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How to Create Your Own Monster


"You've created your own monster, you know", my mother said ominously. My Rex cat, Houdini, had just burrowed his way inside my sweater for the third time that morning, letting out a squeal of indignation when I tried to resist.

Houdini has separation anxiety. But in his tiny little mind, separation means I've been out of his site for at least two minutes. Or I've closed the bathroom door and left him on the other side. Or he hasn't had his ears scratched or his belly rubbed in eons (about ten minutes.) Houdini follows me everywhere, like the most faithful of hounds, and craves my undivided attention almost as much as his next meal.

If all of this seems annoying, it's not nearly as bad as when the little fellow plunks himself down in front of me and literally tears chunks of his own hair out because I'm not paying attention to him. With Houdini, it's always been easier just to give in.

My husband takes all of this in stride. My mother, who (fortunately for Houdini) only visits now and then, thinks it's the height of absurdity.

Growing up under Mom's roof, I learned that dogs and children should obey, and cats just mind their own business. I adopted my mother's dog training philosophies successfully. Cleo (a fine-looking mastiff and our now-famous website mascot), is a perfect lady. She's a wonderful dog with the gift of self composure and not one to question authority. Cleo would never stoop to the kind of antics that are Houdini's specialty. Besides, she's too big to crawl inside my sweater.

So why does this particular pet behave like a spoiled child? Why do I give in to him? Is it because I forgot to have children? Mom swears that those little squealing sounds he makes don't come from a cat. "He's manipulating you", she tells me. "He's learned how to sound like a baby".

Maybe I've got what I like to call "lap dog syndrome". I'm referring how we treat smaller pets who are easily cuddled and coddled, are highly portable, and who look adorable wearing funny little outfits. Some might call it "empty nest syndrome".

Consider my Grandmother Rosie and her Toy Poodle, Cocoa.

Cocoa arrived long after Rosie's children had grown up and left home. Rosie knitted lots of little sweaters and hats for Cocoa to keep him warm and stylish. She kept a mixture of Coke Syrup and Pepto Bismol on hand to settle Cocoa's nervous stomach. And dog food could never pass his lips, so Grandma cooked fresh chicken for Cocoa every night before sitting down to her own dinner.

We had to spell out "c-o-o-k-i-e" and "P-e-p-t-o B-i-s-m-o-l" around the dog so he wouldn't get over-excited. And Grandpa Henry was obsessed with keeping Cocoa clean. This was one poodle who never had tear stains under his eyes, and whose little "tushy" was spotless.

Bear in mind that we're talking about the late 60's, when treating pets like children wasn't really "mainstream".

Today, it's commonplace. The pet industry is huge, and much of it caters to our desire to spoil our "children". So these days it's easier than ever to create your own monster. Besides bending to your dog's every whim, you can shower her with gourmet treats, dress her to the nines, and offer her a standard of living well above what many of the world's humans aspire to.

Today, Grandma wouldn't have to knit any sweaters herself, and there would be plenty of remedies made expressly for Cocoa's nervous tummy. Grandma wouldn't board her baby when traveling. Instead, she'd hire a professional pet sitter, or take Cocoa with her to a pet friendly hotel. The hotel might even have a dog gift shop, with lots of squeaky toys and delicious "c-o-o-k-i-e-s". And Cocoa would go everywhere with Grandma in his own little dog-sized carrying case, probably made from fine imported leather or snakeskin.

I wonder how many owners of large breeds behave this way? Are there other syndromes out there, like "macho dog syndrome" (a guy thing, no doubt)?

The truth is, all pets start out small and cuddly. No one is completely safe from creating their own monster, large or small. So thank goodness there are enough great resources available for anyone to become a virtual dog training expert. (Or cat, or parrot, or horse...)

I've learned my lesson with Houdini: It's much easier to teach your pet the rules from the start. Puppy training is easier than dog training. And un-creating a monster is a heck of a lot tougher than creating one!

But I'm weak. For now, it's easier just to give in. And besides, it time to rub Houdini's belly...

