My Dogs Are Perfect, I’m Not

Me Maya and Pierson

You may have some misconceptions about my dogs. I bet you think they are perfect and can do no wrong. That’s because most of what you see on my blog are photos of them doing cute or fun things or articles on training tips or health tips. I generally don’t tell you the bad stuff. Why is that? Two reasons. Firstly, my dogs bring me such an enormous joy that I don’t really think about their imperfections. Secondly, I’m a bit embarrassed that I don’t have my dogs completely well-trained. Well, today you are going to get to peek into the real Dawn, Maya, and Pierson.

For the most part, I think many of Maya and Pierson’s imperfections are my own fault. They are dogs and do some doggy things that many in society don’t think are appropriate. But it is up to me to try to work through and redirect their most annoying behaviors. And here they are:

Barking

Pierson barks at almost every little thing. Since he is mostly indoors and it doesn’t really bother anyone but those inside the house, his barking isn’t a big deal. In fact, we’ve gotten really good at tuning him out. But what about when he is outside? As a responsible dog owner, I should really be working with him more on not barking so much. Believe it or not, teaching him to bark on command helped a little with teaching him not to bark on command.

Jumping on People

Even after six years, Maya is really bad about trying to jump on people. I’ve trained her not to jump on me or my husband, but it has been difficult teaching her not to jump on others. She gets so excited that it is difficult to control her when she is in this state. I tend to blame her behavior on the fact that she is an excitable dog, but truthfully her behavior is my fault. When she was younger, I did not actively seek anyone to help me teach her not to jump on them. Sure, I took the opportunity when the chance arose, but there was no consistency. Lately, I’ve been trying to amend that.

Pull No More dog harness

This dog harness / leash helps reduce Maya’s ability to pull.

Walking on a Leash

This is by far my biggest downfall. I have done a number of posts about it and have been great about giving tips. But I haven’t been so good at following my own advice. When we go for a walk, I just want to walk. I don’t want to have to stop and correct. There are some days when I focus on the training, but I don’t follow through on every walk or even every other walk. I think I am only about 20% consistent. This has helped. Maya and Pierson are not as bad as they used to be. But if I would only be consistent, they could be much better.

I have genuinely tried the Gentle Leader on Maya. I followed their instructions and advice very consistently every day for a month. All to no avail. I should try again, but probably won’t.

Pierson Group Walk Photo

Look how much progress Pierson has made with his leash reactive behavior.

Leash Reactive Behavior

Now this one I have been fairly consistent with on with Pierson. And I am so proud of how far he has progressed. The part where I may fall short is when winter comes. We won’t see as many dogs on our walks when the weather gets cold.

Maya is leash reactive too, but in a different way. Where Pierson barks because he hates other dogs, Maya barks because she is excited about other dogs. She does very well in public settings, such as the recent Responsible Pet Owner’s Day event and the Mutt Mixer event. But on walks, she does not do so well. I’m not quite sure how to handle her behavior. The methods that have been doing wonders with Pierson are not working on her. The only things I have not tried out is hiring a professional dog trainer or using an electronic collar, and I don’t want to do either. I can’t afford the first one and I don’t want to resort to the second one.

So there you have it. Maya and Pierson are not perfect because I am not perfect at training them. I think I’ve done a pretty darned good job with what I have done. And I believe they are mostly very good dogs. But I have fallen short on being consistent. It is my fault they are not perfect by society standards. But they are perfect to me. And I love them just the way they are, barking, pulling, jumping, and all (although it would be nice if I would train them to stop doing those things).

Do you have any shortcomings when it comes to training your dog? Come on, admit it. I won’t tell on you if you don’t tell on me. ;)

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17 Responses to “My Dogs Are Perfect, I’m Not”

  1. Kuruk Says:

    Believe it or not, I’m not absolutely perfect either! I know, shocking! I’m mostly very good, but yesterday I dug a big hole in Mama’s strawberry garden. I just couldn’t help myself! I’m a pup after all! Wooooowoooooooo!

    • Dawn Says:

      Shame, shame. :) I bet mamma wasn’t too mad, especially when she thought about how happy you were when you did it.

      Maya ran through a huge mud puddle at the dog park after I explicitly told her no. I should have been mad but the big happy grin on her face as she did it made me smile.

  2. Dakota/Caren/Cody Says:

    great post and I sure do! Dakota doesn’t have a yard and barks inside like crazy (we are in an apt/condo complex), he doesn’t bark all day, just various times throughout the day. I should work more on stopping it but I don’t (it helps that there are 2 other dogs that live in the building too)
    Also, he doesn’t like to take walks, I should make him go far more often than he does and try to get him to like them again.

  3. Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom Says:

    Hi Dawn! Sue here. First off, let me tell you that even a dog trainer’s dogs are not perfect all the time. The trainer may not admit it, but it’s true. The only animals — human, canine, feline, equine, whatever — that are perfect ALL THE TIME are those who have already gone to the Rainbow Bridge. What is important is how we handle our imperfections and those of our pets.

