Marc gives tips on buying cat toys, preparing for a new puppy, and training a hyper dog.

I made a scratching post for my cat Lucy two years ago, but recently the sisal rope wore out. Since I've replaced the rope, she doesn't seem to like it. I used the same size, brand, and type as the old rope. Any suggestions?

There are two things you might try to get your cat interested again: dust the rope with catnip, or crumble up freeze-dried liver treats for dogs and rub the crumbs into the rope.

Our new puppy keeps biting us. We've tried yelping, making noises, even leaving the room, but nothing works. How can we keep him from biting us?

When puppies play together, their favorite game is to nip each other. Since there are no other puppies to play with, he wants to play this way with you. While you can't stop him from play biting, you can redirect the behavior from your hands to his toys. If the behavior is persistent, keep in mind he'll grow out of it within six months or so.

I'm moving into a new house after 15 years and I don't want my cats to freak out or go to the bathroom on my new carpet. How do I get them used to the new house?

The best plan is to select a spare bedroom and put a couple of litter boxes inside, along with the cats' feeding station. Place their beds in the room, along with anything else that may have a familiar odor. Keep the cats confined to the room for two weeks or until everything calms down, and then slowly -- one room at a time -- give them free run of the house.

We own a domestic cat named Romeo who likes to eat bananas, apples, and tomatoes. Is it okay to give him these things? How much is too much?

Cats are carnivores and can't subsist on a vegetarian diet. Some cats don't seem to realize this and enjoy the occasional serving of fruit. This is fine as long as fruit or vegetables are only treats and not more than 25 percent of their diet.

My brother and I are getting new basset hound puppies in a few weeks. What should we buy in order to get ready for their arrival?

Before you do anything, make sure you have the name of a good vet. After that's taken care of, you'll want a training crate, collars, leashes, toys, ceramic food and water dishes, and some stain and odor remover (such as Petastic) for those inevitable accidents.

Our Yorkshire terrier, Marley, is about a year old and very hyper. We'd like to take him outside without a leash, but he just darts off and barks at everything. What should we do?

All of my own dogs can walk next to me without a leash because I've taught them that doing so is to their advantage by using positive reinforcement and food rewards. If that doesn't work, you might consider working with a trainer who believes in positive reinforcement. With the right tutelage, your dog will learn to heel and come when called. Until then, don't take unnecessary risks and keep your dog on a leash.

Comments (2)

Martha Stewart Member
February 8, 2013
ok my dog pee on thing i clean evey thing but he gose back at night and peees on the same thing only at night he dose it he how to bark to go out but night no bark just peeee on evey thing
Martha Stewart Member
April 4, 2011
my kitten wants to eat all the time is there something wrong how much should i feed her