We’re going to do some myth-busting today. Despite all the training we do, the fact that we compete in Obedience, Rally, and Agility with our dogs, the fact is that our dogs are just as annoying as anyone’s.
There, we said it.
Annoying as all get-out
And we’re not alone among dog trainers. One of the best trainers we know, a woman who has earned multiple Obedience Trial Champion titles, has a dog who walks on her dining room table. While she’s eating.
Let’s face it – dogs are annoying! No matter how well trained they are, no matter how much we love them – they get on our nerves sometimes.
It’s kind of like having kids. You always love them, but you don’t always like them too much.
Our dogs’ favorite trick is blocking doorways. We don’t have any herding-type dogs, so the obsessive need to always control our exits and entrances has no basis in instinct. It’s just annoying. And the worst part is that, just as you’re stepping over them, they stand up. Which rarely ends well. Either we lose our balance and crash into something (like a doorframe), or we kick the dog. The whole “love them” part usually takes over and we crash rather than kick.
When we start wearing shorts in warmer weather it’s completely normal to have “bruise inventory.”
“Oh, that’s a nice one! Purple and green! How’d you get that one?”
“I have no idea.”
“Does it hurt?”
Pokes bruise. “Yes. Yes, it does. How’s yours from the other day?”
“Yellow now! Healing nicely!”
How much do you care?
Could we change the behavior and train them not to lie in doorways? Probably. Our dogs are certainly used to learning new stuff and love the training games we play.
Will we do it? Probably not. Because, just like every dog owner, our dogs are trained to our level of comfort. The things that are most important get trained. The things that are just mild annoyances, we don’t bother with.
We’ve all heard the advice to “pick your battles.” And that’s exactly what we do. We don’t have any wide, open spaces in our house. So, wherever the dogs are, they’re in the way. When we first bring a puppy home, everyone adopts the “puppy shuffle” way of walking – not lifting our feet so we don’t kick the puppy. There’s just nowhere else to go.
Annoying but cute
Other “naughty” behaviors fall into the “annoying but cute” category, so we wind up laughing rather than getting upset or “un-training” it.
Like Hope’s Torque thinking he has to sample any beverage, preferably adult, that Hope sets down on her side table. After the vet assured her that a few licks wouldn’t do any damage, Hope has just taught him to back off when she says “That’s all!” He thinks he’s getting away with something and, in all honesty, we do find it amusing. We’ve also switched to glasses with wider bottoms so his efforts don’t tip them over.
Fran’s little Boston Terrier Simon loves to eat stuff in the yard. It made Fran a little crazy, until she noticed that he was specifically targeting dandelions, which are actually pretty good for him. We don’t allow any chemicals in the yard, no fertilizer, weed killer, or pesticide, so we know he’s eating organic dandelions. And, like all our dogs, Simon’s learned that he gets what he wants when we get what we want. As long as he comes when called, he’s allowed to “graze” on his favorite dandelion treat.
What annoying things do your dogs do? And how often do those things make you laugh? Let us know!