Dear Matthew: I have created a problem that I hope you can help me with. We recently bought a 4-week-old Weimaraner to replace our Lab who had just died - that's why we got the puppy so early; we were heartbroken.

I purchased a large crate and placed the puppy's bed in it. Naturally, he wet in the area that was empty, so I put newspaper down. From then on, he piddled on the paper.Then I started to read info on crate training, and everything said not to do that. So, I bought a divider for the crate, placed it so there was only room for his bed and, you guessed it , he piddled in his bed.

He does great when he's out of the crate and will either go to the door or just give us a look. How can we stop him from going potty in the crate. He is now 10 weeks old. Please HELP!!!!!!!!!

- Mary in Big Prairie, Ohio

Dear Mary: I hate to say it, but you really did make a bunch of mistakes! First of all, you brought your puppy home too young. You should have waited until he was at least 7 weeks old.

Also, it sounds like you're trying to both paper train and housebreak your puppy, when you should only choose one (and since Weimaraners are large dogs, paper training is impractical).

At this point, what can you do to solve your problems? First of all, thoroughly clean your puppy's living area with a odor neutralizer so he doesn't feel inclined to use the same spot again. Next, make sure you take your puppy out to relieve himself frequently. Also, don't give your puppy anything to drink right before he goes to bed at night.

It's going to be hard to housebreak your dog at this point, and it'll require a great deal of patience. But if you learn from your mistakes and keeping working with the puppy, you'll pull through. I suggest you enroll in a training program, and give it your best shot.

Dear Matthew: We have three kittens. Their mother disappeared before they were weaned, and two of them began sucking on the other kitten's (Ozzy) ear.

They are older now, and they continue to do this. They have sucked all the hair off completely! How can we get them to stop?

- Ozzy's Momma in Utah

Dear Ozzy's Momma: It sounds like you're going to have to crack down on these kitties before they suck Ozzy's ear off. They may have gotten into this habit because of their mom's absence, or it could be because they're teething. Either way, buy a squirt gun, and whenever you see the kittens munching away, give them a quick squirt with the gun. Keep this up, and it may make the miscreants think twice before they open their mouths.

You might even want to separate Ozzy from the other two for a little while to let him heal. Also, buy some kitty chew toys for the kittens, so they'll have something else to suck on. One option that often works is to dampen a washcloth and let them play with that.

Finally, consult with a vet to make sure Ozzy's ear isn't going to get infected.

Dear Matthew: I currently have two dogs, a Siberian Husky (Cody) and a German Shepherd (Bailey). With some help from our vet, we have determined that Cody has separation anxiety from me, and we've started to regain control of that situation. But now Bailey is acting very destructive. He is very close to my husband, and we thought he might be angry when my husband leaves for work or errands, etc.

Unfortunately, he is tearing the sectional couch to pieces - literally unzipping cushions and pulling the stuffing out and into shreds. This is now occurring when I leave, as well.

Cody is almost 22 months old, and Bailey is almost 18 months old. Is there anything that you could suggest for us to do? The vet has possibly suggested neutering Bailey because he is naturally overexcited. Would this be something you suggest, as well? If it's not necessary, I don't want to go that route. I just don't know what to do with him.

I also should let you know that I am 81/2 months pregnant, and I'm wondering if that could be contributing, as well. Could he sense the baby and be jealous? Anything you could suggest would be of great appreciation. Thank you in advance for your time.

- Angela in Joliet, Ill.

Dear Angela: Yes, you should definitely get Bailey neutered! Unless your planning on making a profession of dog-breeding, there's no reason not to. Your dog will be healthier, happier and better behaved.

As for his destructiveness, I have the feeling the real problem is that between the coming baby and Cody, you aren't giving enough attention to Bailey. It's not that he's angry with you, your husband or the baby, it's just that he isn't getting enough exercise and interaction, and he is relieving his pent-up energy on your precious couch.