be about outside? Go out with her at night to make sure she’s emptied. Maybe the company will give her enough confidence to go. But something is up, for sure.

  197. A little background first. Leighann(mixed unknown breed) was a homeless dog we adopted about 5 years ago from a rescue (she is 6 years old now). She was very dog/people aggressive particularly towards human males. One day I was leaving to go inspect some vacant properties and she bolted out the door and got in the car by herself. I let her ride with me but she would also get super excited when I would go the the various residential and commercial properties to inspect. I decided to let her into one of them and she seemed to be really curious. I would later practice with her in busy parking garages with all the noises and we developed a set of rules/ commands for going into the properties. It seems that this “job” has gone a long way in calming her so much so she recently got her AKC CGC title. I am looking at expanding her into other competitions as she moves away from vacant properties (we have done well over 200 together over the years). She has nerves of steel and we trust each other.

    I never expected this of her. She was homeless and was just going to be a pet not a “working dog”. I have her in advanced courses on Nosework and AKC VST now and am also interested in the urban tracking. I know a lot of people say their dog is smart, but I have seen her work and solve real world problems quickly including warning me of people BEFORE we get into a face to face encounter.

    What can I do to keep her engaged with something that is as challenging as detecting in a vacant properties as I move her away from that as she ages?

    Thank you!

    • Communication is a beautiful thing and yours is a lovely story of it. Sure, nose work, Rally obedience, tracking are just a few ways to have fun with your friend. Keep me posted!

  198. Hi. Just have a quick question if that is ok. My sister and I both got rescue dogs and they got along great together. We took all the precautions when we introduced them as my girl Emmy is an American Staffy.
    During house renovations I would leave Emmy at my sisters for the day which was great (except for the holes they dug together). Anyway they have a mower man who came one of those days. Emmy barks at the noise but does not approach. She does this with strangers as well until they tell her to sit and they pat her.
    Unfortunately my sisters dog sneaked around behind him and bit him on the leg. Emmy still did not approach him. My sister said they couldn’t take the risk with her grandchildren (especially since Pepper had nipped the granddaughter several times in the past but never broken skin) and had her put to sleep.
    My problem is that they blame Emmy for their dog biting. She has been banned from every going there again and they will not go anywhere with us if I take Emmy.

    I like to think that this is a little irrational, but is it possible for Emmy to have been a fault?

    • They’ve had a bad experience and want to avoid another. Emmy’s barking may well upset them so maybe if you address that they might be more willing to reconsider. Sad situation all round. And to any readers, never leave your dog outside with yard people or garderners or workmen of any kind. The dog comes inside with you. Always. – Sarah

  199. Hello Sarah, I have a 4 year old female Yorkie and she sleeps/takes naps 75% of the day. And when she plays it’s only for a matter of minutes. The only thing she is excited for is taking her on a walk. She used to be playful when she was a puppy but now she only sleeps. How can we help her to play more and be energetic? And we are looking to see if we should get her a playmate (puppy) so she can play with the puppy. Is that a good choice? Thank you for your consideration

    • Hi Jessica – My first question is her health and fitness. If she gets the okay from your vet then try some trick training, both of you might get a big kick out of that and it might raise her interest a bit. Good luck – Sarah

  200. i have to problems with my 2 dogs. 1. the dog that i own (since she was puppy) is being too protective of me and my family, Im not a dog expert like you but i think thats affecting my other dog. 2. my adopted dog( 1 month) is scared of my family and I ( i think because of my 1 dog.) i dont know what to do. I have a huge party coming up and its going to be outside at my house. PLEase help!!

    • There’s no quick fix for this, Stephanie. Time to get good hands on help. For a big party, I’d probably board both those dogs so you can relax and everyone can be safe.

  201. I’m having a huge problem – Male Havanese dog (9 years) is barking up a storm waking up parents, siblings, and the whole house whenever I come home at night by myself and even louder when with a guest (friend, girlfriend). I enter the house peacefully and quietly but it still alerts the dog each time making him bark up a storm. How can I stop this barking and avoid getting the whole house woken up?

    • Hi, Spencer – Is this new? I’d consider crating him in a quiet area so you can get him leashed quickly.Give him tasks to do, like “sit”. If he doesn’t listen, use physical cues taught in My Smart Puppy. Reward him for calming. Good luck!

