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Probe: May 15, 2002

May 15, 2002

QUESTION: You haven't mentioned your furry friend lately. Do you still have your dog? How is the training going? — Dog Lover, rural Seeley

We still have Snoop Doggy Dog — and the training is not going well. On the other hand, we think we may be convincing Snoop that he may be the alpha dog but we are the alpha human. And the alpha human always out-ranks the alpha dog.

For instance, we have money and he doesn't. We have a car and he doesn't. We're 5 feet, 4 inches tall and he is 8 inches at the shoulder. When we want him to go some place, we just bend down and scoop him up — if we can catch him.

The trick to showing a dog who is boss is to make direct eye contact. You look the dog straight in the eye and don't blink until he looks away.


Lately Snoop breaks eye contact first.

Snoop's best friend is a dark chocolate poodle named Oreo (he has a white spot on his belly and one white paw). They wrestle, chase each other, run through the sprinklers and wallow in the mud they create on a bare spot on the lawn.

Although Snoop is only 7 months old, he's developing an interest in females. We took him with us Mother's Day to a house where there are a couple of female poodles.

Snoop knew immediately that these poodles were not the same as his buddy Oreo. There were no friendly wrestling matches or chases across the lawn.. All afternoon, he made unseemly advances toward the bigger poodle, Ginger.

When she growled or snapped at him, he was not discouraged.

Next time Snoop Doggy stays home.

Snoop is not popular in the neighborhood. He thinks he's a German shepherd with a mandate to guard our territory. Unfortunately, he thinks our territory is anything he can see (or hear) from our front porch.

He thinks it's his job to keep an eye on the neighbors and stop them from doing things that neighbors do, like coming home or climbing in a car and driving away.

Last week we spent a whole morning on the phone trying to find a training collar. We heard the collar comes with a remote control device. If the dog runs out of the yard, you say: "No!" twice and on the third "No!" you zap him with a little electric shock.

We couldn't find one so we've been keeping Snoop penned up in the back yard.

One thing we have to say for Snoop; he has cleared our yard of stray cats. Now we have mice. We think that's what they mean by "balance of nature."

QUESTION: With the war on terrorism the lines at the border are longer and longer. The pedestrian lines are becoming unendurable now that it's getting hotter.

I saw on "60 Minutes" that all of the Sept. 11 highjackers came in legally through Canada. So why do we on the southern border have to suffer? — Crosser, Calexico

Since they came through Canada last time, it seems logical that they might cross through Mexico next time. Or maybe while we're watching the Mexican border, they might cross the Canadian border again. The trouble is we can't trust terrorists to be logical — or illogical.

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