with Lisa Peterson
Dear Lisa: I own a 5-year old English Springer Spaniel. He lives in our house, not in a dog house. Every winter he gains about 8 pounds due to inclement weather limiting how much exercise he gets, so I play fetch with him daily back and forth in our hallway. He loses the weight as soon as Spring rolls around and I can resume giving him daily exercise running outside in our yard. Is there a rule-of-thumb how much food a dog should be fed when it is not as active? I feed him dry chicken and rice kibble which was recommended by his breeder and vet. – Weighty Matter
Dear Weighty: Putting on the pounds can be a seasonal hazard for dogs (and their owners too!) that don’t get the required exercise they need. An extra 8 pounds can really affect his health considering an adult Springer should weigh approximately 50 pounds. That’s nearly 15% of his total weight gained each winter. It’s imperative that he doesn’t gain this weight this winter because as you know overweight dogs can face a number of health challenges (again, just like their owners).
Dear Lisa: I have two 4-year-old Scottish Terriers brother / sister litter mates. I tried to socialize my dogs with other dogs but I'm afraid I missed something. We walk our dogs at least one time a day and when they are on their leashes and pass another dog on the other side of the street they bark, lunge and often get irritated with each other. They act like they want to eat the other dog. I have tried to shield them from seeing the other dog, telling them no in a stern voice but it is difficult to handle both dogs and we really don't have time to walk them separately. This is not the same behavior they express when they are loose in our backyard with other dogs so I feel like it has something to do with the leash and walking. – Wild Walking
Dear Wild: It is normal for dogs to exhibit different behaviors when they are in the backyard versus walking down the street. When your dogs are in the backyard, they are off-leash and are left to their own interactions without your “body language” or triggers to make them behave differently. It’s not the leash and walking, it’s your reaction to the other dogs that may be setting them up for their annoying behavior. Let’s run down your walking scenario and see if we can’t make it a more pleasant experience for you.
Bark Back ~
More reader comments on the October column:
Dear Lisa: I breed toy poodles, and most of them are like the whippet in your Oct. column, but I love it. When I sit down to watch TV, I am literally covered in dogs, and I tell the people who buy my puppies "if you don't want affection don't buy a poodle". Too bad she doesn't like the affection. – G.M.
Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions we cannot offer individual responses. Read previous columns here.