  202. Hi my name is savion Kennedy I keep telling my parents dogs can’t eat certain things like spaghetti ice cream sandwiches and lots of chips but they just keep feed it to her big serving sizes from GREASEY foods that humans eat like RICE AND GRAVY she has gained over 9 pounds because of that please respond back I need your help

    • Well, Savion, you’re learning a hard life lesson: You cannot control other people. Sounds to me like that dog is going to be obese for life, die sooner and have more health problems – just like we do when we eat food that is bad for our bodies. But you very probably won’t be able to stop them from doing it – to the dog or to themselves. Lead by example – take care of yourself, eat things that grew, take the dog for walks, get healthier and healthier and hope that rubs off.

  203. Sue,

    My daughter is college sophomore and has a beautiful 6 month old miniature American Eskimo. He is now attacking her roommate and visitors to their apartment. She is heartbroken that she may not be able to keep her puppy. Any suggestions on what we should do?

    Thank you

    • Hi Terri – Get some goods hands-on help to sort out what is happening there. Until then, keep the pup on leash, have him work for EVERYTHING in his life, teach him the Mine, Head Turns, Simple Sit and Guided Down so you have something better than “No!” to offer and prevent him from practicing whatever it is he is doing. But get hands-on help!

  204. Thank you. We will get help.

  205. HI sara. I have two dogs they are brothers they have been best friends since birth. They are a year and 4 months. About a month ago one of them had an allergic reaction I took him to the vet. They gave him a steroid shot. When we got home he for some unknown reason attacked his brother. I blamed the steroid it’s been a month since and him and his brother still can’t get a long. I don’t know what to do anymore. If you have any insight to what I can do please let me know

    • Hi Kristie – Once that problem starts it can be tricky to calm back down. Working with a local trainer is your best bet. I’d also get a citronella spray, which can help break up fights as quickly and safely as possible. I’ve had client’s use it with good success. Say, Stop or No or whatever springs to mind THEN spray. Stop spraying the INSTANT they stop fighting. Here’s a link the spray on Amazon: Good luck.

  206. Hi does anyone have any advice or information on my puppy,I have a little miniature chihuahua and she’s only 20 weeks old she keeps pacing back and forward literally non stop and crying it’s really worrying me then when I pick her up she just sits on my chest and even after she’s slept she goes back down and does the same I’ve never experienced this before.

    • Hi, Monica – I’d get a vet check. Tiny Chihuahua’s can have issues such a hydrocephalus which can be painful. That sort of constant pacing and crying sounds like pain. Poor pup; hope she’s okay. – Sarah

  207. I am planning on getting two puppies over the course of the next three years. We’d like a Westie and a Golden Retriever. Given the personalities of the breeds, would it be better to get one over the other first?

  208. Good Morning

    My name is Joe Crawford and I am the host of The Joe Show located in Canada. We would like to do a phone interview with Sarah for 10-15 min on how to keep our furry family members safe over the holidays with decorations and so much more.

    If you could kindly get back to us so we can book a time and date for about 10-15 minutes with Sarah that would be great.


    Joe Crawford
    The Joe Show

  209. We have an Anatolian Shepherd. He is right around a year old and has nit been fixed and now he is getting a little aggressive when I reach down to get a bone or something else he growls and then he tries to bite sometimes he growls and walks away and then he comes back and growls and jumps on us how do we correct this? We need more training on how to raise this Anatolian!! Thank you!!

    • You’re already in big trouble. I’d neuter immediately and then start training him, if that is indeed safe for you to do. No way for me to know from here. Anatolians are a lot of dog, training and socialization are a must and, at a year, you’re already way behind with both. Good luck, stay safe, get him neutered!

  210. Hi Sarah,
    I am trying to find where I may purchase your books in the St. Louis, MO area. Please advise

    • Hi, Susan – Easiest to buy on Amazon. Barnes and Nobles used to carry and you can order through them. Both will work. – Sarah

  211. Hi Sarah,

    My dog suddenly is scared to go on the grass outside my house so she is now using the restroom inside my house. Any reason you know why she would be scared of going in the yard after years of going outside in the same yard?

    • Depends on where you are, David. If she’s discovered fire ants (or some such), that could do it. Take her for on leash walks, hopefully, that will take care of the issue.

  212. Hello Sarah. I just wanted to know if taking dogs to dog shows is a good idea? I have two female dachshund dogs. Do dogs really enjoy the it?

