DEAR JOAN: I am moving from a house with yard to a fourth story apartment with my 8-year-old King Charles cavalier pup.
How can I train him to use paper on a terrace so I don’t have to take him a long distance to the outside? He has had spinal fusion surgery causing him difficulty to hold his bowels and bladder once he is ready to go.
Ann Marie, Lafayette
DEAR ANN MARIE: This sounds like it will be a chore, but experts assure me all it takes is patience, repetition and a lot of pee pads.
Whether you want your dog to go on the balcony or on a certain spot in your yard, you have to train it to go on command, which apparently isn’t that difficult.
I’m sure your dog already gives you clues when he needs to urinate or defecate. Whenever you know that he has a need, pop on his leash and take him to the designated spot. Give him a command, such as “potty,” and wait until he obeys.
The instant he complies, reward him with a treat and praise. If he doesn’t go after a few minutes of receiving the command, take him back inside and try again after a bit. Because he has trouble holding it in, you won’t want to wait long between attempts.
I’m sure you wouldn’t, but don’t scold him for not going on command. Just keep trying.
If the balcony is safe for him, you can take him off leash and play with him. If there’s a risk of him falling through the railings or otherwise getting in trouble, keep him on the leash.
Keeping fresh, clean pads out for him is important. Nobody likes a smelly toilet.
If your dog will only pee by hiking his leg, you might want to install a post of some sort that gives him a target and is easy to clean.
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DEAR JOAN: About a month ago we started hearing some unusual bird sounds. The sound was coming from two tall trees in our neighborhood and was a call and response, so we knew there were two birds.
We used the Merlin app to identify the call of a red-shouldered hawk. Finally, we got a sighting of one of the birds, and it appears to be a juvenile. We speculated the calls had been between a baby and mama.
Now, there is only one hawk, but it continues to perch in several different trees, calling and calling. Is it looking for food, a mate or something else? Any insight you have on this fascinating creature would be much appreciated.
Cheryl Masters, Los Altos
DEAR CHERYL: There’s only one thing a juvenile hawk calls for, and that’s food.
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