Charlie Bear here with another Post on Sharing My Story:
This is Part 2 of 2 on what you, my loyal readers, wanted to hear about: Tips on how to love a difficult dog. We went over some of it in Part 1 (Remembering, Loving). Let’s do a bit more. Mom Peep learned lots of things about adapting to a rescue dog (aka the difficult dog that I was back then . . . and still can be).
Like this one:
Training puts boxes around good behavior. I can have more of those light bulbs moments of: “So that’s what she wants me to do…” when I know what good behavior is. Seriously, some of us dogs just don’t know!
When I do it right, and receive praise I feel fantastic. If I piddle outside like I should? Give me a small treat and praise me. If I keep quiet and don’t bark when I see another dog? If I play nice with the kids or I stay calm in the house? If you come home and I haven’t chewed up anything? Give me a treat/praise. Pretty soon you won’t have to give me a treat all the time. I’ll get it. But don’t stop with the praise.
And please . . . don’t scold or yell or hit me with anything. That doesn’t help one bit. Know why? Because whatever I did was probably eons ago in my dog memory and by the time you scold me for it I’m long past it and don’t remember what you are scolding me for. Praise is what motivates me.
Folks often do the blame game. They blame the dog for all of the unruly behavior when it really wasn’t the intent at all to cause disruption in the house. Sometimes it’s all we know. It helps if you look at yourself as our caretaker. Protect us from others and from ourselves. How? Don’t let us roam the house if we haven’t relieved ourselves outside.
You remember the story about Dad Peep going back to bed on a Sunday morning? He called out to me, I ran up the steps, found his big hunk under the covers so I jumped up, pounced on him, he laughed and I liked it. Then I got so excited that I peed, right there in the middle of the comforter on the bed. Not good.
But what Mom and Dad Peep learned is that I should have had the chance to totally relieve myself before coming up on the bed, and I was too young to be trusted to hold it when excited.
Keep your dog out of situations that could escalate, like when the young baby comes around. Babies screech. Seriously. They scream and shriek. It hurts my eardrums, and another thing, some dogs consider shrieking noises as prey. Keep me away from small children until you know I’ll be okay.
Also, I just want to say for almost all dogs out there: we don’t mean to do it. We don’t mean to piddle where we shouldn’t, or nip your hand when you put out a treat (place it on your open palm instead of your fingertips). Our tendency is to chomp until we are trained not to. We really want to be good boys and girls. We try.
Going back to how Mom Peep ended Part 1 of 2 (this goes a long way in loving a difficult dog):
Tell us how YOU manage to love your difficult dog!
Woofs and wiggles,
Charlie Bear and Mom Peep