    • Hi, Akshi – Good question. With any dog activity, some dogs love it, others don’t. If your dogs are outgoing and social, then go have fun! If they prefer being homebodies and playing with you, then maybe not. Hope that helps. – Sarah

  213. My puppy is 13 weeks old. She isn’t playful and she will not learn any commands. I don’t know what to do. She goes to a babysitter every day that has two dogs and kids and she loves it there. But is that why she won’t listen to me when she gets home? Help!!

    • Hi, Haily – My bet is that your pup is exhausted when she gets home from a day with other dogs and kids. So, she sleeps. It isn’t personal. Try getting up earlier so you can spend time with her before daycare. See how that goes. 😀

  214. My dog hates going in crates. One time when we shipped him in a crate because we were moving, his gums were bleeding severely when we picked him up. He tried to chew his way out of the crate. Another incident occurred a few days ago. We went to the grocery store so we put him in a metal crate. When we got back, some of the bars were bent and his head was stuck between two bars. He’s ok now but I’m worried that something might happen next time. We’ve tried giving him treats when we leave and he never eats them. We’ve also tried reinforced cages and he damages them. He’s only a 12 pound dog, but larger crates don’t help either. Do you have any advice?

  215. My German Shepherd puppy( 4 months) is showing signs of depression. I recently stayed at my dads and his dog and my dog loved playing with each other but I came back to my moms for school and now he has no dog to play with. He doesn’t do he is routines he would always do. I can’t afford to have another dog

    • Hi Jaime – Pick up the fun training to give him some more direction and connection with you. All dogs, but herding breeds esp., need a working, meaningful connection with another. Make that other you. 😀 Start with the exercises in the My Smart Puppy book.

  216. I’m not trying to hate on you or your books but is it worth the buy would they actually listen and would it actually work

  217. Hi Sarah!

    I am a huge fan of your books. I have referred back to my copy of My Smart Puppy countless times over the past ten years while fostering over 10 plus dogs. It is a great resource!

    I have a new foster dog who came into the shelter as a stray and is now staying in my apartment with me. He is very scared when I take him out for a walk. He does not want to walk through door ways and will shake with fear as I carry him out of the building. He has also urinated on the floor before being picked up to be carried out (he is being carried out so he won’t go on the floor inside – we have already had a couple accidents on the way out of the building).

    Do you have any advice for how to help him? We are ignoring the nervous urination but I am not sure how to instill some more confidence in him!


    • Keep him on a routine, be calmly happy when you pick him up, give a treat once in your arms if he will take it. Sounds like he’ll need a few weeks to get into any real routine. Fear takes time. As for more confidence, work on relaxed, fun, and, in his case, food-focused training to get him more relaxed and “in the game”. Good luck!

  218. Do you have any tips to potty train a 4 month German Shepherd

  219. Hi Sarah ! Can my jealous dog smell another dog, on my hands specifically, (since that was the only area the other dog touched me) If i wash my hands well before I get home ? I would be interested in a strict scientific answer ( lije from a dog scent- tracker. If possible) rather than a general information answer, thanx 🙂

  220. Hi Sarah my name is Debbie I have two dogs a pitbull and a baby Chihuahua my people just went under a TTA surgery on her leg is doing fine my little Chihuahua Bitsy is seven she was born with bad Petalas ANOHNI’s other son she can’t walk at all she’ll drag herself and hold yourself up a second P and then collapse can you please call me at 716-604-5999 because there’s no way I could talk to a vet because they want me to come in first I want to ask you with a cold and paste help her should I do surgery don’t know what to do please help

    • So sorry to hear your Chi is having a hard time. I’d talk to other Chi people about which surgery works best. I do know patella surgery is often quite successful and, usually, a straight-forward recovery. Good luck – Sarah

  221. I am looking for a puppy for my daughter but at a loss when trying to find the right breed for our families needs. I am looking for a hypoallergenic and shed free, good with little children, and very minimal barking since I work from home and do a lot of conference calls. Can you please help? Thank you!

    • Hi Stacey – these days, you’re in luck. Any poodle or bichon or most terriers will be low-shed. Various “designer” mixes are widely available, each with a unique personality. But, adding a puppy in with little kids? Usually, that’s pretty high-demand. Sometimes waiting a couple of years can make things easier for everyone, esp. you!

