DEAR DIDI: My spouse and I are having a difference of opinion with regards to allowing our Dachshund in the kitchen. We want an honest opinion on the subject from you, please. Could you please tell us your opinion! -Weiner Parents
DEAR PARENTS: Funny you should ask because this is actually a pet peeve of mine! Let me give you some background on why I am so passionate about this topic.
When I was fresh out of college, I worked with a woman in her 50’s that had a large German Shepherd dog. This woman was Italian and loved to cook. She also loved her dog and wanted him to be near her at all times.
I tried to make a case that her dog should not be in the kitchen with her. I was young and my parents taught me to respect my elders. My client argued that she spent half her life in the kitchen and what was the sense in having a dog if it couldn’t be with her. I didn’t have the experience needed to take a strong enough stand with her.
I got the news one day that her dog was laying behind her while she stood at the stove. When she tried to step away with her pan she fell backwards and hit her head on the center island of the kitchen. She hit her head in such a way that she lost her eyesight permanently!! I was traumatized over the situation and I felt a lot of guilt for a long time afterwards. Her whole life, as she knew it, changed in a heartbeat!
Kitchens are fraught with dangers.
Hot oil, hot pans, knives, tripping hazards, hot oven doors, dropped prescription pills, poisonous foods and more. It is very simply a SAFETY hazard to allow your dog in the kitchen.
I have heard of dogs suffering broken bones from being stepped on in the kitchen. Dogs can also unknowingly get underfoot while carrying a pan of boiling water. When we are jostled some of that hot water can easily slosh down onto our dogs causing third degree burns.
Larger dogs that haven’t been taught to respect kitchen counters may jump up with the worst of timing while we chop onions with a large knife. My dad always taught me to think of what “could” happen and prevent it rather than “react” after it has already happened.
Keep your fur babies safe and out of the kitchen.
Having said that, there are floor plans of homes that just don’t give the owner a choice.
My own dogs have to pass through my kitchen to get to the back door in order to go outside. I focus on teaching my dogs temporary wait lines while cooking and then I release them to go through the kitchen when I am finished.
Safety first for both the dog and the human!
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Dierdra McElroy is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is an Animal Behaviorist specializing in canines. If you have questions or concerns about the pets in your house, you can get them answered through a future column of Didi’s Dogs. To ask your dog behavior question, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.