© 2005, Carolyn Schweitzer. Lifelong dog-lover, power-shopper, and former family dentist Carolyn Schweitzer is owner and editor of http://www.great-dog-gift.com View the html version of this article (with cute photos) at http://www.great-dog-gift.com/dog_training_1.html The site offers a wide range of choices for dog gift shoppers, plus shopping and gift-giving tips. She's always looking for new dog gift ideas and dog stories to share with her readers in her free monthly e-zine, "Cold Noses News". You can reach her by email at [email protected]


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE PETS INFORMATION RESOURCES updated Sun. January / 17 / 2021

Pets are pandemic winners - News from southeastern Connecticut - theday.com
Pets are pandemic winners - News from southeastern Connecticut  theday.com

Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of Jan. 17, 2021 - Summit Daily News
Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of Jan. 17, 2021  Summit Daily News

Pets of the week: A pretty cat with an independent nature - Duluth News Tribune
Pets of the week: A pretty cat with an independent nature  Duluth News Tribune

5 Anime Pets Everyone Wants to Adopt (& 5 To Avoid At All Costs) - CBR - Comic Book Resources
5 Anime Pets Everyone Wants to Adopt (& 5 To Avoid At All Costs)  CBR - Comic Book Resources

Standard Journal Pets of the Week for the Wednesday, Jan. 20 2021 edition - The Catoosa County News
Standard Journal Pets of the Week for the Wednesday, Jan. 20 2021 edition  The Catoosa County News

Pets to Cheer You Up - NBC New York
Pets to Cheer You Up  NBC New York

Pet Vet: Cold Weather Tips for Pets - WNDU
Pet Vet: Cold Weather Tips for Pets  WNDU

Pets Page: Columbus Animal Care Services - The Republic
Pets Page: Columbus Animal Care Services  The Republic

Make Sure Pets Have Proper Shelter, Access to Water this Winter - kciiradio.com
Make Sure Pets Have Proper Shelter, Access to Water this Winter  kciiradio.com

Addressing backyard pet waste | | news-journal.com - Longview News-Journal
Addressing backyard pet waste | | news-journal.com  Longview News-Journal

Iowa teen raises $2,000 to provide life-saving devices for pets to fire departments - KCCI Des Moines
Iowa teen raises $2,000 to provide life-saving devices for pets to fire departments  KCCI Des Moines

Kearney Area Animal Shelter celebrates milestone of 10,000 pets adopted (so far) - Grand Island Independent
Kearney Area Animal Shelter celebrates milestone of 10,000 pets adopted (so far)  Grand Island Independent

Help new pets adjust when pandemic ends - WDIV ClickOnDetroit
Help new pets adjust when pandemic ends  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

Petco CEO highlights the resiliency of the pet industry as COVID-19 drives increase in adoption - MarketWatch
Petco CEO highlights the resiliency of the pet industry as COVID-19 drives increase in adoption  MarketWatch

See How Kim Kardashian Celebrated Chicago's Birthday, Complete With New Frog Pets - ELLE.com
See How Kim Kardashian Celebrated Chicago's Birthday, Complete With New Frog Pets  ELLE.com

CAPA Pet of the Week: Sheba - Lompoc Record
CAPA Pet of the Week: Sheba  Lompoc Record

Galveston Island Humane Society pets of the week - Galveston County Daily News
Galveston Island Humane Society pets of the week  Galveston County Daily News

Midlands Humane Society encourages owners to be patient when bringing new pets into their home - The Daily Nonpareil
Midlands Humane Society encourages owners to be patient when bringing new pets into their home  The Daily Nonpareil

Samsung SmartTags find lost pets, keys, more: Price, 2 models, sale date, how they work - CNET
Samsung SmartTags find lost pets, keys, more: Price, 2 models, sale date, how they work  CNET

Galveston County Animal Resource Center pets of the week - Galveston County Daily News
Galveston County Animal Resource Center pets of the week  Galveston County Daily News

