Managing the Unmanageable

Having a house pet, there are only a few things that keeps the pup from going totally insane. In order of appearance, here’s the dog’s “Nutty Scale”:

  • Sleep
  • Eat
  • Putz around with a toy
  • Play with another animal
  • Poop and mark
  • The window
  • A door

Let’s concentrate on the last one.

The Really Great Outdoors

If it weren’t for that one area of the house, dogs would be like that guy on “Lost” who lived underground, never venturing outside because of fear. Unlike that fellow, whenever there’s any action at the door, the pup is at the ready to meet, greet and split to get a whiff of the thousands of odors the animal can detect. The tail doesn’t start splashing back-and-forth because it’s happy to see you.

It’s wagging at warp speed because that appendage is a strong barometer of how excited the mutt has become.

Lesson Time

We could cop-out and simply tell you to enroll your best friend in a dog obedience course. As a matter of fact, wait for our thriller ending to this piece. You can handle this with patience, love, understanding and, of course, treats and praise.

Throughout the millennia, as we converted wolves to be faithful companions, we forgot to install a “Manners Chip.” Likewise, as humans evolved, we failed to figure-out that sending mixed signals can really mess-up a good thing.

So when someone comes to the door, the pup shifts into hyper drive. Our response: Lavish praise, a little rough-housing, some scratching and the words, “Jump down.”

Think about it for a second. Does that make any sense? On one hand we’re showing the love while at the same time we’re commanding the poor animal to do something that – frankly – does not compute.

Pretty much the same with human kids. If you reinforce bad behavior with a trip to Baskin-Robbins for a banana split, the child is going to end up in a mental ward.

Sit!

One little word can mean so much. As you pass the window, don’t get your dog all riled-up with waves and words like “Mommy’s home!” Ignore the impulse to telegraph your entrance.

As you open the front door, before you do anything, train the pup to sit. They’ll resist at first, but this is where a little treat comes in handy. Once they’ve come to rest, show a little love. If they pop-up into your face or belly or parts we need not discuss, repeat the magic word.

“Sit!”

It’s Not Just All about You

Unless you’re some total off-the-grid, doomsday prepper who has enough MREs to keep his family hidden for decades, occasionally people will drop by your flat to pay a visit. Your job is to see them coming before the mutt.

That’s your cue to grab the leash, attaching it to the collar of your pal. As the two of you go to the door, use the magic word. Once the canine obeys, let your friend come in for a nice MRE of Chipped Beef on Toast.

The New Dart

Then there’s the dog that can’t wait for the entrance to be opened just a crack. Their nozzle wedges between the frame and the door. And they’re off.

You’re faced with a couple of opportunities here:

  • Leash the animal before you open any door that leads to the outside.
  • Teach the pup that it must get permission before leaving the house.

The first one is pretty self-explanatory. The second requires creating a stronger bond with the dog. A bond that tells the mutt you are number one. To do that, be the dog. Go for long walks. When the pet makes eye contact with you, praise and scratch it. Surprise the little cutie with a toy every-so-often.

That way your best friend will always be in anticipation that something wonderful could happen at a moment’s notice.

All Well and Good

Think of this advice as a starter kit. But here’s the killer ending you’ve been waiting for: We would strongly suggest enrolling your new pup or your old friend into a dog obedience class and getting him some dog training supplies. Don’t worry; it will not change their personality. It will, though, help them better understand yours.

 
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