Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ask Toto #38

Dear Toto,

My owners have given me lots of toys, and my favorite one is the one that squeaks the loudest!  Yet my owners don't seem to like this one so much.  But they bought it for me?  What's the deal?

Porter In Los Angeles

Hi Porter!

Squeaky toys are the best, aren’t they?  The NOISE!  Oh, the NOISE!  The noise is SOOOOOOOOO awesome!  SQUEAKY SQUEAKY SQUEAKY!  I can’t get enough of it, the sound is sooooooooooooo annoying and COOL!  Because it’s a sound that happens because I’m MAKING it happen.  Dogs rarely have any sounds at their disposal.  Barking, whining, that’s about it.  So to be able to cause a toy to squeak is just, well, genius!

Humans don’t necessarily share the same kind of joy as our squeaky toys, because they can make all sorts of noises on their own.  They can talk, sing, hum, burp, shout, snore, whistle, do all sorts of things. 

As for why they bought it for you when they don’t like it when you play with it, it’s one of those buyer’s remorse things.  It might have been encased in plastic when they got it at the store, so they didn’t know how annoying it would be.  It may have been a gift from a friend.  They may have thought they could handle the squeaks, not realizing it would soon become your favorite toy, and that you would play with it quite as much as you do.

But moderation is the key.  Choose your Squeaky Time wisely.  If you see your humans start to wince, or if they yell at you, dial it down.  Try playing with it when they’re at work.  Compromise isn’t easy when it comes to dogs, but it can be done.

Thanks for the question!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ask Toto #37

Dear Toto:

I've noticed that when my dog eats his food, he'll take a few pieces of kibble from the bowl and then go a little ways away to eat it.  What's up with that?

J&J, Los Angeles

Hi J&J!

Every dog eats their kibble differently.  Some dogs inhale the whole bowl as quick as they can, because, well, it’s KIBBLE!  You’re supposed to eat it, and if you don’t eat it as soon as it’s put in front of you, it could VANISH!  DISAPPEAR!  POOF AWAY!  SO eat eat eat gobble gobble gobble it down before it happens!

Other dogs like to savor every bite, longingly, enjoying the hints of lamb, rosemary, beef stock, cardamon, etc., etc. etc.  (those dogs might also be kinda old).

But as for the dogs who take their meals on the road, even if the roads are only four steps away from the food bowl, it’s because those dogs know that it’s all about location, location, location.

Yes, the kibble will taste the same.  But the view is so much more DIFFERENT when you’re four steps away from the food bowl.  You can keep an eye on everything that’s going on, whether it’s that squirrel visible through the back door, or that awful cat who’s slinking around under the table. 

Dogs who eat their kibble away from the bowl are just extra curious and vigilant and more alert than the other dogs.

(or maybe they don’t like looking down into a food bowl when they’re eating.)

Thanks for the question!

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