One of the joys of bringing home an adult dog comes when they begin to unpack. After 8 weeks, Toad is unpacking his bags.
Apparently, he was allowed to play with the garden hose in his last home. This is one of those things I don’t allow because of arousal issues around water, and its just plan annoying when I am trying to get things done. Yesterday while I was watering the garden, Fat Fat grabbed the middle of the hose and tried to run off with it. Cute if he was a 25 pound puppy, not cute when he’s an 85 pound Fat Fat.
Those pesky rules
I immediately grabbed his collar and told him to drop it. He complied with some grumbling. I told him to go get his ball and find something else to do. He went and jumped in my garden and tried to bite the water. I pulled him out again and told him to go get his ball. Less compliance this time, and some jumping and trying to alligator roll out of my grip. Apparently, this worked in his last home also. We played this game one more time until I grabbed his collar and had him sit beside me quietly until the garden was sufficiently watered.
I understand Toads frustration. He loves the water, and I am sure the hose was a great game for his last owner. (As well as laser light chasing, but we are working on that) Those are not the rules here. Its up to me as a dog owner to maintain the rules and boundaries for my own dogs fairly and as kindly as possible. Was he mad that I wouldn’t let him play with the hose? Probably, but the other alternative was to get frustrated with him trying to steal my hose everyday. I chose instead to show him the new rules the first time, and be consistent with them to minimize the frustration later on.
Sorry Fat Fat
Consistency is so important for dogs. They don’t speak our language, and rely on us to show them what we expect from them in a way that they can understand. I will continue to make sure Toad understands the rules for life here with us, and make sure to train when he is not getting the hint. Staying consistent helps him understand what is expected of him at all times.
We are working on taking turns and staying on his station when he doesn’t want to, and if i need to I will kennel the Toad if he can’t leave the hose alone. Those are the rules and the consequences for all my dogs all the time. All the time, meaning sometimes I have to get off the couch or off the computer to make sure everyone is following the rules.
What rules do you have for your dogs? What rules will you implement for the next dog that you wish you had for this one? It’s never to late to change a behavior, but its certainly easier to prevent it in the first place.