.

I've Trained My Dog To Be a Thief

Training a dog is difficult. But sometimes we inadvertently teach our pets bad behaviors without trying!

 

Every time our dog Cocoa feels neglected or that anyone but she is the center of attention, she performs a desperate attempt to bring the focus back to herself by doing something naughty. Sometimes she'll steal dish towels. Other times, she'll take socks...or homework. She even tried to run off with the broom once.

From her perspective, it makes perfect sense. Everyone comes home from school or work and they are so busy stuffing their faces with string cheese and pretzels (and they don't share!) or doing their homework or talking on the phone or practicing their tap dancing, that they don't have time for her! And how could they want to do anything other than hang out with her? The audacity!  I mean, can't they recognize the awesomeness oozing out of her?

I'm sure she looks back fondly on the times those kids used to come home from school and play ball or run around the house with her. The boy let her rip the deliciously stinky socks right off his sweaty little feet and knaw gently on his arms.  The girls cuddled her and shared their goldfish crackers!  Now all they want to do is their homework!

I believe this is the fundamental root of the bitter hatred that all dogs have with homework.  At some point, kids start to pay more attention to their homework than the dog.  And that just aint okay with the dog.

So, as we all gather around the kitchen table to do our work,  Cocoa looks around the room and thinks to herself, "now, what can I grab that will make them chase me?"  She inevitably chooses something that someone has unwittingly left within grasp; a towel draped over the handle of the dishwasher, a shoe carelessly thrown on the floor.

She grabs said thing and takes off running up the stairs to the family room.  And here is where I know that she only does this for attention; she doesn't run off and hide in a corner and chew the shoe to bits.  She simply runs away with it in her mouth, all the while looking over her shoulders to see if we are watching. She's begging us to follow her, trying her best to seduce us into a gameEvery time our dog Cocoa feels neglected or that anyone but her is at the center of attention, she does this thing where she performs a desperate attempt to bring the focus back on to herself by doing something naughty.  Sometimes she'll steal dish towels.  Other times, she'll take socks...or homework.  She even tried to run off with the broom once.

From her perspective, it makes perfect sense.  Everyone comes home from school or work and they are so busy stuffing their faces with string cheese and pretzels (and they don't share!) or doing their homework or talking on the phone or practicing their tap dancing, that they don't have time for her! And how could they want to do anything other than hang out with her? The audacity!  I mean, can't they recognize the awesomeness oozing out of her?

I'm sure she looks back fondly on the times those kids used to come home from school and play ball or run around the house with her. The boy let her rip the deliciously stinky socks right off his sweaty little feet and knaw gently on his arms.  The girls cuddled her and shared their goldfish crackers!  Now all they want to do is their homework!

I believe this is the fundamental root of the bitter hatred that all dogs have with homework.  At some point, kids start to pay more attention to their homework than the dog.  And that just aint okay with the dog.

So, as we all gather around the kitchen table to do our work,  Cocoa looks around the room and thinks to herself, "now, what can I grab that will make them chase me?"  She inevitably chooses something that someone has unwittingly left within grasp; a towel draped over the handle of the dishwasher, a shoe carelessly thrown on the floor.

She grabs said thing and takes off running up the stairs to the family room.  And here is where I know that she only does this for attention; she doesn't run off and hide in a corner and chew the shoe to bits.  She simply runs away with it in her mouth, all the while looking over her shoulders to see if we are watching. She's begging us to follow her, trying her best to seduce us into a game of catch me if you can.  If we aren't watching she'll either give a muffled bark or bring the item to us with a nudge.  "See...I got your shoe...better come get me!"

When she does this, we spring into action; a tag team of justice.  Someone says, "Cocoa, do you want a cookie?"  That person rustles through the pantry for a snack, taking extra care to crinkle the snack bag which everyone knows makes a treat sound extra delicious to a dog.  Cocoa always drops what's in her mouth and runs to the pantry.  She's nothing if predictable. That's where the second person comes in.  They run upstairs to retrieve the stolen item which is inevitably covered in saliva and teeth marks and stow it away safely.

The first person then gives her a command.  This is usually something of the "sit" or "turn" variety.  Sometimes we pretend to shoot her and ask her if she's dead.  At that command, she instantly falls over on her side and freezes, her legs stiff with feigned rigor mortis.  Sometimes, she even lets her tongue hang out the side of her mouth and stares into space. Glen Close only wishes she had those mad acting skilz.

Then we give her a treat and she feels loved...but only for a few minutes and as soon as we turn our attention away, the whole process starts all over again.

Essentially, we've trained the dog to be bad.  We've rewarded her for treachery. This animal!  I can't train her to stay off the furniture but I've somehow managed to teach her the art of larceny.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Eileen McNamara October 24, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Okay, so my dog does the same thing. Today he chewed up a bracelet of mine while I was working and not paying attention to him. When I realized what was going on I tried to take the bracelet away but he just clamped down and wouldn't let go. So I did what my daughter said I should do: I gave him a treat to get him to let go of the bracelet (which was destroyed). Now I really don't know how to keep him from chewing things!
Alicia Yost October 24, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Something is so seriously messed up with the cut and paste job here! :)

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something