Ask Dog Lady: How to handle noisy dog owners

Monica Collins

Dear Dog Lady,

I am a dog lover. However, I struggle to find any love for dog owners whose noise level is worse than a barking dog.

I live in the city, near a popular early-morning spot for dog owners to gather. Now that windows are open, I am awakened by dog walkers every morning -- 6 a.m. isn't social hour for everyone, even dog lovers, that's for sure. I would hope this letter prompts dog walkers to be more sensitive to their neighbors and make less noise.

I would appreciate any suggestions.

-- Cheryl

Dear Cheryl,

Sunrise and sunset are happy (yappy?) hours for dog keepers and their dogs to mix it up socially. Especially in the early morning, a dog and its keeper wipe the sleep out of their eyes by hitting the streets or parks – it’t good for the body and soul.

Still, this doesn’t solve your problem of noisy dog owners under your window. How about the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach? After all, you claim to be a dog lover. Maybe you should adopt a dog and join the sunrise serenade.

Too extreme? OK, get up one morning, go outside and talk to members of the dog pack without rancor. Remind them other people share their turf and ask them to be mindful of people trying to sleep nearby. If you are reasonable, your message might get through.

You have chosen to live in an urban jungle, a congested place where glaring sounds travel. Coping with noise pollution is a daily fact of city life. The best we can do is to ask politely for quiet, which doesn’t always mean we’ll be heard above the din.

Dear Dog Lady,

Heidi is overly attached to me. The Yorkie-poo (Yorkshire terrier/poodle mix) only wants to be with me and makes it difficult for my wife. When we decided to get a dog, we both wanted to be the pack leaders and be consistent in how we trained her, but it turns out that she prefers me.

My wife feeds her all her meals and helps with all the training and tries very hard to remedy this problem, but so far we have not been successful. Can you help us?

-- Frank

Dear Frank,

Your dog has a crush on you! Dogs can be so funny. Often, it’s obvious which human is the dog’s keeper and protector. In other cases, such as yours, the matter is up for debate.

There’s always someone in a household who commands their attention more than any other. And dogs attach themselves for reasons understood only by them: Heidi likes your smell. She senses you are the Alpha dog of the household. She believes you are He-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed while your wife is She-Who-Spoons-Out-Dinner.

For now, don’t take Heidi’s choice all that seriously. It’s not as if your pet actively dislikes your wife. The dog doesn’t bite her or show aggression. If Heidi were Lassie, she would never ignore your wife if she were stuck at the bottom of the well.

Your wife should have alone time with Heidi to build the bond. She should take time to train and walk with Heidi one-on-one. When the three of you go for a walk, your wife should hold the leash. Basically, around the dog, your wife should wear the pants.

You can help by holding back and letting her be the boss; Heidi will inevitably draw closer and everybody will feel better.

Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her Web site is www.askdoglady.com. Contact her at askdoglady@gmail.com.