Bad Dog Owner!

Last week, I did something that made me feel like the worst dog owner ever. Ok, well, maybe not the worst, but you know what I mean…

On Friday night, my best friend and I took the ponies for a trail ride off the farm. I frequently take Herbie trail riding with me and she’s great around the horses. She doesn’t chase them and she doesn’t stray far. If we ride on the farm or somewhere off-leash friendly, Herbie comes along. Unfortunately, this particular ride meant lots of road crossings and, while I trust Herbie, I don’t trust traffic. So I locked Herbie up in the convenient kennel/run/dog house combo that’s conveniently next to my barn. It was a sunny day with temps in the 70′s. She had fresh water and we would only be gone an hour.

Herbie pranced happily into the kennel when I told her ‘go to your den’. As I shut the door, I noticed a few chickens hanging out at the back of the run. I shrugged and let them be. They looked happy and Herbie doesn’t bother with farm birds. I told her to stay and be good and we rode away.

An hour later we returned and I was horrified to see a dead chicken laying in a heap in the corner of the dog run. Herbie was standing over it with a mouth full of feathers. Mortified, I jumped off my horse and yelled, “NO!!! Herbie! What did you DO?!?!” only to realize…

…it wasn’t a dead chicken at all. The chickens are molting and there was a pile of feathers in the corner and my good girl was simply keeping herself occupied by quietly mouthing the feathers.

I felt bad immediately. Herbie had laid flat, widened her eyes, and licked her lips. Poor thing had no idea what she did wrong. As soon as I saw what was going on I got my super-happy voice on and cheered, “Nothing! You didn’t do anything! Good girl!” and Herbie jumped up, a happy ball of wiggles.

I felt like a jerk for the rest of the day. Poor Herbie was probably sitting there going, “Mom’s gonna be so proud. I’m just sitting here being a good dog. I didn’t even bark when the horses came up the driveway. She’s going to be so… OMG why are you yelling?!?!”

So spill… have you ever yelled at your dog only to find out it really wasn’t what it looked like?

9 thoughts on “Bad Dog Owner!

  1. When I lived in Houston, I was in my first-ever super crappy apartment. I lived with my fiancee, my little dog Cozmo, and we had four ferrets.

    The apartment was one bedroom, and I would usually leave the ferrets with run of the living room and all was well. There were baby gates to keep the ferrets out of the kitchen and bathroom.

    I found my dog in the kitchen scratching and pawing at the cabinets, and the baby gate had been knocked down. And he’d done quite a number to the wood. I was… really pissed off about it, because now I was going to have to pay for it.

    So I yelled at him, cleaned up the wood chips and reset the gate. An hour or so later, I heard him knock it down again, and he was scratching the cabinets! I was like WTF DOG ?!

    At this point, I realized I was short… one ferret. After a hurried search around the apartment…. I put two and two together.

    Said ferret had crawled under the cabinet and got stuck. She was in between the floor and the base of the cabinet and couldn’t figure it out. My dog apparently heard her scratching and was trying to get to her.

    Then I felt bad. My poor ferret was stuck because I neglected to do a head-count, and my poor dog had found her and I yelled at him for it. :(

    I then saved the ferret, fixed the cabinets, and did a better job ferret-proofing the house.

    And the dog got some cookies.

  2. Um, I did it last night.

    There were freshly baked oatmeal cookies cooling on my kitchen table. Because of a past instance involving Beatrix and a turkey sandwich, I’m hesitant to tempt her with unattended human food. So, I kept an ear and eye out while I was watering plants in the next room.

    I turned my back just for a second and sharply spun around at a noise coming from the kitchen. I see Beatrix with what I think is her nose in the plate of cookies and belt out a “NOOOOOO!” as I rushed into the kitchen. Then I see her in the middle of scratching her ear… and I instantly feel terrible as she came over to my feet, ears back, eyes looking so pitiful and “I’m so sorry, Mom! Whatever I did I am SORRY!”

    Just a perspective trick! I felt bad the rest of the night and she got lots of extra cuddles!

  3. Poor Herbie! I’ve done it too, especially recently with Roscoe. Can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but I’ve gotten after him for absolutely nothing thinking he was getting into or creating trouble. I get after the cats about it, too. Always makes me feel horrible.

  4. Poor Herbie! We’ve all probably done it, especially if we have one that’s often naughty, but not all the time. They can look guilty even if they haven’t done anything wrong. I’m sure Herbie will recover and forgive you!

  5. I don’t mean to preach, this is subject very dear and near to my heart.

    1st,Let me state that you are great people for loving your pets enough to write about their cute stories.
    2nd, I am not judging you, I AM trying to HELP you.
    3rd, I LOVED MY German Shepherd puppy FROM HELL enough to QUIT my career to become a dog trainer. Best thing I ever did! I am not suggesting you should. You don’t have to. Below I begin with the reason I chose to.