  222. Hi My name is nathan Im 18 and getting a puppy tomorrow a 9 week old wheaten terrior mix female. We have a box for her to stay in at the moment when we pick her up while we go buy a dog bed. We need to know what to feed her?
    When she can have chew toys?
    Do we still need to give her milk?
    when can she start walking on actual carpet and a solid floor?
    Thanks for your time of helping me.

  223. Hello i have looked anywhere and havent found any information on the reason my male 2 year old pembroke welsh corgi is twice the size of the average corgi. He is purebred and not overweight he is just huge.

    • Hi Sara – Welcome to genetics. Sometimes life deals a hand of all hearts from a new pack. He’s unusual but probably entirely normal.

  224. I need help desperately. My german shepard is two years old. She gas been with my family since she was a baby. She is very attached to my husband, and we all love her so much. Last week a friend brought her 6 young kids over and I’m not saying they did anything, bc I don’t know. Since then my dog has literly not allowed my daughter to roam free of our home. She acts aggressively if my daughter comes out her room. The same friends that have came around since she was a baby is no longer allowed around. She is more aggressive when my husband is around. I guess she feels that someone is out to harm him i dont know.She has always been a jealous dog but never of people. We would be heart broken if we had to get rid of her, but I can’t allow my daughter to be at risk or have to fear the dog. Is there any advice you have that can help me.

    • Anytime an adult dog who had been stable shifts over to serious threat, the first stop is the vet and the second is a qualified trainer to assess the situation. So sorry to hear your situation.

  225. Hi Sarah, I’m a college student studying Industrial Design in Rhode Island School of Design, and we got a project on coming up with products that could help the experience at a dog park more pleasant. So I came up with the idea a dog repellent ( a very weak one ) that could be attached/detached on people’s dogs that don’t want to be bothered or want to stay away from other dogs. Do you think this would create more tension among dogs in the park? Or do you think it would allow some dogs to separate themselves away from trouble in the park?

  226. Hello Sarah, I have a 4 year old female Yorkie named Abby. She is a very picky eater and only eats when she wants to. But recently we just got a Pug puppy which sometimes eats Abby’s food. So we have to try to get Abby onto a feeding schedule where they eat at the same time. How can I change her feeding schedule to two times a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon? If it helps I feed her 1/2 a cup a day with wet food on top. Thank you.

    • Depending on her size, I’d either put it down and then pick it up and 15 minutes or feed her in her crate/pen so she can eat when she wants. Tiny dogs can need constant access to their food. Ask her vet. Also, soaking her food can make it easier for her to eat and might help.

  227. Hey Sarah, I’m back, a little back story… I am 14 years old and I’m really interested in becoming a veterinarian and I know a lot about dogs and puppies. Recently my parents gave me a Pug puppy for my birthday. I’ve had her for about 3 months. When we got her she came with puppy food (Purina Beneful Puppy). I was reading how bad Purina Dog Food was with all it’s by products and corn gluten, so I decided to switch her to Blue Buffalo small breed puppy food. I transitioned her over a week and she was fine, a little diarrhea here and there. But recently she has been having diarrhea on and off this month. So I took her to the vet to get her rabies shot and brought up the diarrhea issue. The vet said to put her back on the Purina diet she had before with boiled chicken and rice on top. I am very wary of doing this because of how bad Purina is. What should I do Sarah, should I put her back on the Purina diet or should I switch her to a different brand? Thank you for your time and consideration.

  228. Hi Sarah! I am 13 and interested in adopting a puppy or dog. I was considering a poodle or Maltese mix. However, my parents are divorced, and I switch houses once a week. As I have researched, a new pet will need time to settle into one place to get comfortable with a family. My parents will have to have me take the dog with me when moving houses. Any tips to help a puppy/dog settle in both houses? Thank you!

    • Hi Nikki – Absolutely. Have a crate at both houses, keep it in a similar location, and keep as similar a routine as you can manage. Your pup will happily adapt. You will be your pup’s home. Where you are, your pup will be happy. Does that help? Sarah

      • Hi Sarah- Thank you so much, that really helped! I have two more questions. I am in middle school right now, and I was wondering if I should wait till next summer to adopt? I am going on vacation for a week, so I felt the puppy would be anxious if I left him so soon. Also, how many hours can I leave a dog by itself? Is there a specific breed I should consider that does okay on its own for longer periods of time? Thank you!

