Weekly family column, with tips on cleaning with a dog around, a review of “The Karate Kid” and more.

Tip of the Week


Cleaning up after a dog is enough work in itself, so the last thing any owner wants is a pooch that is agitated by the sights and sounds of cleaning.


"Your attitude and approach to cleaning up after and around your pet is critical," says Cesar Millan, renowned dog behavior specialist and host of the Emmy-nominated series “Dog Whisperer.” "If you are stressed or frustrated when you pick up a cleaning tool, your dog can pick up on this negative energy and associate the cleaning tool with negativity. This can create instability and can result in problematic behaviors."


Millan offers his top tips to create a pet-friendly environment, from combating pet hair to preparing for a new puppy at home:


- If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a step back and recharge for five minutes before starting, and reconsider your cleaning tools. Tools that can do two things at once can make you more relaxed about the process - and dogs pick up on that.


- Cleaning introduces new smells into the environment, and a dog's sense of smell is its strongest sense. If your dog gets tense or upset when you clean, pay attention to the scents you are using. Try cleaning products that are available in a lavender and vanilla scent, which can be soothing to your dog.


- Focusing on efficiency and multi-tasking can make cleaning chores easier and more expedient. Supplies that accomplish more than one task can save time and avoid agitation, especially tools that handle all kinds of pet messes.


- When you first bring home a puppy, involve the entire family in the process. Even younger children can participate in the various responsibilities by making sure there is fresh water in the dog's bowl or accompanying a parent on the puppy's walks.


- ARA


Family Screening Room


“The Karate Kid”


Rated: PG (for bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language)


Length: 2:20


Synopsis: 12-year-old Dre Parker could've been the most popular kid in Detroit, but his mother's latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying - and the feeling is mutual - but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Even worse, Dre's feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. In the land of kung fu, Dre knows only a little karate, and Cheng puts "the karate kid" on the floor with ease. With no friends in a strange land, Dre has nowhere to turn but maintenance man Mr. Han, who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realizes that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life.


Violence/scary rating: 3


Sexual-content rating: 1.5


Profanity rating: 1


Drugs/alcohol rating: 1.5


Family Time rating: 2.5. This is a great family movie, but your kids (especially boys) probably will be practicing karate after they see this.


(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)


Book Report


“Harold and Purple Crayon 50th Anniversary Edition,” by Crockett Johnson


Ages: Infant to preschool


Pages: 64


Synopsis: One evening Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight. But there wasn't any moon, and Harold needed a moon for a walk in the moonlight. Fortunately, he had brought his purple crayon. So he drew a moon. He also needed something to walk on. So he drew a path. ... And thus begins one of the most imaginative and enchanting adventures in all of children's books. The creative concept behind this beloved story has intrigued children and kept them absorbed for generations, as page by page unfolds the dramatic and clever adventures of Harold and his purple crayon.


Did You Know


New research in England suggests that the rise in obesity in children is tied to moms having full-time jobs.


GateHouse News Service