asK THe eXPeRT
Deborah Birmingham is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Canine Behavior Counselor. At Paw Print Canine Services in Palm Coast, she specializes in diagnosing and solving canine behavior issues. Deborah is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and an evaluator for the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test. She is also the Official Dog Trainer of Flagler Humane Society.
ne of the most interesting misconceptions that I deal with is that some owners are convinced that their dog is doing something bad to get back at them for something. For example, a typical statement is: “He pees on the bed because he is angry that I left him alone.” Sometimes, when I explain that dogs don’t have a vindictive bone in their bodies and don’t think in that way, I get incredulous looks. People are stunned that I don’t agree with them. Nowadays, dogs are often dressed, carried, and spoken to like children. Because of this, I find it trying having to convince owners that their two pound Chihuahua in the pink dress thinks like a dog, not a person. This is true no matter what the size or breed. It is really an insult to this wonderful species that we project our own species’ complicated, sometimes vindictive and cruel, revenge thought processes onto them. Just think of the Golden Retriever (mine is lying on my feet right now), bred for assisting man in hunting small game and birds by finding and retrieving the fallen animal and bringing it back to his owner unscathed and uneaten. No Golden would refuse to fetch or stop to eat the bird because he is annoyed at his owner’s new girlfriend and is getting his own back! The dog that does these things is not sending the hunter a complicated message, but probably just has not been trained properly. Remember, if your dog ‘forgets’ his housetraining and poops on the rug, either you have not completely house-trained him in the first place or there is another physiological explanation. Maybe he has a tummy bug and can’t help it, maybe he is not old enough to physically hold it as long as you want him to, or perhaps he is too old and is losing control of his bowels. What is definitely NOT happening is that the pile of poop is meant to punish you or send you a message for something you did. Dogs simply do not think that way.
12 Pet Lovers Magazine
pets, dogs, cats, birds, florida, daytona, flagler, ormond