Renowned dog behaviorist Dr. Fred reports on doggie makeovers and designer dogs. Dr. Fred established his canine cognitive center after a successful career in aluminum siding. His entire life has been spent in neighborhoods where there were dogs, and just recently, he was seen petting a dog outside a convenience store.
BEAUTY FOR THE BEAST:
Say you want to turn back Tallulah’s clock. Dogs know when they’ve lost their curb appeal, and she’s caught the Irish wolfhound next door sniffing someone new up the block. Distressing. Remember, inside every 10-year-old pooch is a 5-year-old. She doesn’t want to be a part of the graying herd, and she’s losing her battle with gravity. What to do?
As today’s affluent pet owner, you have options:
- Retain a dog whisperer for positive reinforcement: “Whoa, just look at you! Two ears! Wow!”
- Sign four paws up for some maintenance at the local doggie spa. They will start her with an oatmeal bath and finish with a cologne spritz plus a side of liver-flavored ice cream. Yum!
- Or it could be time for some body contouring. No matter how attractive her collar, that capacious rump has to go. Liposuction time and maybe a tummy tuck. Is her doggy mug showing a little wear? Plump up those wrinkles with some filler. Tighten those neck muscles. Reconfigure that nose and voila! Best in show! Bring on that wolfhound.
Speaking of his nibs, a neutered Roscoe may be having his own ego problems. There’s something missing from that macho profile – actually a pair of somethings. Once Mr. Cool in the dog park, now his expression tells you he wishes he could have stayed in the game. But wait! Now he can be fitted with silicone testicles called Neuticles. It’s true, bean-shaped imitation gonads of solid silicone at $400 a pair. These give new meaning to the term “numb nuts.” Happily, they come in a range of sizes, and reports are that he’ll lick them as if they’re real.
People are always asking me, “What’s a designer dog?” It’s a dog bred in the hope it will have the characteristics that you like best from two other breeds. Today, you can genetically design a dog that is submissive, won’t drool or shed, doesn’t sniff crotches, and won’t bark. Or you can switch to a pet turtle.
Among current popular hybrids are the peagle (Pekingese and beagle), the schnoodle (schnauzer and poodle), the pomapoo (Pomeranian and toy poodle), the yorkipoo (Yorkshire terrier and poodle), and the take-apoo (just kidding).
What you want is a dog who can take care of himself: clean his own doghouse, operate a can opener, turn off the porch light. And one who thinks positively. A dog tailored to your circumstance. But while you’re at it, you want to eschew negative traits. Say Garfunkle loves rolling in horse manure and squirrel remains. Or your Dalmatian licks his privates and then licks your butter dish.
But be careful what you wish for. Say you want a dog whose personality matches your own, but you’re disliked by the whole neighborhood. Or you want a companion suited to your lifestyle and you’re a second-story man. Okay, a steeplejack.
Also, beware of backfires. When you breed two different types of purebreds together, you can get combinations of the wrong characteristics. Take Case No. 657B: One owner’s puggle (part pug and part beagle) was supposed to weigh 15 pounds but is now 82 pounds and still growing – with a very enormous head, a big jaw, and a mouth like a rain barrel. This can be troubling. Said his disappointed master, “Two thousand dollars and Maurice eats, barks, eats, burps, eats, farts, eats, naps.” Back to the drawing board.
Or, suppose you adore Jack Russells – if only they weren’t so twerpy. In other words, you want a 150-pound Jack Russell with fangs. This is going to mean crossing a Jack Russell with either a Saint Bernard or a wart hog. Tricky. Or maybe you want a dog with antlers. In which case, you can preserve Bullwinkle later on as a hat rack. Can do, provided you come up with a very small moose.