  229. Ok, my name is Summer and I need help! We purchased a 14 week old standard poodle last week. We initially thought she had a UTI, so Friday we started her on clavamox. Not peeing outside. She will P in her crate while she’s laying down asleep, while she’s napping outside of her crate underneath the dining room table, but even when I try to catch her starting to P when she’s laying down and run her outside, she refuses to P outside! I do not know what to do I’m at my wits and the antibiotics should be working right now and she still is refusing to let her self P while she’s awake.

    • Hi Summer – I’d put her in a pen with papers for now and just work on socializing her outside. Take her out on a normal housebreaking schedule for a week or so then try again. However, that said, peeing in her sleep is quite abnormal so discuss that specifically with her vet. Good luck – Sarah

  230. hey Sarah, i have a question. i really like rott wielers and border collies but i also dont want to get too many dogs so if i get a mix, will they have the same personalities of a rott wielers because i would like a guard dog in a adorable face. thank you

    • Hi Eddy – Both those breeds need experienced people raising them to turn out well. May I ask why you need a guard dog?

  231. Hello,

    Im hoping you can help, my dog has been going out the front door lately when we leave it open. She never has done this as she is trained but also a excellently behaved dog . She always waits so we leave first and never strays off in her own. She comes back when she is called but for some reason when we leave the front door open now , because it is summer it lets a breeze though the house , she just strays out and stands on the road or pavement . She has no other issues what so ever. We are unsure what to do as we have never had a problem with her in the 8 years we have had her . We don’t know if its the heat or something she can smell outside . But even when its shut sometimes she will stand by it until you tell her to move .

  232. Hello,

    I am hoping you can help, my dog has been going out the front door lately when we leave it open. She never has done this as she is trained but also a excellently behaved dog . She always waits so we leave first and never strays off in her own. She comes back when she is called but for some reason when we leave the front door open now , because it is summer it lets a breeze though the house , she just strays out and stands on the road or pavement . She has no other issues what so ever. We are unsure what to do as we have never had a problem with her in the 8 years we have had her . We don’t know if its the heat or something she can smell outside . But even when its shut sometimes she will stand by it until you tell her to move .

    • Hi Felise – You’ve been lucky for 8 years. Now, I’d put a gate/barrier across the door when you want to leave it open or get a storm door. That way you can have the breeze and keep her safely inside.

  233. I am so worried bc my about 3.5 yr female English bulldog has a red ball pretruding from her vaginia and I don’t know what to do or what it is and I don’t have money to take her to a vet? Can u offer any advice please?

  234. Sara.

    I have a mini Bernedoodles that is 1 years old. He is a great dog. Recently he has been biting, not hard, our arms and trying to pull us. He does this to everyone in the house At night he barks at me and growls a bit and not sure why but he doesn’t attack us at all. Thoughts?

    • Hi Jerry – Time for some good hands-on, local help. How much is he working for you? How much are you practicing the blocking and head turns outlined in My Smart Puppy? That is a lot of confidence at a year of age – take action now to change it.

  235. Hello Sarah
    I’m desperately looking for help. My sister had two years old golden retriever female. Now my sister is out of country and dog is with us. Main problem that I’m facing is she only wants to poop or pee inside the house in Garden or any other area where I don’t want her to go. If I don’t let her go to garden she keeps holding it. Maximum she was holding 48 hours without passing stool. I’m taking her out more than three times a day but she don’t do anything.
    Please help me how can I teach her where to pee and poop.
    I’m taking her to same area ever day.
    She is eating fine.
    There are no changes in her behaviour.

    • Let her go in the garden, for now. Goal #1 is getting #1 and #2 outside. At the same time, walk her where you want her to go. Transition her once she is routinely going outside. She is confused, upset and trying really hard. Sometimes we have to go with their idea first then work to change things to our idea.

  236. I have a almost year old dog, he is a boxer and American bulldog. He’s the sweetest dog. But I continue to be dealing with the same issues no matter what I try to do. I got him when he was already 6 months old and the family who had him before did not work with him at all. I recently had a coworker of my mother’s asking for him. Given this would be a better home for him then I could give him. I am only 19 years old and live by myself. Not having a lot of money to do things. I am struggling with what exactly to do. I feel bad like I’m giving up on him but also I feel selfish if I keep him here with me. I love him and he’s my first dog I have ever had and I’m inexperienced with very hyper dogs like he is. I need help on what to do.