Speaking of Pets: Why it's important to take care of your dog's foot health - Vail Daily News
Speaking of Pets: Why it's important to take care of your dog's foot health  Vail Daily News

Robots rising: Firms debut fuzzy pets, household helpers at CES - Al Jazeera English
Robots rising: Firms debut fuzzy pets, household helpers at CES  Al Jazeera English

Meet the New Celebrity Pets of 2021 - PEOPLE
Meet the New Celebrity Pets of 2021  PEOPLE

Pandemic brings importance of pets into focus - TribLIVE
Pandemic brings importance of pets into focus  TribLIVE

Beings of Oregon: H.E.L.P. for pets on the street - The Register-Guard
Beings of Oregon: H.E.L.P. for pets on the street  The Register-Guard

PETS OF THE WEEK:Axel, Wilson and Nitro – THE INDEPENDENT - The Independent
PETS OF THE WEEK:Axel, Wilson and Nitro – THE INDEPENDENT  The Independent

Pets of the Week: Otis and Clyde - Daily Bulldog
Pets of the Week: Otis and Clyde  Daily Bulldog

New PETS Clinic location provides even more services than the first - KAUZ
New PETS Clinic location provides even more services than the first  KAUZ

Second Chance Pets: Piper and Mija - KOIN.com
Second Chance Pets: Piper and Mija  KOIN.com

Pets with Potential: Meet Oreo Blizzard - WCAX
Pets with Potential: Meet Oreo Blizzard  WCAX

What To Know Before Giving Your Pet CBD - Benzinga
What To Know Before Giving Your Pet CBD  Benzinga

Lost Cat, Grey Tabby in Southern Pines | Pets | thepilot.com - Southern Pines Pilot
Lost Cat, Grey Tabby in Southern Pines | Pets | thepilot.com  Southern Pines Pilot

The power of pets: Chewy and Petco have become Wall Street darlings - KTVZ
The power of pets: Chewy and Petco have become Wall Street darlings  KTVZ

Meet Prince William’s Pets: Mandy, from Manassas - Prince William Living
Meet Prince William’s Pets: Mandy, from Manassas  Prince William Living

These Expert Tips Will Help You Easily Make Your Pet Part of Your Wellness Routine in 2021 - PEOPLE
These Expert Tips Will Help You Easily Make Your Pet Part of Your Wellness Routine in 2021  PEOPLE

OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Peril is real when a pet rides in lap - Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Peril is real when a pet rides in lap  Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Looking for a home: Adoptable pets in Lane County - The Register-Guard
Looking for a home: Adoptable pets in Lane County  The Register-Guard

How to get rid of pet hair for good - Chicago Tribune
How to get rid of pet hair for good  Chicago Tribune

Pet food distribution happening Saturday - KOAA.com Colorado Springs and Pueblo News
Pet food distribution happening Saturday  KOAA.com Colorado Springs and Pueblo News

SPCA of Westchester-Pets of the Week - River Journal Staff
SPCA of Westchester-Pets of the Week  River Journal Staff

'Indoguration Day' nears for Major Biden - NBC News
'Indoguration Day' nears for Major Biden  NBC News

Doggie desserts: Ben & Jerry’s enters the pet food business - KPRC Click2Houston
Doggie desserts: Ben & Jerry’s enters the pet food business  KPRC Click2Houston

Young-Williams Pet of the Week: Ziggy - WATE 6 On Your Side
Young-Williams Pet of the Week: Ziggy  WATE 6 On Your Side

Make provisions for your pets in case of emergency - yoursun.com
Make provisions for your pets in case of emergency  yoursun.com

Milwaukee Pets Who Need A Home: Meet Hamish, Glitter, Trooper $350 & More - Patch.com
Milwaukee Pets Who Need A Home: Meet Hamish, Glitter, Trooper $350 & More  Patch.com

Meet Bean and Burrito, Newswest 9's Pets of the Week - NewsWest9.com
Meet Bean and Burrito, Newswest 9's Pets of the Week  NewsWest9.com

