Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ask Toto #58

Dear Toto,

Please help me understand my dog. He wants to play fetch. I want to play fetch with him.He knows how it works. He brings me the ball, and I throw it to him, and he returns it. That's what fetch is, and he knows that.

So why is it, when my dog brings me the ball, HE WONT' GIVE IT TO ME TO THROW FOR HIM? Why do I have to wrestle it out of his mouth? This makes no sense to me at all. If my dog wants me to throw the ball for him, HE HAS TO LET GO OF THE BALL.

Is there some trick to getting him to understand?

- Puzzled, but wanting to play with my pup.

Hi Puzzled!

Ahhhh, see, you're not thinking of the short game. Yes, it's true, Fetch is the long game. But before Fetch comes the short game, and the short game is Tug O' War.

Tug O' War is FUN! It's awesome! C'mon, c'mon, can you REALLY rip this rope from my really strong jaws? Just try to get that rope out of my mouth, especially when I pull my super secret move, the Side Head Shake A Lot. It takes a LOT to get that rope out of my mouth. It's totally fun!

And then when you do get it away from me, THEN we play fetch. Double the games, double the fun. And it's a LOT a fun.

So don't throw a wet blanket on the fun. Just join in. 'Cause it's about the long game AND the short.

Thanks for the question!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ask Toto #57

Dear Toto,

Okay, let's talk about the really important things - where is the best place to sit for Thanksgiving that will guarantee you the best amount of food?

 - Planning ahead in Iowa.

I LIKE the way you think, Planning Iowan!  This is a very important question that involves a lot of strategy.

The primary thing to keep in mind is that you don't wanna blow your plan too early.  I see a lot of dogs who jump the gun and get underfoot when they see the turkey being pulled out of the freezer.  That's a whole SIX HOURS ahead of the dinner.

So it's that silly dog that starts drooling over a frozen turkey, gets in the way, and then is banished from the kitchen and the dining room and NO Thanksgiving scraps for him.

Don't be like that dog.  Be smarter.  Follow my easy 1-2-3- 4 step plan.

#1 - Be quietly cute from the get go.  This means giving your humans space in the kitchen while they cook.  They're gonna be in there all day, so be nearby, but not underfoot.  Stay close to a well traveled doorway, but don't block it.  You want people to see your cute furry face and go "awwwwww, look at how well behaved he is," not trip over you.

#2 - Case out the spill zones.  While you're being quietly cute in the well traveled doorway, take mental notes of potential spill zones.  This includes the kitchen sink, the stove, the oven, and the garbage can.  For my money, the kitchen sink is the best bet.  Stuff that falls from the stove is generally too hot to consume at first gobble.  Some dogs aren't picky about the trash can, but for my money, if your humans don't wanna eat it and are throwing it away, it's probably not good enough for you to eat too.  You're a dog, not a garbage disposal. Have some standards.

#3 - Case out the dinner guests.  Who looks like a sucker?  Who looks like they're gonna drop a lot of things?  Especially little kids.  Little kids LOVE dogs and they don't love getting the food to their face.

#4 - Dinner time! Again, patience and discretion are your friends.  If you take your time and put yourself under the table next to the right person, instead of jumping on every single person that comes through the door, everyone will think you're adorable and so well behaved, and would you like some turkey?  YES PLEASE.

Using these steps should guarantee maximum Thanksgiving goodies in your tummy.  I know it's really tough to be calm, cool, and collected when it's such a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and SMELLS, but slow, quiet, and cute wins this race.

thanks for the question and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Do I Wanna Be For Halloween?

Okay, so we all know that I'm not a people-who-put-clothes-on-their-dog for any reason - whether it's a costume for Halloween, an elf hat for Christmas, or bunny ears for Easter.

I mean, how would you feel if you kept seeing stuffed versions of yourself on store shelves, and you're just being used as a PROP.  You're not even your own identity.

But Dorothy has seen a few of these dog/human coordinated costumes and has decided that we need to come up with something.  So I said I'd at least make a best faith effort to go online and see what's out there in the wild wild world of people/pet coordinating outfits.

So this lady and her pup have gone as Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch (I THINK).  She seems to be radiating a lot of good cheer, it looks like she'd be a great friend for Dorothy but I can't help but cringe at her poor pup.  I mean, what if that dye job doesn't come out?

Theming costumes for pups and toddlers also seem to be in vogue as evidenced by these guys.  

Again, I GUESS it's okay, though I don't really think the kid knows what's going on, and the dogs appear to be suffering in silence.

I do love this guy though.  Harry Potter theming for the win!

I dunno.  Maybe I could go as Dorothy's bodyguard?  That may not require anything more than sunglasses at night and a serious disposition.

And again, our Yearly Public Halloween Announcement - do NOT do this to your dog.  Please?  Pretty pretty please?

Happy Halloween! :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ask Toto #56

Dear Toto,

My owner takes me to get my toenails cut a lot. I HATE IT.  Doesn't she understand that it hurts!  WHY does it hurt?  And WHY does she want to paint my toenails? What is the DEAL!?