    • Hi Justina – When we love a dog, as you clearly do, then placing him in a spot where you think he may do better is love – not meanness. Not every dog fits with every person but almost every dog can fit with SOME person. Sort of like dating. You’ve done well, your concern is obvious, but if this other home might be a better fit for your dog, then try not to feel guilty. Okay?

  237. Hello, I have a 6 year old female that is a Lab/Walker mix. I got a 8 week old puppy that is also a la /walker mix but is a male. The older female shows her teeth, and snaps at the puppy when she is eating or laying down, and other time she they walk by eachother the older dog sniffs from a distance and then walks away. The older dog also sniffs the puppy when it is sleeping. I show them both the same amount of attention, i separate their food in different rooms now. But i get nervous that my dog will bite even though if she wanted to i believe she would have by now. Thank you , Sarah.

    • Hi Roland – What you describe sounds within normal and restrained but, see if you can ask a local experienced dog person or your vet to make sure. Hope all is going well now. – Sarah

  238. Hi Sarah. We just got a dog. He’s a pitbull and he’s the sweetest creature I’ve ever met. He’s pretty well trained but he won’t eat. The person we got him from sent some food along but King refuses to eat it. Could it be because he’s in a new environment? I was told that he eats this food all the time but they also feed him scraps. We were trying to not feed him people food. I don’t know what to do. We only got him yesterday but he hasn’t eaten once. Please help.

    • Hi Janet – Congrats on your new dog. It’s not unusual for a dog not to eat in a new place for a day. Dogs fast much better than we do and I would not be concerned, at this point, if everything else is normal. If you have any concerns at all, speak to his vet.

      Take all food away from a few hours then, when all is calm, set the bowl down next to you and you settle in to read or watch TV or whatever. Ignore him. Ignore his eating or not eating. Just give him a few minutes. If he doesn’t eat, pick it up and try again in a few hours.

      If it continues, I might mix a teaspoon of plain, low-fat yogurt in and see if that does the trick. You can always fade that later, once he’s all settled in.

      Hope this is helpful – Sarah

  239. Hi Sarah, you come highly recommended by a dear friend of mine. We have a dog with same extreme anxiety and separation issues. She is 4 years 4 months husky/Sheppard/mastive cross. She is currently working on breaking out of crate #4 in a year. She eats the plastic to the point she throws up and screws on the metal causing her teeth to bleed. All of our crates have extra latches and wires to help keep her in the crate as she can usually Houdini her way out and become destructive in the home. She pants digs and barks excessively as we try to leave the house. When we come home after work she is sometimes still whining and whimpering (which can be sometimes 9-10hours at a time). She even paces the house and whines when my fiancé steps outside to even do the garbage without her. Anytime she hears our coats/keys or sees shoes she starts. I take her for runs of 5-8km on nice days and at least 2km walk everyday around our section of the city (she usually doesn’t listen well on the leash and when if there was no leash, we would never see her again as she just bolts in the opposite direction and doesn’t listen to her name). She did puppy training when she was little but we are truly stuck on her anxiety issues and what to try. Shy of drugs (we have tried CBD, lavender oils, herbal stuff) we are not sure what to do? Any thoughts?

    • Hi – So sorry to read this for all of you. First, use drugs. If drugs can help her then help her. Be happy there is something that does. You can wean her down later. Next, training is key. These dogs need structure and relationship to feel secure and calm down. Every interaction needs to have communication and compliance attached. I have quite a lot of SA info here, start there. This is a long road, there are no quick fixes, and it’s a lifetime effort. Good luck.

  240. Hello,

    My name is Sheridan, I’m 16 and I was wondering if you could led me a couple of tips on my Blue Heeler. Recently my family got a pool and so we have been slowly been trying to introduce my blue heeler and my other dog to the new pool in the backyard. My mother is the one who cleans the pool vacuum, but recently after every time she cleans it, my blue heeler takes the machine out of the pool and destroys it—costing us money to repair it. It is only after my mother cleans it out does the dog go after it and I’m not sure why she does it, but it’s getting annoying and I would greatly appreciate any tips before we start bringing out our new furniture when the warmer temperatures kick up. I sincerely hope I’m not bothering too much!