Good Day Pets – Meet Anise! - KCAU 9
Good Day Pets – Meet Anise!  KCAU 9

Portsmouth Pets Who Need A Home: Milkbone, Opie, Otto & More - Patch.com
Portsmouth Pets Who Need A Home: Milkbone, Opie, Otto & More  Patch.com

Better Pets of the Week - WFSB
Better Pets of the Week  WFSB

A pet duck in Corinna is sporting new wheels - WABI
A pet duck in Corinna is sporting new wheels  WABI

Pet Food Recall - Alabama Public Radio
Pet Food Recall  Alabama Public Radio

Damages cap on injured, killed pets would rise to $25K under Md. bill - Maryland Daily Record
Damages cap on injured, killed pets would rise to $25K under Md. bill  Maryland Daily Record

Pet Wise: The pandemic and the pet boom - Baltimore Sun
Pet Wise: The pandemic and the pet boom  Baltimore Sun

Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of Jan. 10, 2021 - Summit Daily News
Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of Jan. 10, 2021  Summit Daily News

Pets of the week: Nova loves to play and can't wait to go on adventures with you - Victoria Advocate
Pets of the week: Nova loves to play and can't wait to go on adventures with you  Victoria Advocate

What's Best for Our Pets - WHYY
What's Best for Our Pets  WHYY

The 45 best Cleveland Browns fans photos we received: Triplets, pets, newborns, kindergarten Zoom spirit day - cleveland.com
The 45 best Cleveland Browns fans photos we received: Triplets, pets, newborns, kindergarten Zoom spirit day  cleveland.com

Midwestern Pet Foods Voluntarily Expands Recall of Pet Food for Aflatoxin Health Risk - FDA.gov
Midwestern Pet Foods Voluntarily Expands Recall of Pet Food for Aflatoxin Health Risk  FDA.gov

Pet of the week | Jordan News | swnewsmedia.com - SW News Media
Pet of the week | Jordan News | swnewsmedia.com  SW News Media

Jet Pet- Star - YourErie
Jet Pet- Star  YourErie

ANIMAL WELFARE – Adopt a pet | News | stwnewspress.com - Stillwater News Press
ANIMAL WELFARE – Adopt a pet | News | stwnewspress.com  Stillwater News Press

Ask The Expert: New Pets (Virtual) - wgbh.org
Ask The Expert: New Pets (Virtual)  wgbh.org

These adoptable pets could bring light into your life: Jan.: 16-17 - SILive.com
These adoptable pets could bring light into your life: Jan.: 16-17  SILive.com

Biden Will Restore White House Pet Tradition With 2 German Shepherds - NPR
Biden Will Restore White House Pet Tradition With 2 German Shepherds  NPR

Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry prepares to serve more families after record year - wpta21.com
Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry prepares to serve more families after record year  wpta21.com

Peril is real when a pet rides in lap - Arkansas Online
Peril is real when a pet rides in lap  Arkansas Online

Friendswood Animal Control pet of the week | Lifestyle | The Daily News - Galveston County Daily News
Friendswood Animal Control pet of the week | Lifestyle | The Daily News  Galveston County Daily News

Pet of the Week: 2021 pets - WTOP
Pet of the Week: 2021 pets  WTOP

Hermitage nonprofit hosts pet food giveaway with local business’ help - WKBN.com
Hermitage nonprofit hosts pet food giveaway with local business’ help  WKBN.com

Cleveland APL Pet of the Weekend: An energetic 3-year-old pupper who loves people and other dogs - News 5 Cleveland
Cleveland APL Pet of the Weekend: An energetic 3-year-old pupper who loves people and other dogs  News 5 Cleveland

Changes, challenges: The not-so-secret life of pandemic pets - The Detroit News
Changes, challenges: The not-so-secret life of pandemic pets  The Detroit News

A Brief History of Royal Pets - Vanity Fair
A Brief History of Royal Pets  Vanity Fair

Pet cat feared dead in 2018 California mudslide is found alive - NBC News
Pet cat feared dead in 2018 California mudslide is found alive  NBC News

