By Laurie Darroch
Dogs have very definite likes and dislikes. They are not afraid to let you know when they want to avoid a situation or are unhappy with something they are expected to do. Some dogs verbalize their dislike of an activity and others find clever ways to avoid the situation altogether. If they do not like something, their behavior will reflect their displeasure. Over time, every human companion learns the preferences of their particular dog. We also learn how to get around the avoidance behavior a dog may exhibit during activities he dislikes. How the dog shows their disapproval can be quite humorous, though.
At some time or another you may have to give your dog oral medication for an illness, infection or pain. The fact is, not all dogs are good pill takers. After that initial gullible acquiescence to the consumption of a pill wrapped in a favorite food, one taste of a bitter or odd tasting medication may turn your dog into a master of tongue manipulation. They will know instantly that there is a hidden pill inside that suspicious delectable bite, no matter how much you try to disguise it.
Whether you wrap the pill in a CANIDAE treat, piece of lunch meat, bit of cheese or a warm piece of bacon, or imbed it deep in a slice of hot dog, a clever dog will soon learn how to devour every speck of food and spit out the untouched pill like change coming back in a vending machine. The pill will land in front of your dog with a tap against the floor and your dog will give you a look as if to say, “You really thought I was going to fall for that again?”
Let’s face it: not all dogs are fans of water and bathing. Mention the word bath and some dogs will run as fast as they can out the dog door to hide in the yard, or burrow under the bed out of your reach. Be prepared for a workout. The bath chase is on!
A gentle natured dog that hates baths may suddenly become a very opinionated canine reminiscent of a small human child who doesn’t want to stop play time to get cleaned up. Avoidance behavior is an art when a dog does not want to get in the bath. Some dogs even growl or bark at the mention of the word “Bath!”
We are sometimes forced to play psych games in order to get the dog to the water. Verbal prompting such as “Treat!” or “Get the ball!” pull your dog in two directions at once. The idea of a treat or playtime is appealing, but they quickly learn that playtime near the bathroom door or the backyard wash tub may be a trap. Your dog may stand still refusing to fall for your ploys and give you a look that says, “Do you really think I am that gullible?” No matter how much you praise, treat, massage or try to make the experience a pleasant one, bath time may not an activity they enjoy. Just put on your bathing suit and plan on getting wet with them. It is easier!
Bad Weather Outings
“You want me to go out in that? You go out. I will stand here at the door and watch you dance around like a marionette, freezing your behind off.” During inclement weather, your dog might look at you as though you are mad for even suggesting they go out. The sheer indignity of it!
If you have a fair weather dog, they will do just about anything to avoid facing five drops of rain. Some dogs do not even like getting their feet wet. If your dog is small enough that you can pick them up and take them outside, problem solved. If your weather prima donna happens to weigh 100 pounds and be solid muscle, prompting and coaxing them to go out may become a real feat. Trained or not, sometimes a dog simply does not want to go out and they are not afraid to let you know their displeasure.
Once you allow your dog access to the bed, you are quite simply sunk. Give a dog an inch and they will take over the bed. Dogs are masters of bed manipulation. A dog will quickly let you know their displeasure at having to move to a different area of the bed.
You may be familiar with the 2 a.m. grumble. Your legs are cramped, or you can’t turn over with the dog glued to you like a second skin. It’s a monumental feat to push your sleeping dog over in order to avoid falling off the bed. Their vocal displeasure at being moved from a spot of perfect warmth and comfort is similar to trying to talk to a coffee drinker before their first cup of joe in the morning. Sometimes it’s easier to just go back to sleep hanging off the bed.
Some dogs forced off the bed will whine and wander nervously around the room, grumbling while trying to find a comfortable resting spot on their dog bed or the floor, making just enough noise to keep you awake. Or they stand next to the bed and stare intently while breathing on your face and offering an occasional lick to persuade you into allowing them back on the bed. It is a nightly dance, with your dog in the lead.
If you have more than one dog in bed with you, plan on being the creature with the lowest priority for bed space and placement. It doesn’t matter if you have a tiny dog or a huge one. They will find a way to let you know that they rule the sleeping arrangements while you sleep like a twisted pretzel to accommodate them.
You can’t help but laugh at how dogs play their positions with their human companions. They may not be able to speak in words, but they speak eloquently in other ways. You have to learn to see the humor in their antics. No matter how well trained your dog is, they have you trained to their cues as well. Enjoy the dance!
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch