Life Advice



Ask Amy: Dormant affair triggers obsession

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I’ve always hated it when dogs jumped up to greet people. Honestly, I find it scary. I also don’t want for my dog to beg for food, bark for attention, or “ask” to sit on someone’s lap.

We’re working on these things, but I’ve noticed that when people come over to visit, they tend to let – or even encourage – my dog to do the very things I know they will find annoying in a few minutes. They will either say, “Oh, it’s OK if she jumps up,” or encourage her to beg.

I’m not sure what to do. Any ideas?

– Proud Pup Parent

Dear Pup Parent: Like many people, I got a dog during the pandemic – my first. And I’ve noticed this, too: Guests being very gracious and patient, but also sometimes encouraging negative behavior, or undermining the dog’s better habits.

I’ve started routinely saying to everyone: “Please forgive me, but for the first 10 minutes while you’re here I’m going to discipline the dog while we talk.”

And then I spend 10 minutes saying, “Well, how are you MOLLY DOWN.”

“I ran into your mom last wee … MOLLY DOWN.”

This seems to work! It gives the humans some notice that things are going to be a little wacky at first. It shows them the behaviors I’m discouraging. It also lets the dog know that the house rules are consistent, even when we have guests. Everybody seems to settle down quite nicely.


Dear Amy: Please! Your answer to “Woke Enough”, accusing her of racism because she described some kids at the door as “Black kids” compounds the racial hypersensitivity in this country.

– Tired

Dear Tired: “Woke Enough” asked outright: “Am I racist?” I said that her choice to identify people in this way was racist.

But I think racial hypersensitivity is a good thing. It’s about time.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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