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ASK MAX

September 29, 2006 Edition

questionDear Max,

Hi Max, We are new puppies, not that smart, and trying to learn how to “go” outside…. we forget, and it seems much more comfortable to go inside on a nice warm floor or rug than out on the cold cement…. How did you do it??

Bess and Lady Mary

Hey Max, my name is Mickey I’m 6 months and well i have little bit of a problem. well you see i would hang outside of my house the WHOLE day and finally when i get in i accidently use the bathroom inside. my family isn’t sooo happy about that. i dont think it’s normal. what can i do to stop these incidents?

Mickey

How can u get an 8 year old Pomerainian dog to stop peeing on the floor every night? I can really use the help.

Christopher

pawDear Pee Pee People,

I feel your bladder pain, my brothers and sisters. Attention parents of pee-pee-prone pets: please permit us to perambulate periodically and predictably, to prevent premature purgation!

And buy my Mom’s book, Stupid and Contagious (available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere)!

Well, that was fun. Puppies can be forgiven their innocent mistakes. With persistence, they develop good habits. (And believe me, the casual approach to dog training — hoping we little hounds just figure it all out by ourselves — is a recipe for chewed-up Manolos.) But the bottom line is the same: we’re small-minded (with the possible exception of a dog I saw on TV who could nearly articulate “I love you!” in a howl — I mean, we all *feel* it, but that guy blew me away with his powers of expression) creatures of habit. We like schedules, routines. If a dog pees inside, it’s either because he wasn’t given the chance to go outside or doesn’t have a strong reinforcement that it’s not okay to go *inside*. So regular walks help, and so does strong praise when he does the right thing — and strong disapproval when he doesn’t. Some experts recommend crate training. The dog is in jail until it’s time to walk or play or eat. And then, because we typically don’t like to mess in our own crib, we quickly learn that walk time is release time. After a while, the association is so strong that we connect walk time with “going,” and you can set us free indoors without worrying. There’s a veritable s***load of advice on this topic on the Web, from bigger minds than mine, so search it up — “housebreaking dogs” or “house training dogs” or whatever (click here for a good one). I find that it all comes down to the parental commitment. We’re even easier to program than TIVO — and we don’t spend all day hunting up reruns.

questionDear Max:

How can i learn to communicate better with my pets? I have a lhasa apso and a kitten. sometimes i have such a hard time trying to figure out what the heck they want. sometimes my dog will bark and bark and i know he doesnt need food or water and i have played with him, but it seems he is trying to tell me something. same goes with my cat, she meows but then when i go to pet her she runs away?….awwhhh, please help me fig. out my pets!

PPV

pawDear PPV:

Here’s the translation:

Lhasa: MOM! The cat is evil! It’s crapping in that plastic box and then hiding the evidence under the gravel!

Kitten: Like she’s gonna give a ding dong damn. At least I don’t eat garbage.

Lhasa: Further establishing your lack of judgment. Waste not, want—

Door: knock knock knock

Lhasa: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??!! MOMMM! MOMMMMMMM! THERE’S SOMETHING AT THE DOOR! CALL THE POLICE!! SET UP A PERIMITER! SET UP— oh. It’s him.

Kitten: Moron. Watch this… Awww, Mommy, I so wonewy! So wonewy! Won’t someone come and give wittle me a wittle nummy jummy? That’s it… come closer…

Lhasa: You rat.

Kitten: BAM. Psych. Cold shoulder. Total indifference.

Lhasa: I don’t like you, you don’t like me. I can keep up the mutual non-aggression pact just as well as you can.

Kitten: Really? What if I give you a little right jab to the chops … like this.

Lhasa: I’LL TEAR YOUR !*&%$ WHISKERS OUT OF YOUR FACE AND KNIT YOU A MUZZLE WITH THEM! I’LL JAM MY FOOT SO FAR UP YOUR A** YOUR BREATH WILL SMELL LIKE SHOE POLISH!!!

Kitten: Told you. Hot head.

Lhasa: I’m just spirited. I have personality. I have—

Stapler: clatter clatter

Lhasa: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??!! MOMMM! MO-O-OMMMMMM!

Kitten: The stapler fell, kitty litter for brains.

Lhasa: CALL THE FBI! EMPANEL A GRAND JURY!!

Kitten: Well, this is all very amusing, but I’m outtie.

Point being, do you really want to know what they’re getting at? It’s like most conference calls. Best to just tune them out, and occasionally throw out a “Yeah, good point” or “We should look into that.”

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