Ask Tom, the Dogcharmer: Tashmoo

This Yorkie needs some driving lessons.

Tashmoo the Yorkie loves to be underfoot while his owner is driving. —Isabel Engley

Dear Tom,

First of all — totally enjoyed your presentation in the Campgrounds in August, and have requested that they have you again next year.

We have a great little 2-year-old six-pound Yorkie born two summers ago over on Lake Tashmoo — hence his name, Tashmoo. We have only one problem with him, and hope you might have a suggestion. We love to take him everywhere we go in the car, but the only place he insists on sitting is under the driver’s feet, whether it’s my husband or myself driving! So when we go out we have to put him in a cage on the back seat. I hate to have to do this. We drive a large van, so there’s lots of room for him to sit anywhere in the car except under the driver’s feet. We’ve tried his blanket and his toys in the back — but no go. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Thank you,


Dear Isabel,

“We all have our want list!” That’s what I said to my kids and dogs over the years when I had to put my foot down in the event they wanted something that I found unacceptable. And in your case, Isabel, you CAN’T put your foot down because Tashmoo is literally underfoot! According to the pundits, the safest place for any dog in a car is in a crate.

  1. Having fulfilled my professional responsibility by saying the “crate safest” thing, I’d suggest a barrier of some sort from the back seat to the front. There are all sorts from gates to fitted blocking cloths. Instead of his regular toys, it’s time for “special toys.” Get three four- to six-inch sterilized hollow marrow bones from any pet supply store, and wedge a piece of any kind of meat in the middle of one, cheese in another, and peanut butter in the third. Without a pair of needlenose pliers to help him, Tashmoo will be unable to get the meat or cheese out, but he’ll probably work at it like crazy. The van’s back seat should be the only place he gets these special toys, or they will lose their “specialness.”

You may also need to create a block to make sure he can’t try coming forward by crawling under the seats. Give him a kiss for me when you tell him, “We all have our want list,” when you relegate him to the back seat with his very desirable new toys.

Good luck,

The Dogcharmer

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