D ear Old Trainer: Shadow, my 4-year-old cocker spaniel-beagle mix, barks when anyone walks down the sidewalk or parks in front of my house. She isn’t a problem barker, but she always barks when she sees anyone in front of the house. What should I do?
Shadow is doing a perfect job. You don’t want a dog that never barks, you want a dog that barks a warning when a stranger approaches, then stops. That bark not only alerts you, it warns a stranger to avoid your house because Shadow is keeping an eye on things.
It takes a long time to teach that to a dog, and Shadow figured it out on her own. Good dog, Shadow.
When that happens with one of my dogs I ignore it. It is natural for a dog’s eyes to water. It doesn’t bother the dog, so why should it bother me?
And what is the alternative if you do want to do something? Every vet I know prescribes steroids or antibiotics to treat the problem.
I apply the same rule to my dogs I apply to myself – never take any drug unless it is necessary to maintain health. I advise you to follow the same rule with Polo.
Rescue dogs are just like all other dogs – wonderful, loving and smart companions.
And there is a special quality found only in rescue dogs. They know you saved them, and they develop a special bond.
Visit your local shelter and let a dog adopt you, Darryl. You’ll see what I mean.