    All 3 of my girls tend to be reactive on a leash. Callie gets protective of me if we walk too close to another dog. So I do my best to keep myself between her and other dogs (other than Shadow), as well as some distance. She does much better when we’re further away than not. And since she is so sensitive to my own moods, I have to really have my “pack leader” mindset in active gear. Shadow just follows Callie’s lead, but will normally stop on a dime if I tell her to. They both love people though. Ducky is just the opposite. She loves other dogs but not people. Sometimes she growls and snarls, other times she’s quiet and calm. Here again, it’s a matter of my moods. And my body language. Ducky is even more sensitive to me than Callie, so I really have to keep my emotions and body language in check when she’s around.

    If I lived nearby, I’d be happy to help you with Maya and Pierson but South Carolina is a bit of a drive from Kansas. :-)

    • Dawn Says:

      Thanks! It is just little too far to drive. ;) It sounds like we handle situations in a similar way. I may not be consistent in training, but like you I try to be responsible and keep a safe distance from other dogs.

      If my dogs aren’t being perfect, it may just be my own perception. Who’s to say dogs aren’t pulling on leashes, barking, or digging holes over the Rainbow Bridge? Maybe it’s what they are meant to do. I will say that God did a perfectly great thing for us when he made dogs and other pets.

  4. Clowie Says:

    They sometimes say that they wish I had a reliable recall!

  5. rubytheairedale Says:

    Oh, where does Ma start?! Furst, I thinks Pierson and I are twins! Okays, he’s my brother from a different mother! BOL
    Oh, I too barks ALL THE TIMES in the house. I like talkin’.
    I am also VERY reactive to other doggies. Don’t like them much and let them know it! It’s usually okays if they’re across the street. Butt sometimes I don’t much care either way. (Ma is puzzled by this, sometimes I totally ignore other dogs, and other times I just go nuts!)
    Butts, I have terrible recall! Outside my property that is. I will always come when called around the property, butts out in the worlds, there are just too many pawsome thingies to check out…and Ma is borin’ anyhu…
    High paw Pierson!! BOL
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

    • Dawn Says:

      Wow! It really does sound like Ruby and Pierson are twins. Sometimes Pierson ignores other dogs too. Generally, it is because they ignore him. But if the other dog barks, then Pierson barks louder. Next thing you know, it is a competition to see who can be the loudest and act the craziest!

  6. Donna and the Dogs Says:

    Great post – and I think you’ll find you’re in the majority here. :-) Not only are my dogs not perfect, I don’t think I’ve every met a perfect dog in my life. I can think of one, (not mine!), who was pretty close, but even that dog had severe issues when she was young, and she held on to a few annoying (but much less severe) issues when she was old.

  7. 2browndawgs Says:

    I think most people wish they were more consistent with training. That is what the professional trainers do…they are consistent. We try to be consistent with things, but it isn’t easy as you say.

  8. MyBrownNewfies Says:

    Great post!
    My dogs are far from perfect but we work on issues as they come up and a lot of time I need guidance in taking the correct approach. So many things I have been doing wrong over the years and when its explained to me it makes sense. I just don’t look at logical fixes sometimes.

  9. weliveinaflat Says:

    Perhaps because you seem to talk about Maya more often, she is the more beautiful one to me :P I love her smile. It is very hard to be consistent… that’s why I’m glad for us it’s one dog and two humans that can turn turns to pick up the slack :P heehee…

  10. kirbysdawgblog Says:

    That was so interesting seems we have things in common. Kirby is a barker, he doesn’t know why he barks I really beleive as he learned to do it from our family dog, and thus when someone comes in he barks, until they start petting him then he doesnt know what to do and just starts licking their hand….. As for the leash Kirby is very ;eash reactive, he loves meeting new dogs offleash and is super friendly and poilte but once he is on the leash he will bark at them and it sounds like a scary bark to, like a warning, until the dog comes up to him or I drop his leash then he goes right back to being friendly and polite…as you can see im still working on it :)

  11. Gizmo Says:

    Loose leash walking is my downfall…Gizmo is really great and reliable off leash so it’s my fault entirely that on-leash he becomes a puller…He was fine in puppy school with a gentle leader (it did work for me) but since then I’ve slacked off and hardly ever practive loose leash walking…this is the second post that has reminded me that i need to stop slacking and get to work

  12. Carol Bryant Says:

    Dex sometimes love to pretend he is an Iditarod dog and pulling me merrily along when he is actually a Canine Good Citizen. Ahhh that felt better to get that off my chest ;)

  13. mollie and alfie Says:

    I’m pawfect in every way..BOL Alfie’s NOT Bawahwhahwa Have a super day xxooxx

    Mollie and Alfie

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