Dear Lisa: I have a 3 1/2 year old Yorkshire Terrier named CoCo. She isa very needy little dog. I work night shifts occasionally and place a gate up to keep her in the kitchen during the day while I am sleeping. She will bark for hours on end, until I goto get her. I have tried saying "no bark" very firmly to her. I have tried ignoring her. All of these actions comewith no success. I do not know what to do to make her barking stop! Please help. – Not Sleeping Soundly
Dear Not Sleeping: Yorkshire Terriers are incredibly social creatures who just love to be with their owners. I’m curious where your dog sleeps when you are not working the night shift and how long you have let this barking go on? Does she sleep in the kitchen behind the gate or does she sleep with you in your bedroom?
Are you keeping her in the kitchen when you sleep during the day because you think it is daytime and that’s where she normally spends her day? I find that when dogs are with their owners their activity level tends to mirror that of their owners. If you are working around the home and busy, so too is the dog, following you around with keen interest what’s going to happen next. When you go to bed at night they know it’s time to sleep. Even a midday nap, they will curl up near you and catch a few winks.
Sleepy Time Suggestions
I would suggest that you bring Coco in the bedroom with you whenever you are going to sleep whether it’s day or night. Make her a comfortable sleeping area near your bed where she can see you: most importantly, where she can see you relaxing and going sleep. Develop a little bedtime routine with her such as giving her a tiny treat on her bed before you hit the lights out. This way she will begin to learn that a treat on her bed, means sleepy time for her owner and for Coco too.
BARK BACK ~
I had a tremendous reader response to my column last month about what type of bones they gives their dogs as well as a great idea for the Siberian Husky owner who wrote in. Here are a few of their suggestions:
Dear Lisa: I have had Siberians for 39 years. The lady with the problem Siberians is not unusual. Buy a bicycle with an attachment for the dog or check out sled makers who sell scooters that can handle two dogs at once – both are great exercise. A tired Siberian is a good one, however, showing them love and bonding with them is also extremely important. At 74 I still have a bunch of them! – Shirly Loves Sibes
Dear Lisa: I read your column on a regular basis and like your approach to the questions that are asked. With regard to the bones question, may I suggest that there is another possibility that could be explored - RBBB = Raw Beef Brisket Bones. We are lucky here, because we still have a local butcher shop, and we have a standing order of a Brisket Bone cut up into 14 pieces for our Basenji. With this configuration, she is able to have a bone each day. Because the RBBB leaves no residue and the bone is totally consumed, she has good clean teeth (no bad breath), and her gums and teeth have very little tartar buildup. The only trouble is getting these bones. Most butchers think that they should sell you the thigh bone of a bullock, and that assists in breaking teeth and leaving behind the residue.This is no good for dogs or their owners. You have to work out a relationship with your meat purveyor, and collect the RBBB and put them in your freezer. A couple of minutes in the microwave to defrost the bones, and they are good to serve the dog. The sound of a happy dog gnawing on her bone in the morning is a sure way to happiness for all.
– Basenji Believer in Bones
Dear Lisa: We also feed raw bones. There are several bones you can feed. The large raw marrow bones do not splinter and the dogs spend hours trying to get the marrow out. Large Beef Rib bones are great. We have two large working German Shepherd Dogs and a Bernese Mountain Dog and they love them!
– Big Bones are Best
Dear Lisa: I wouldn't give bones tosmall dogs as there aretreats that they can chew on forever. But we found that chews didn’t work withour Collies.What we use and have found works best on these largerbreed dogs is raw marrow bones. There is very little meat or fat on these bones. The bones are generally cuttwo or moreinches in length, so too big to swallow. We have used these for years. My vet has never recommended any dental work because all five Collies have excellent tooth and gum health.
– Collie Chewing Fan
Dear Lisa: Read your article on real bones. I don't know what to say but I recently had a bad experience with the real bones. I usually get my 6 yr old female Lab a smoked leg or shank bone as a treat at my meat market. She would chew on them and try to get at the marrow. The vet always commented on her teeth being so clean. However, on New Year’s weekend a friend brought her a knuckle bone. She chewed on it Saturday and by Sunday morning she didn't eat. When I got home from work Mon afternoon, she wouldn't even get out of bed to see me. I took her to the Vet. She finally came around and is back to her lively self! Anyway the diagnosis was Pancreatitis. All we could come up with was the greasier knuckle bone. The vet thinks it was the bone. X-rays were taken and there was no blockage. Your advice about watch them with the bone is right on. But also limit the bones! – Beware of Greasy Bones
Dear Beware: I’m glad to hear your dog is okay! You bring up an excellent point to remember that excessive grease and high amounts of fat can cause pancreatitis, so make sure there is only a small amount of fat on any raw bone and always give bones in moderation and under supervision.
Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Club 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.
© 2008 The American Kennel Club, Inc.