    Thank you,


    • Hi Sheridan – We won’t know the answer to exactly why but the solution is keeping your dog away from the machine either by storing the machine safely or keeping the dog out of the area. A heeler may be triggered by the movement of it or target it while it is moving in the pool only to download onto it when it is out of the pool. With cattle herding dogs, it’s usually movement that triggers such behavior. Separation is the key.

  241. Being a vet myself, I completely loves your books. Whenever I meet people with new dogs in their family, I recommend your books.

    Dr Dipesh Bhalani Ghoda(vet) Doctor, Rajkot

  242. Sarah , trying to obtain as VIDEO of “Good dogs, Great Owners..Any help would be appreciated

  243. Hi, My now husband and his dog moved into my house in 2012. I am not a dog person, I love cats(although we have none) anyway, she follows me around the house constantly, I don\’t give her any treats or constant affection but she insist on going wherever I go. I go upstairs, she goes upstairs, I go take a showers she lays next to the door waiting for me. My husband is the one who gives her all the affection and treats all the time, picks her up caries her. Why does she want to be around ME so much?? she is a 8 year old Siberian Husky.

    • Mostly, probably, because you ignore her. She’s interpreting that as “being in charge” so she’s your shadow.

  244. When I moved over here in 2015 I left my red setter in Ireland with my parents. They work long days and she is on her own 10-12 hrs a day so I thought now I’m in a position to have her I’d brings her over here to me so she’d have more company. I work shift work and looking at my schedule between me and my other half she now has somebody at home with her all day on average 4/5 days a week v’s 2 days with my parents. We rescued her and thought she was about 6 but our vet told us she thinks she’s approx 8 meaning she’s a lot older than we thought.
    I’m trying to decide what’s best for her, is leaving her at home with my parents in a familiar setting but spending a lot of time on her own and little to no exercise better then unsettling her but having more company and exercise? I have spoken to people who questioned whether she would accept me back as her “alpha” which I was in the beginning but when I left my Father took that role.
    What is best for the dog and in your opinion?
    She has lived with my parents her entire life as I lived with them before I moved and I’m worried she will “miss” them, but I did all the training/caring guys for her 1st 3 years and then my parents took over for the last 3 after I left, however as I said with their busy work schedule she spends a lot of time on her own with zero exercise which I wouldn’t hope would not be the case with me.
    Sorry for the long message ?

    • She will accept you back, of course. And “alpha”? Sigh, I would not fret that because I don’t think in those terms…anyway, I guess the question is: Is she showing any signs of being distressed where she is? If she’s happy and healthy, then she is okay. If you want her back then by all means but it’s a major bit of travel so be sure.

  245. Hi, I have a zucchon (Teddy Bear Breed Dog). I absolutely enjoy him. I’m thinking of purchasing in addition another dog. My question is my zucchon doesn’t like to be alone. I usually have to take him everywhere. Is there a breed where I can leave my zucchon at home, that will calm him to the point where I can leave without him for a few hours and he will maintain calmness.

    • Hi Carlo – Separation issues are tough and another dog may help – or not. Getting this under control so your dog isn’t so upset has to do with your relationship with him. Look at the articles here under Separation Anxiety for guidance. Good luck – Sarah

  246. Hi Sarah,

    I really adore dogs and have been thinking of getting one from very long. But I live in a small apartment and not available at home for almost 12 hours on weekdays. Which breed will be able to cope up to stay alone for such long durations?

    • Hi Paras – I understand about adoring dogs but no dog can handle 12 hours alone all day and be happy. If you can afford daily daycare or a long midday walker and you’re willing to give your dog the time AM and PM, then it might be possible. That means no working 12 hours and then going out to dinner and a movie (or the gym). It’s a big life change. If that expense or life adjustment isn’t in your plans/ability yet, consider an adult cat. Cats are underrated as companions by some – they offer a great deal of affection and fun and can handle long hours alone generally better than a dog can. Hope this is helpful. – Sarah

  247. Hi . Need advice on a situation. I live in Ireland, my son bought a dog 7 years ago, moved to England 4 years ago, his dog still lives with me but now he is getting a brand new house and asked if he could have the dog as there is now room for her at his. I’m not sure what to do because I feel as though the dog is too old and too used to everything in ireland that she might get frightened and very anxious and it might not go well but my son insisted that she will be completely fine. So I wanted to ask an experts opinion. Thanks