- Anti-pedicures for Pets

Hi Anti-PP,

Well, first things first, it is important that our toenails get cut.  'Cause if they don't, they get all long and wolf-like and then they get caught on things, and that's no fun at all.

They also need to be cut because humans don't like being scratched.  That's a biggie.

It's true, some people don't understand how to cut their dog's toenails.  Quick refresher, humans: DO NOT CUT INTO THE QUICK.  Humans don't understand, because their nails don't have blood vessels and nerves in their nails.  And dogs that have black colored toenails are especially difficult, because you can't tell where the Quick stops and starts.  Here is a nifty How To picture that gives you a visual.

But you generally want to steer your human towards the guillotine type of clippers for a cleaner cut (though your human is going to pick the one your human feels the most comfortable with.)  And nudge your human to also cut the dew claw, which is easy to forget because it doesn't touch the ground normally.

And this is very important - train your human to give you a treat after a successful clipping.  That way you'll have a reward for going through this not-necessarily fun task.

In terms of painting toenails, well, this totally falls into the category of Don't Put Clothes On Your Dog category.  Don't Put Clothes On Your Dog, And Don't Paint Their Toenails.  It's dumb. Don't understand why humans paint their own toenails, don't understand why they want to paint their dog's toenails.  This is where I definitely recommend the Wiggle And Squirm Technique.  There is no reason to stay put for a toenail painting.  Run run far far away.

Thanks for the question!

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Toto Takes A Quiz

So Dorothy likes to do a lot of these internet quizzes like “Which Walking Dead Survivor Are You” (She got Maggie) or “Which Movie Is Actually Based On Your Life” (She got Disney's Brave)

So when I stumbled upon Which DisneyDog Are You? Well, I couldn't resist! Which Disney dog COULD I be? Am I about to fall so deeply into a meta rabbit hole that I won't be able to get out? (Or worse, I'd get a dog who is COMPLETELY unlike me?)

And I did quibble that a lot of the questions didn't include an answer I was happiest with, (see #3 – My Favorite Meal is, but there's no All Of Them answer). And some of the questions I was happy to answer ( #5 asking me to pick my favorite Disney Cat did have “Ew, Cats” as a potential answer, which I totally picked). 

Number 9's “My favorite word is” was truly confounding, since “Dorothy” wasn't an answer (I picked “Yo-yo” since those things hypnotize the heck out of me when Dorothy plays with one)

It finally spit out the result that I'm Dug, from Pixar's Up. I guess I can live with that. I mean, he's kinda dumb, but incredibly loyal. I made Dorothy take the quiz and she got Max from the Little Mermaid, which is weird, because he's kinda nondescript in that movie.

Go give the quiz a try and see what YOU come up with.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ask Toto #55

Dear Toto,

What is it with humans that want to teach their dog how to shake hands/paws? What's the deal?

- Obedient But Confused

Hi ObBuCon!

Humans can be really weird sometimes, right? I mean, I get why they want to teach us to Sit, it's the most obvious way to get us to calm down. I get the whole Stay thing, too, it's about them getting us to be in one place and stay there until they're ready for us to be someplace else.

Shake hands/paws? Man, I don't know. At first I thought it was a manners thing, because I see humans shaking hands with each other as a greeting all the time, because, well, dogs sniff butts, humans shake hands. It's one of the ways we differ as a species, fine.

But humans wanting to shake hands with a dog, well. It kinda falls into the same category as Roll Over, or Play Dead, or even Speak. The category of Tricks Just To Show Other People You Taught Your Dog Something And Your Dog Is Obedient. A Useless Trick, in other words.

But this is where you stand your ground, ObBuCon. Because I'm guessing your human rewarded you with a treat when you did shake paws/hands, right? And then it gradually tapered off, and now you don't get anything but a smile and applause from your owner's friends? You can take the power back. Refuse to do the trick unless you see the box of dog treats. You are nobody's fool, ObBuCon. Useless Tricks can be Useful for you, but only if you train your human right.

Make sure they understand – No Treat – No Trick. Sounds a little bit like Halloween, I know. But you can do it. You have the power. They just don't know it yet.

Thanks for the question!

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Ask Toto #54

Dear Toto,

How many layers is your dog bed? I only ask because my dog sleeps on two dog beds, and the other one sleeps on one. Can dogs really tell the difference?

- Princess That Might Know Something About Peas

Hi Princess!

Well it's true that dogs like themselves a comfy bed. We're not so different from humans, you know. You like comfy beds, we like comfy beds, preferably the same bed you're in.

Okay, so here's a story. When I was just a pup, Aunt Em tried to make me sleep in my own dog bed. I didn't like it one bit. I know where my place is, and it is ALWAYS next to Dorothy. ALWAYS.

Aunt Em's resolve is no match for the power of my Whine and PuppyDog Eyes, so that experiment didn't last long. But what I do remember is that my dogbed for all of three days was Aunt Em stacking two cushions and a towel. And that was definitely more comfy than say, one cushion.

But if you don't want your dog in your bed, and they have to be on the ground, the thicker the bed, the better. Stack away with the bed/cushions/whatever. You know you've gone too high when they can't get into it on their own.

Or you could always get one of these:

Thanks for the question!

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