    You must be thinking I was nuts!! Right? SHE DID WHAT?! QUIT WHAT?!

    Yes I WAS! Nuts about my pup and nuts enough to get one in the first place!!! You see, thought they knew English!! There is more to this story after I finish telling you why this so important to me to take the time to write about it in this blog.

    Beloved Dog Owners,
    IF you DON”T catch the dog in the act, whatever happened, the dog should NOT be corrected.

    A dog’s memory span is about a 13 seconds (please indulge me, count it… it is pretty long, right? Correcting them or Yelling at them after the fact only confuses them, they don’t KNOW what they did wrong???!!!!!. Plus they only understand single commands or corrections.

    When a human tells a dog:

    “Spotty!!!! WTF did you do?!!! ”

    The dog hears this:

    “Spotty!!!! BLAH, BLAH,BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH?!!!, hmm ok? got the Spotty part, WTF is the rest? That’s what that bug eye look means

    Funny right? I love it. Now, add to that, overcompensating the dog much later with treats! OMG! that poor thing has no idea what is going on:

    In the dog’s head: “This woofing great! treats, treats, treats for doing nothing, wooopiee, I don’t have to work anymore!…..and you just lost a very effective training tool.

    So the reality of it is, if your dog goes potty in the house while you are elsewhere, YEAP your fault….. Clean up, move on and pay more attention to its needs. Same thing goes for destructive behavior.

    Untrained + no crate + roaming in a big space = TIC TOC, TIC, TOC,…. BOOOM!

    NOT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE ABOVE (plus not realizing how much it costs to have a dog) IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON DOG ARE SURRENDERED.

    Don’t want to crate? Want your house intact when you return? Here are your viable options: you need a statue, a plush version of a dog, lobotomize it. NOOO!!! DON’T DO THAT!!! it is CRUELTY!!!!! PLEASE don’t get a dog!!!!

    HAVE one already? NO crate? NO time to train it properly? CAN’T pay for day care? You read this far? DO I have to tell you?

    I AM SORRY BUT YOU ARE NOT READY FOR A DOG!!!. I beg you find someone who will, please!! Hurry!!!! You re being a bad parent.

    In a run,or crate, with something you don’t want destroyed = HELP YOURSELF.
    YEAP! Your fault again.

    Don’t ever assume your dog rationalizes things or actions, they simply don’t. JUNK IN, JUNK OUT plain old simple. They are 2 dimensional in away. Most dogs have pray drive, even if they are mixed, domestic breeds were created to perform jobs. Yeah, dogs needs to work, as payment they are happy with good, food, clean, water, lots of walks, love. Understand the breed behind that cutie before you bring it home, super important. If you are couch potato and get a Border Collie, oil and vinegar. You are active and want to play Frisbee with him DON’T get a big dog you’ll ruin its shoulder and hips, the landing in hard! Get a medium size dog with pray drive.

    Crating is a very important part of conditioning and training a dog. It is NOT cruel, it is responsible and kind of its owner for helping him stay out of trouble and giving him his own room to keep his toys in :} I always crate young or old and even after they are very well behaved and are allowed to roam the house, they go into the crates for naps, chew toys or sleep overnight. Then again, crating should never be used as punishment or time out, they will learn to fear it and develop anxiety. Structure and pecking order is key to a happy dog, if the owner is not the Alpha, then he does not respect you.He needs YOUR LEADERSHIP. And they are not TOYS you put on shelf when you get tired of then. A couple of examples of innocent mistakes people do as it relates to hierarchy.

    Let the dog on the bed or sofa, or ride in the front seat of the car or jump on you while standing. The dog is establishing its alpha position “literally ” over the owner. The owner’s head must always be physically higher than the dog’s. So to all well intended, loving dog lovers out there, sorry you are getting a great deal of disrespect from your dog. Why should the dog listen to you? The dog thinks: HEY I am alpha here, I am too busy doing what I want now, OK? woof-off?

    My 9 year old nephew asked me today: why do people say pit bulls are dangerous and are afraid of them? He is trying to put 2&2 together. I responded “All dogs are good, people make them dangerous, either on purpose or by accident.By not taking the time to take them to school and learn how to be a good doggies, like your mommy does with you and you are a very good boy. He responded, hmmmm. Even an 9 year old understands the fact in order to be good, you must be taught HOW to be good!

    Thank you for reading and considering crating and training.
    My Story follows if you are not asleep or tired of me already!

    You must be thinking I was nuts!! Right? Yes I was! Nuts about my pup and nuts enough to get one in the first place!!! You see,I thought they knew English!!

    SO! I bring the dog home on my lap, they guy said “owner must take dog on lap for bonding”. Alrighty then! Mom you drive. Got her home at 7 weeks old, “AWWW CUTE little doggy!” OK, so far so good, “There NOTHING to this!”
    Got to go to the store…

    “OK, Sofia? Now, act like a nice little good doggy OK? I will be right back, mommy LOVES you, bye.”

