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Ask Zena                                  Total Questions: 24        

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Ask Zena - Zena answersz your dog questionz

Ask Zena your dog-related questions

When Zena and her dog Zippy aren't going for walks, they're hard at work answering your dog-related questions.

Go ahead and submit your question today, and who knows - when Zena comes back from her walk she might just answer your question.

* The most recent questions are listed first *


Dear Zena,

What is the life span of a German Shepherd?

Marshall Faulk (St. Louis)


Dear Marshall,

According to the literature, the expected lifespan of the German Shepherd Dog is approximately 12-14 years. However, as a breed they can be subject to a number of health problems including bloat, hip dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joint), panosteitis (inflammation of the leg long bones), skin and eye disorders, pyoderma (bacterial infection of the hair shafts), idiopathic epilepsy, and spinal paralysis.

These health problems contribute to some of the many reasons why it is so important to purchase a German Shepherd Dog from a reputable breeder.

Sincerely Zena & Zippy



Dear Zena,

How long does a female stay in heat?

Eric G. (USA)


Dear Eric,

Female dogs who are not spayed experience two cycles a year that are commonly referred to as heat cycles. First she enters the proestrus stage that lasts between 4-15 days during which time her vulva swells before releasing a clear, then bloody discharge. During the estrus stage, 4-8 days, the discharge stops and she starts accepting the advances of male un-neutered dogs. At this stage the ovulation begins.

Due to the overpopulation of dogs, it is important that all dog parents seriously consider spaying and neutering their dogs to avoid unwanted, unplanned pregnancies. Ethical responsible people committed to maintaining the true breed characteristics such as temperament, health, physical traits, and breed heritage, take dog breeding very seriously and ensure that all of their puppies are purchased prior to being born by people who meet the requirements of being good puppy parents.

By spaying and neutering your dog, you are more likely to have a longer living, healthier dog who makes a better, more enjoyable companion.

Sincerely Zena & Zippy



Dear Zena,

I'm currently living in Australia and planning to go to Canada for three weeks. My dog is a Staffy cross Lab/Boxer who is 20 weeks old. I am leaving him with a friend who owns two dogs.

My dog and I have a wonderful relationship, but I fear that when I get back that he will not remember me or may not want to leave the other dogs. Is this an unfounded fear?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Alicja (Canada)


Dear Alicja,

Dogs have an excellent memory that can certainly withstand the separation of three weeks. I am sure your little boy will remember you and greet you with as much enthusiasm as if you had left yesterday.

I have heard of dogs that appear to be angry with their parents when they are left for a period of time. When the parents pick up the dog he may give them the silent treatment for a while (half a day) and then everything returns to normal.

Staying with dog friends will be an excellent opportunity for your boy to socialize and learn new experiences. This will most likely lead to lifelong friendships for him.

So, come on over to Canada, enjoy your vacation, and try not to miss your baby too much. He will be delighted to see you and listen to all of your foreign tales when you return.

Sincerely Zena & Zippy



Dear Zena,

I have a 5 month old Retriever/Red Heeler mix. We have been crate training him and he stays "dry" in the crate all night and goes outside during the day but several times he has gone pee in a corner of our house. I have heard that you can't discipline a dog unless you catch them in the act. How do we train him to go pee outside?

Craig (Arkansas)


Dear Craig,

When our first Giant Schnauzer, Zulu was a puppy we noticed that she liked bumping her nose against a Christmas ornament that was hanging on the doorknob of the back door. Being a Christmas ornament, it had bells attached. We decided that this bell ringing could be used in a positive manner, so we encouraged her to ring the bell, and then we opened the door right away. She learned how to associate ringing the bell with having the door opened.

When we adopted our second Giant Schnauzer, Zippy, we noticed that even as a young puppy she learned very quickly that ringing the bell got the door opened. We now have a fancy goat bell hanging from the back doorknob. Even in the middle of the night, the bell is able to rouse us from our sleep so that the girls can go outside to relieve themselves.

The trick is to have your dog ring the bell and then immediately open the door so that the association is cemented. We have passed this idea along to a number of other dog parents with great success.

Hope that helps,

Sincerely Zena & Zippy


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