    • Hi – Must be hard to let the dog go after she’s been yours for so long. My guess is that she will adapt either way – dogs are pretty resilient and she was with him for three years so she knows him well. – Sarah

  248. Hi Sarah, I had a 16 year old Havanese dog that I just had to put down. Do you know of any experts that I can talk to about want was really causing his illnesses? Much appreciated if you know of any. Thank you Michael Mercier

    • Hi Michael – So sorry your Havanese is unwell. At 16, it is a complicated picture, no matter what. Eventually, the body just winds down as they age and that can’t always be fixed. 🙁

  249. Hello Sarah!

    I was just wondering, do you have any good advice for people who want to adopt a dog but live in a small apartment?


    • Hi –

      Apartment size is not a limitation – the time you have to spend with your dog and to take your dog out and about are. I’ve lived in small apartments and large homes with my dogs and they always lie at my feet, regardless. Time is the constraint to assess, not square footage.

  250. Hi, I have a terrier who’s 10yrs old. Recently she has becomes distressed by a smell on my wooden flooring. She won’t pass certain areas of the floor and walks backwards from it and shakes. I always use zoflora to clean the floors and she has never behaved this way before. Any advice would be gratefull

  251. Hey Sarah, I have 4 small dogs: Yorkie (Female 6 years) Pug (Female 1 year) Chorkies (Male and Female 11 months). So the problem is that whenever we show affection to the other dogs the female Chorkie tends to start growling and increases her distance from the other dogs. But recently usually when we enter the kitchen all the dogs are excited to see us and then the female chorkie starts growling and then attacks the Pug. She recently bit the Pug’s ear. We’ve noticed that when we aren’t involved, all the dogs are good with each other and cuddle with each other. We want them all to get along together so how can we stop the female chorkie from being agressive with the other dogs? Thank you for your time and consideration.

    • Hi – Sounds like she’s claiming you as “hers”…so I’d start training everyone, esp. her and you’ll probably need to good local coaching to accomplish that. Good luck – Sarah

  252. Hi Sarah,
    We got a new puppy(7 months old) when he came he was funny with eating his food. I work away from home, my teenage son tried to force him to eat, really scared the dog. I have sorted Archies (dog) eating, but now he is absolutely terrified of my son. When he comes into the room he runs away, hides. Tail down. Have tried my son giving treats and playing with him but Archie is having none of it. Any tips on what we could try?

    • Hi Jonny – Can’t imagine what happened there but for now, your son ignores him 100%. But you light up, smile, praise and treat Archie when your son is near and ignore him quite a bit when your son isn’t. Slowly that can start to change his opinion. If you need more help, details on my cybersessions are on the landing page here. Good Luck – Sarah

  253. Hi Sarah, I have my dog back after 2 weeks of him being with someone who stole him from my husbands car!!!
    He is quiet and seems sad, is there anything I can do to help him?

    • Hi Claire – Wow! So glad she’s home safe. It’ll take him a few days to settle back in – get on your normal routine, when he shows some perk, do some fun, relaxed training, take him for long walks if you can. All those things should help him return to you. – Sarah

  254. Hi Sarah, I’m contemplating between several different breeds and breed mixes. Before I make my final decision I would like to speak to an expert in different temperaments health issues etc. I am happy to pay for your services. I would like to do The first chat before I buy from a breeder or adopt. And on the first day I received my puppy I would like to do the second chat.

  255. So I have a 2 year old german shepherd and the past two or three days she’s been jumping on the door and crying when she’s outside first I thought she doesn’t like being outside now which is weird because since she was a puppy She always goes out back and plays or dig holes and but now she’s just jumping on the window and door. I don’t know if there’s something wrong or does she just want more attention

  256. Hi Sarah, I found your website after typing “why does my older dog bare her teeth at puppy” into Google. And after reading through several similar questions and your answers, I’m hoping you might be able to help us. We have a 4 year old female Bernese Mtn dog (Riley), and now a 10-week old female Berner puppy (Pepper). Pepper has been with us for 2 weeks, and while Riley is tolerating her being around, she continues to growl and bare her teeth when Pepper gets too close. We are crate training and using baby gates, but I’m concerned Riley is never going to come around to being “OK” with Pepper, not to mention actually liking her. Please contact us, as I would be very interested in setting up a video training session. Thanks!

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