Mentor Public Library hosting online pet parade - News-Herald.com
Mentor Public Library hosting online pet parade  News-Herald.com

Paws & Pals: Dogs up for adoption at Posh Pets Rescue on Jan. 15 - News 12 Bronx
Paws & Pals: Dogs up for adoption at Posh Pets Rescue on Jan. 15  News 12 Bronx

Who let the dogs out at CES 2021? The MyQ Pet Portal smart doggie door did - CNET
Who let the dogs out at CES 2021? The MyQ Pet Portal smart doggie door did  CNET

Pets of the Week - Clarksville Now
Pets of the Week  Clarksville Now

Pet Wise: Keeping pets and guests safe during unusual holiday season - Baltimore Sun
Pet Wise: Keeping pets and guests safe during unusual holiday season  Baltimore Sun

Colorado Springs area pet organizations | Lifestyle | gazette.com - Colorado Springs Gazette
Colorado Springs area pet organizations | Lifestyle | gazette.com  Colorado Springs Gazette

Adoptable Pet of the Week — Thor - The Daily World
Adoptable Pet of the Week — Thor  The Daily World

Furever Friends: Pets available for adoption - WJAC Johnstown
Furever Friends: Pets available for adoption  WJAC Johnstown

So many pets have been adopted during the pandemic that shelters are running out - The Washington Post
So many pets have been adopted during the pandemic that shelters are running out  The Washington Post

Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of Jan. 3, 2021 - Summit Daily News
Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of Jan. 3, 2021  Summit Daily News

Pet talk: Choosing the best diet for your kitten - Marshall News Messenger
Pet talk: Choosing the best diet for your kitten  Marshall News Messenger

Pets shouldn't wear COVID-19 face masks, but sales are still spiking - Business Insider - Business Insider
Pets shouldn't wear COVID-19 face masks, but sales are still spiking - Business Insider  Business Insider

Gallery: Pets of the week: Meet Doughboy - nwitimes.com
Gallery: Pets of the week: Meet Doughboy  nwitimes.com

Pet Supplies Plus to open new Lancaster County stores in 3 former Pet Valu locations - LancasterOnline
Pet Supplies Plus to open new Lancaster County stores in 3 former Pet Valu locations  LancasterOnline

Pets on the Plaza: Meet Gilman - 47abc - WMDT
Pets on the Plaza: Meet Gilman - 47abc  WMDT

KCBD’s Pet of the Day: Meet Dale - KCBD
KCBD’s Pet of the Day: Meet Dale  KCBD

SPCA Cincinnati Adopt-A-Pet: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 - WKRC TV Cincinnati
SPCA Cincinnati Adopt-A-Pet: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021  WKRC TV Cincinnati

Second Chance Pets: Kushina - KOIN.com
Second Chance Pets: Kushina  KOIN.com

Pet-food supplier to build up plant - Arkansas Online
Pet-food supplier to build up plant  Arkansas Online

Every NJ pet owner needs to see this - New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio
Every NJ pet owner needs to see this  New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio

Ben & Jerry’s makes dog ice cream as pet food industry grows - Fox Business
Ben & Jerry’s makes dog ice cream as pet food industry grows  Fox Business

All the pets in the White House over the last 40 years - Euronews
All the pets in the White House over the last 40 years  Euronews

Do we need a COVID-19 vaccine for pets? - Science Magazine
Do we need a COVID-19 vaccine for pets?  Science Magazine

CES 2021: Chamberlain's MyQ Pet Portal smart dog door - Reviewed
CES 2021: Chamberlain's MyQ Pet Portal smart dog door  Reviewed

Wildlife experts caution pet owners to be cautious as coyotes are more active - WKBN.com
Wildlife experts caution pet owners to be cautious as coyotes are more active  WKBN.com

Pet food recall expanded after more than 70 dogs die - Wink News
Pet food recall expanded after more than 70 dogs die  Wink News

Pets on the Plaza: Meet Ally - 47abc - WMDT
Pets on the Plaza: Meet Ally - 47abc  WMDT

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