It isn't used with animals in general, but it is sometimes used with pets. It can even be applied to inanimate objects as a form of personification. Whether or not it is used with pets seems to vary both regionally and with regards to how the speaker feels about animals. Here are a couple of articles on the topic.
In most cases I can guess when an "a" is a personal a simply because the sentence makes little sense sticking a "to" there. However, this is one of those cases where my natural tendency to try "to" got a sentence that made sense. "You lost to your dog?" Naturally Duo marked me wrong, but at least it was a hilarious question.
Spanish is my mother tongue and I would NEVER use an "a" in that sentence. "Usted perdió su perro" is perfectly fine. I would use the "a", maybe, when the loss has an emotional meaning: "perdió a su madre en un accidente" (meaning she died). In the same way, if a person "perdió a su perro" I would totally understand that the dog is dead.
"have you lost your dog" seems to be equivalent, howver I know that "have you lost your dog" could be expressed by haber and past participle so I am wondering if duolingo won;t accept "have ...." for that reason. Can anyone help with the haber + pp form? I think it would be Usted ha perdido su perro"
The drop-down list says "perdió" means "lost", and since "Did you lost your dog?" is incorrect English, I put "Have you lost your dog?". I am sure there are multiple ways of saying this sentence in both Spanish and English. I'm with you on wondering why Duo won't accept this sentence, and what other ways it could be said in Spanish.
Your "present perfect" tense is correct paul -t but that is the point: it is a different tense from the one given and it is NOT equivalent in English or Spanish. We don't say "lost you your dog?" In English these days! Form the question thus: "did you lose your dog?" Also use did for negation : " I did not lose..."
Both are correct. I don't think I use the formal "you" any more than once every year or two (I'm from Uruguay)... in other regions like Colombia you can see the use of "usted" even between family members, say son and mother for example. So, it would depend on regionalisms, as a rule if you visit a Spanish speaking country you should just imitate the use of locals.
"¿Usted perdió a su perro?" is preterirte or simple past tense which would be "Did you lose your dog?" in English. "Have you lost your dog?" is perfect past, which would be "¿Han perdido a su perro?" in Spanish. While they mean essentially the same thing, Duo marked you wrong because it is trying to teach preterirte tense in this lesson, not perfect past.
I take it you are not a native English speaker vr8? You are correct "lose" is present tense on its own but you ignore the auxiliary verb "did". This is the past tense of " do" and plays same role in the past as 'do' in the present. It is correct to say for example "I did lose my dog" as well as "I lost my dog" in some circumstances, eg for emphasis. But see my post above for how it is used for questions.
If you get the english sentence "you lost your dog", you can perfectly translate it for "tú". The only things to keep in mind is that "tú" (pers pron) has an accent and of course you have to use a different conjugation than with "su".
"TÚ perdiste TU perro" is correct. Then in Uruguay and Argentina (among others) we would actually say "Vos perdiste tu perro". In common use though, we would simply omit the personal pronoun and say "perdiste tu perro" which makes it a lot easier I think.
Unfortunately, that's not accurate English. The difference between 'lose' and 'lost' is quite tricky. 'Lost' is a past participle and also an adjective. Clearly, in this sentence it isn't being used as an adjective.
So, if it is used as past participle, it has to be used with an auxiliary verb - so we could say ""Have you lost your dog?". And 'lost' tells us that it is an action in the past.
Another form could be " Did you lose your dog" where the auxiliary verb moves to the past tense to tell us that the action happened in the past, since 'lose' on its own does not carry that meaning.