Wednesday, February 8, 2012

You don't know enough about dogs if ...

How much do you really know about man's best friend? Well, here are some signs that you may not know enough.

You probably don't know enough about dogs if you've ever ...

Muttered the phrase "Don't worry, all dogs love me." 
The answer here is simple: No, all dogs don't love you. It's impossible. If you truly believe that you're some sort of dog wizard, incapable of receiving anything but love from any dog you come across, you really (and let me emphasize, REALLY) don't know enough about dogs.

Said, "Oh, he/she is just trying to make friends" to explain why your dog is misbehaving
I see this most commonly with people whose dogs are not good at meeting others, usually barking or lunging at people or other dogs.
Even if we're talking about a friendly dog, barking/lunging/growling/jumping/snipping/peeing or insert some other bad behavior here, is never a dog's way of demonstrating he/she would like to make friends. It may be a display of extreme excitement or anxiety or just plain ol' poor communication skills, but trying to explain the bad behavior as your dog's way of making friends just isn't accurate.

Told someone your dog did something to spite you
No he didn't.
I'll give you credit that most people do make this assumption about their dogs, so you're certainly not alone in making this mistake, but that doesn't make you right either.
No dog spends his day plotting and planning against his owner. There are lots of good reasons why a dog might be motivated to do something like rip down your blinds or chew up your couch, but spite is not going to be one of them. And just because he has a guilty look on his face when you come home doesn't mean he knows he did something wrong — the only truth is that he knows certain scenarios add up to "bad things are going to happen to dogs." For instance, blinds on the ground plus human returning home usually equals bad things for dogs. What type of look would you expect your dog to have in that situation?

Ever defended your dog biting someone or something
I know, it sounds totally asinine, but it happens. Honest to God, it happens.
Unless your dog is defending you, himself or his home against a real threat, there is no excuse for this. You have failed in teaching your dog to behave properly, or failed in managing your dog's poor behavior around others, or both.

Disagree with me? Leave a comment with your point of view.


  1. I do think dogs plot against their owners, but only for attention. Why would they chew the bed pillows or your gloves while ignoring the $129.95 worth of dog toys laying around the house? Because they want YOUR attention. The trick is to wear dog toys as jewelry to fool them.

  2. One very plausible theory on why dogs may lay/roll/chew/totally annihilate something that is "yours" rather than "theirs" is smell. Your smell is a big deal to your dog, and a great comfort. Being left alone can create a lot of anxiety for a dog (or say, being alone when a thunderstorm strikes, or when the Consumer's guy walks through the yard) and being around items with your smell — especially therapeutic chewing of that item — can be a great comfort to them.