    Open door, “hmm? Smells funny in here” OMG!!!!! Everywhere RIVERS of Pee and stinky Poop, GAG! HUH! I have to clean all this?! She would
    bite me when I tried to brush her (GS shed like crazy, great match for OCD, NOT!). Wouldn’t DO what I TOLD her!! She would excessively bark at cars when I walked her!! Forget about squirrels or cats, anything that moved pledged to be her enemy for life!!? “WHAT!!!? OH, what is WRONG with this dog!?!! WHERE is the manual??????? Oh No! what did get myself into???” Panic strikes as I FLASH into the future. What can I do? She won’t LISTEN!! She doesn’t LIKE me!!”

    Unfortunately, that was me then, not you, me! Completely inexperienced with a WORKING class dog in my neat pretty house! The kicker is that I actually researched breeds for three months. On paper she was the right dog for me!!!! I lived alone and wanted a well rounded dog, easy to train that would “protect me” but I thought she came with a CD Driver already loaded! I got this, I thought! Piece of cake, she is going to be great. Actually, a year and thousands in tuition equipment, food and training later, she WAS. (oh, yeah, the school requires I FIND 5 dogs, keep them in crates in my room, plus train client dogs, the most fun and exhausting year of my life)

    I confess, I am a bit of a extremist because once I started puppy training ($400/3 months), the trainer asked me what I wanted from the Dog? What does that mean? Do you want o compete or do you want a companion?

    I looked in the distance and I noticed someone heeling a perfect dog.
    (Me) That is what I want! THAT!
    (Trainer) That’s Schutzhund”
    (Me) HUH? SAY WHAT??!!
    (Trainer): It’s a sport, It means “protection dog” (perfect ;) yup!) in German. It focuses in developing and evaluating traits that make for a better companion (Yeepy!) It’s 3 parts Advanced Obedience (bug yes), Tracking (dumb look), PROTECTION, (bigger bug eyes), Blah, Blah, leading to Levels of Achievement, obtained through judged COMPETITIONS (eyes out of my head)…BLAH BLAH, It judges the trainer’s ability and the dog’s performance, POLICE dogs are trained this way ( AWESOME! Me! Me! , Pick me!)
    (Me) Yeah, I want one of THOSE!!!

    Yeah, I fell for it. NAIVE!!!!

    I used to be in sales, so competition was my thing!!!” WOW! NOW we’re TALKING! OK, without another though, I am in!!!!! I started right away. Now we’re having fun and we were getting along, well better than before, I understood her better, but it took me, three months to figure out that “I” was the knuckle head!

    (Me: In the truck 6 am going to set tracks, talking to myself) Why won’t she do what I want?? GRRRR (deep thought look) That it’s it!!!!! Repetition, Consistency and Structure gets results!!!! DAH!

    I literally hit my self in the head! How did I not see this? because I was looking at it from a human’s point of view. I was being Anthropomorphic, applying human traits to an animal. Everybody does this. That was the day I became a Trainer. We graduated with 93. She got her first Schutzhund level, The puppy from hell was really from Heaven because she completely changed my life…..And We Lived Happily Ever After.

    Having a dog is a big responsibility, it requires 100% commitment. You are responsible for them as if they were your baby, they need you for everything, for as long as they live, they NEED US for every life sustainable function. THEY NEED ATTENTION!!! It’s time consuming, frustrating at times, without that they die. Also, the money thing, things have changed with introduction of insurance, Vets are are more expensive now!

    Sofia passed away on 10/6/2012 at 13, had a great life and the best of everything, no major health issues, died of old age. Audrey, Mini Schnauzer, my DIVA, was a great adorable amazing dog. EVERYONE that came in her path loved her and she loved them back, BOOM right there. 8 months ago, a mistral valve prolapse was detected, went on meds $200/month. August, she started to decline, operation, $2000, 8/26, 2 months later she is healthy again, Vet is concerned over low blood sugar levels, surprised she hasn’t had convulsions, suggests exploratory surgery of her pancreas possible nodule could be the cause, $2800, 11/18/2015, post treatments,$800, declined again, Dec 5th, 2015, I fed her at 7:30am, she brings her toy, we play, 11:05 am she had a heart attack, took her last breath in my arms at the age of 11 years young.

    She now is with her sister, favorite toys and coat in heaven. I buried her withe help of her Aunt in her Back yard, God Bless her, my sister and her family, my mom loved them both dearly. They were part of my FAMILY They both were the air that I breathed, worst losses ever. And the PAIN you have to be prepared for the pain, it is deep and lingers on forever. I’ll never get over it, there was only One Sofia and One Audrey!!!! But they both changed my life for the better, for that I am forever in their debt. I owe them big time! I have never felt more lonely in my life, they both took my heart with them.

    God Bless you and your puppy, please take good care of them?

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