Dog biases

We try to keep our dogs entertained. We’ve bought them everything from so-called indestructible Kong products, to rings, to ropes, to assorted soccer and basketballs, to a baby pool. So, of course, they get bored and, when they get bored they do what kids do: destroy things or each other.

Yesterday we were enjoying a post-meal relaxing cup of tea when we heard a doggie cry that didn’t stop. Being our easy-going, relaxed selves, we jumped from the couch, sending the tea flying and ran out to see what had happened to our ‘babies’.

Ocean was on the ground holding up a back paw and crying. River was hovering nearby looking incredibly guilty.

Now dog-books will tell you not to soothe a dog that’s crying because, apparently that’s sending the dog the psychological message that they should cry all the time. It’s called positively reinforcing the behaviour. But, I have to admit, I ignored all such advice and threw myself next to Ocean and petted her while I tried to see if she was okay.

My therapist-husband is incredibly calm in these situations. I, on the other hand, am an emotional mess. While he moved Ocean’s injured limb to test for injury, I ran back to the house to get the phone and call the emergency vet, told River that we still loved him and knew he ‘didn’t mean it’, and cried enough that I couldn’t see the numbers on the phone.

Ocean was fine. Two minutes later she was walking on the leg and not half an hour later she was picking a new fight with River. We were pretty shook up (well, I was). I hate seeing animals in pain. I just can’t bear it.

I’m finding I may be a bit biased. I can tolerate someone getting hurt or even get killed in a book or movie but I can’t watch if a doggie so much as gets an eyelash in their eye. Thankfully, most animal heroes make it out okay of most movies or books–otherwise, I don’t know what I would do.

Our dogs seemed to realize they had pushed us far enough for a day and they were as good as gold for the rest of the day. They’re asleep on the floor next to me right now, looking as innocent as angels. So cute…until the next time they get bored.

Little demons.

8 thoughts on “Dog biases

  1. Kids eh??! I’ve got a JRT and feel exactly the same as you. She gets spoilt rotten because she’s was a rescue dog and I feel I have to make up that 1st year of her life that (I’ve been told) was horrible for her, every day hence and will continue to do so.
    Why are kongs so destructible?! Someone really needs to invent a ‘proper’ toy for pugs and Jacks 😉

  2. Ah, dogs. I took a dog psychology course and know all the ‘rules’ abut not reinforcing behaviour through attention. But putting that into practice is so much harder! I always give in 😀

  3. We are the proud owners of a rescue dog, a three-legged sweetie! She rules the house and we are happy to let her do it. Great post, Taylor. See you on Facebook:)

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