Question: When we got our dog Brady five years ago, she was very skittish, but she has gotten better over the years. When we first got her, my dad was working on our kitchen and making a lot of noise. Now, she is still scared of my dad and barks at him whenever he enters and leaves the house or when he goes up the stairs. She also does not like to play ball with him unless my mom and I are in the room. Why is she scared of him?
Answer: Only Brady knows why she feels the way she does toward you father - but if she does play ball with him while you are in the room, then she is not really that fearful of him. She barks at him when he is leaving or going up the stairs because in her mind she is chasing him away, and that little bit of power makes her feel good. In a perfect world, and if your dad had enough time, he would calmly and without drama turn around when she is barking and go back into the room and sit down and just talk to her in a nonthreatening way and drop her a few treats. Then she would realize her behavior no longer gets the result of your dad leaving, and she would stop the behavior. If all her encounters with your dad resulted in only good things happening, then her behavior would change.
Question: My mother's Pomeranian just died. Now, she wants to go back in time and get an Airedale puppy, as she had one when she was a child. She has such fond memories of that dog. However, this was more than 60 years ago on a farm in rural Iowa. I am trying to talk her out of it, without any luck. Do you have some points I could use in my arguments?
Answer: I actually like Airedales very much, so there is nothing bad I can say about the breed, but the puppyhood of any terrier breed - let alone a large one like an Airedale - is always full of drama because they are so active and full of energy. I certainly no longer have the drive or patience to keep up with such an active dog while it is a puppy. Another issue is their coats need to be plucked regularly, and if your mother cannot do this herself, she needs to have a groomer do it. There are not many groomers who like to work on such large breeds, and the ones who do may charge a premium price for the service.
If she has her heart set on an Airedale and you have an affordable groomer lined up, then a good idea would be to find an Airedale rescue group that could provide your mother with an older dog that needs a home and won't view your mother's home as a giant chew toy. An older dog is not so active and will be content with a couple of walks per day and periodic romps in the park.
Question: We have lots of those green Quaker parrots living wild in our town, and they are all over the place in all sorts of weather. Now that the weather is nice, I wonder if I could start to take my baby gray parrot outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine? How warm does it need to be? The Quaker parrots are out all winter long. I wonder if my bird can go out at 50 or 60 degrees, or should I wait?
Answer: The Quakers have acclimated to the cold weather, so you really cannot compare what they have adapted to with what an indoor-bred-and-raised bird can handle. However, after Hurricane Sandy hit here and I was caring for hundreds of displaced people's birds in a store that had no heat for eight days, I learned pet parrots can do just fine at 50 and 60 degrees. So if it is a fine spring day and the sun is shining, there is no wind and you want to take your bird outside with you, that should be just fine.
Please be sure the bird's wing feathers have just been trimmed by a trained person or it is in a secure carrying cage.
Question: There is a male cardinal that keeps trying to come into my living room through the windows. He is there all day pecking at the glass. How can I tell him that coming into my house is not an option?
Answer: He is actually fighting with his reflection in the glass. He thinks it is another male cardinal trying to usurp his territory. Just put some cardboard on the outside of the windows - from the base of the window and up about eight inches, and he will no longer see his reflection and thus go back to his fatherly duties.