Ask a Trainer - Jealous dog

Ask a Trainer - Jealous dog
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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.

Finally, 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! ■

Jennifer 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 legislation.

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