Ask Jennifer Messer

Q: Every time my new boyfriend and I
kiss, my dog wants to take part in the activity. This isn’t very fun
for either of us. How do we slow down the Make-out Princess? -Carrie,
Quebec City, QC

A: Dear Carrie, Oh dear…that
uninvited doggie breath must really spoil the mood! There are a few
remedies for this doggone interference. You could teach Smoocher that
if she tries to join in, you will retreat behind closed doors-that
might get her to think twice! If this makes you feel too guilty, there
are other strategies to try.

If even brief kisses are posing a
problem, you could teach her that keeping a distance earns her a
cookie. Stage the quickest kiss on record when she is watching from a
distance, and toss her a cookie before she has time to move a paw.
Gradually lengthen the staged kisses, and gradually practice closer and
closer to her… eventually rewarding only for her BEST stays during
REAL kisses.

For longer interludes, she may not mind playing by
her lonesome if you give her a stuffed Kong to kiss instead of you-keep
one in the freezer so it is always on hand, and serve it up to the
make-out princess before romantic moments with your boyfriend.

if your beau is game, you could "pretend kiss" a bunch of times in a
short period-like a kiss-fest all weekend, just to get Smoocher used to
seeing it. Sometimes a new activity, or a familiar one with a new
person, is so interesting that dogs need to get in close and check it
out until they are familiar with it. Start out with short little pecks
that barely catch her attention and work your way up to
the…well…let’s say the "more serious" kisses. I’m sure your
boyfriend won’t mind that part of the training plan! ■

Messer is a veterinarian working in small animal practice in Preston,
Ont. She has a honours BA in psychology from McGill University and a
DVM from the Ontario Veterinary College, and is curriculum consultant
for Montessaurus Puppy School. Jennifer is owned by her Staffordshire
Bull Terrier, Monte, and her American Pit Bull Terrier, Charlotte. Like
many of our contributors, she is strongly opposed to breed-specific