My first dog, Jackson (pictured below) left a lasting impression with virtually everyone who met him. The way he tackled a family friend while on the phone is still spoken about today, decades later. He accosted an eminent surgeon who was in the middle of an important phone conversation because Jackson felt that man, how can I put this delicately....would like to have his babies.
Wrecking my mum's new shoes - apparently, the only ones she could find in a particular shade of green - is another. The wrecking of said shoe is only part of the story, the fact the destruction was only spotted when the shoe went flying up in the air is quite another thing.
Our dogs do things that, over time, become part of their legend. But for the here and now, there are a few bad dog habits that we'd probably be happier about if they were not so prominent. Our guide outlines the more common habits that dog owners could quite happily live without.
Throughout my years of dog training, I saw my fair share of dogs doing everything their owners wished they didn't. Here are the top 5 most common I've encountered with some advice on how to stop them.
5. Nasty habits!
Yep. It's no surprise that owners find it discomforting when they observe what they often consider to be their little, human-covered-in-fur pal do something that would get an actual human ostracised by polite society and talked about in the tabloid papers.
When dogs remind us that they do not share our human values they have the capacity to break the illusion that, deep down, they're just like us. They're not. Not unless you know anybody who enjoys their dog....
- eating horse poop
- rolling in horse poop
- eating their own or other dog's poop
- rolling in their own or other dog's poop
- digging up rotting meat and wolfing it down like it's the most delicious thing they've ever tasted
- aggressively licking their own bum
- throwing up and then quickly trying to eat their own sick
Unless you know anyone who does enjoy their dog doing any of those things then we all know we're talking about disgusting stuff that dogs do that we really wished they wouldn't.
Now, despite the fact we've talked about some of the habits we don't like in our dogs, would it surprise you at all to learn that we're not perfect ourselves? Here are the 10 bad habits that dogs would change about their owners.
4. Dogs who fart (trump, parp, play the bottom trombone in the guffharmonic ochestra)
Now, this one could well have fitted in with the disgusting list we've already covered but, and I'm sure you'll agree, this one deserves its own category.
In the English language we have several words for it. Parping, pumping, trumping, farting, guffing...well, you get the point.
For many of us, our daily lives are punctuated with pooch parps.
Some of us are luckier than others in so much as a dog trump is a rare occurrence but then there are those among us who own breeds like Rottweilers and so the sound and smell of our dog's bottom symphony forms the tune and aroma of a normal day (naming no names at all...Mia, pictured below, who mastered the art of not even a flicker of recognition showing on her face after she's just done 'that').
Dog trumps are unpleasant at the best of times but they do sometimes save their 'best' efforts for mealtimes (ours) or when we have guests over.
We can manage our dogs, erm, 'output' with an appropriate diet but in my experience for dogs who like to fart the best we can hope for is that we can take down their nuclear level backside bombardment to a more tolerable standard of olfactory assault.
Is there a food that can have a dramatic impact on a gassy dog? There are a few solutions available here.
- Why is my dog farting so much?
- Switching dog food, when, why and how?
- Is fish good for dogs?
- A beginner's guide to raw dog food
- IBD in dogs - could your dog have irritable bowel syndrome?
3. Jumping up
Dogs jumping up, either at us or at our guests gets the number 3 position on our list of things we wished our dogs wouldn't do. Now here's the thing; sometimes I don't mind my dogs jumping up. If I'm in the right clothes and their feet aren't covered in mud it's quite an exhilarating way to be greeted.
It's a little insight into what it would be to be a global superstar when we get the sort of physically vigorous welcome more in keeping with the way a group of fans would react to meeting their boyband idols.
For dogs often do see us as their idols and they like to show us how much we mean to them by launching themselves head first at our face.
The problems with jumping up come when we're dressed in a suit ready to go to an important meeting or when we have visitors over who would rather not, or a not used to being greeted by a dog's head in the face and feet in the crotch.
This is a tricky one for those of us who don't mind the occasional bouncing welcome home. We all know that consistency is a key to good dog training. It's very hard for a dog to understand that sometimes it's OK to do something and at other times it's not.
So my plan is a simple one. I need to teach my dog that if I'm wearing after-shave then it means I have to be somewhere important (so don't bounce at me) but if not, it's totally fine to launch yourself at me as a way to express just how happy you are that I have successfully made it back home from whatever dangerous mission I have just returned from.
As you might expect, if you have a real problem with your dog jumping up, K9 Magazine is here to help:
2. Unwanted barking
Barking is something that most dogs do. Unfortunately, dogs sometimes have a tendency to be noisy when we don't want them to be. I've now lost count of the number of drinks I've spilt on myself having been frightened half to death by the thundering voice of a dog who had appeared to be contently sleeping behind me just seconds earlier.
There's nothing quite like the full decibel level of a Rottweiler's bark, literally right in your ear, when you were enjoying a serene cup of tea whilst reading a book. Normally the culprit is Christopher (pictured below).
Unwanted barking for a lot of owners is a much more serious issue than the occasional shock of a big boom in your ear from a normally quiet dog. Fortunately, we can help if you have a dog who's noise is a problem on a more regular basis:
1. Running away / failure to recall
Choosing the number 1 position on our list of unwanted dog behaviours wasn't hard.
It's the one about dogs who refuse to come back when we want/need them to.
This is by far the thing that owners would most like to change about their dog when we asked the question.
It's not necessary for us to go into too much detail about why this is a very annoying (and dangerous) habit, because it's not so much a habit as it is a piece of unwanted behaviour that we absolutely can do something about.
Fortunately, teaching a dog to come back when called first time, every time is a topic we've covered successfully and it's helped many, many dog owners to establish a bullet-proof recall.
Would you like to know the secret to training your dog to come back reliably, even when distracted?
Are there any undesirable habits your dog has that you'd really like to fix?
Tell us in the comments below. We read them all.