The idea for this post has been floating around in my head for a while now. My ideas starting bubbling to the surface soon after adopting my new dog Beck this past March. In the past 6 months Beck has done a lot of horrifying really bad, things, that have added quite a bit of stress to my life. Here is the short list of his naughties in no particular bad dog order.
-Chased a bike off leash and bikes and motorcycles while on leash
-Pushed his way out the storm door and bolted
-Once loose Beck likes to run in wide circles, as fast as the dickens
-Lunged at kids getting in my car
-Snarky leash greetings to other dogs/reactive
-Nearly dislocated my rotor cuff on leash going after damn squirrels
-Big time award winning fence jumper
-Guarded my bedroom from my other dog
-Crazy barking when anyone or anything walks or drives down the street
-Spins in super fast circles to the left on his way out the back door
We rescue folks tell people, a dog’s true personality comes out over time. A new dog’s early behavior is often referred to as the honey period and to be honest, I am still in the honeymoon period with my new dog. He is totally sweet, super smart and athletic, and we love him to pieces, but he is also more than a little tweaked in the head. Actually one of the reasons Beck was my first failed foster in over 13 years of rescue, was that I glimpsed his looney tunes while he was in foster care with me. In my gut I knew that Beck would be returned if he was lucky. Most likely I thought that in a pet home without proper training and a few jobs to do, Beck would end up miserable or maybe even dead.
I don’t think there are any dog lovers who haven’t at one time or another been put off by something their dog did and exclaimed to the nearest person “my dog never did that before!”
Our dogs are indeed dogs and they will do things that dogs do. It should not be shocking when they do indeed act like dogs because hello…they are dogs!
Cheer up, we are not alone!
-Jake ran up to a perfect stranger on the beach and rammed his head in the guy’s crotch to say hello.
-Lila stole a diaper out of the diaper pail and brought it to the dining room during a dinner party….and then she rolled in it.
-Grace ate a 2 day old couch.
-Sola ate a leather chair and matching ottoman to the tune of 3K.
-Gooba ate a parakeet.
-Tiger dug holes in the underside of his owner’s king side bed to hide his bones. His owner found out when she fell through clear to the floor.
-Prudence thought the bathmat in the bathroom was her personal potty area.
-Cael stole his kid’s lovey stuffed bear and buried it in the yard after eating it’s eyes and ears. I think that child is still crying.
-Mousie’s owner thought her dog was hemoraging when she returned to the car to find her Sheltie face all red. Turned out the red coloring was all that was left of the cherry pie that Mousie ate straight of the grocery bag.
-Dina and Rollo once took all the cobalt glass balls off a Christmas tree and had a merry ol game of fetch and keep away while home alone. They shat shiny blue for 3 days. This is the same duo who achieved neighborhood infamy when they left the park and chased the priest’s cat through church during services.
By posting a few real life bad dog tales, I hope to drive home my point of this post which is that we can expect our dogs to do things that we humans would never do, but what we do after their misadventure, or bad behavior , is what shapes our dog’s future.
Many of the things mentioned in this post are what is known as self rewarding behaviors. When dogs have access to do what we consider bad things, it is hard to stop it. Management, management, management people!
Dogs need to learn to fit in our world, and it is our job to help them figure it all out. I don’t have much of a history on my new dog Beck except that he was in a shelter for about 8 months and adopted by me at about 1 1/2 years old. What happened in his past really does not matter in terms of training. In training, we deal with the now, the same as dogs live their lives.
What is important is not to let the dogs START or continue to practice unwanted behaviors because they will only get really really good at them.
If you never thought of it quite like that before, take a second to think that concept over.
Basically, training unwanted behaviors away takes time. You need to give dogs something else to do instead of just telling them NO! It takes a heck of a lot more effort than just interrupting a bad behavior. You need a lot of management to. Stop letting your dog practise.
The concept is simple, carrying it out – – – not so much. Dog training is 24/7. Our dogs are always learning, and we need to be careful what we are teaching them.
Here are a few simple solutions to age old dog issues. Dog is fence running? Walk them on leash and teach a reliable recall. Dog steals food? Don’t leave food where your dog can get it. Dog is pottying somewhere you don’t want? Rule out a medical issues and monitor your dog closer. Dog is eating your house? Don’t allow your dog access to the house unattended. If dog is anxious then you need to address your dog’s anxiety.
Please don’t hesitate to call a trainer. All dog issues can be solved using science based positive methods. What are you waiting for?
Got a good bad dog story to share? Please post them in the comment section.