While working on my weekly organization goal, I was stunned to read in Regina Leeds book, One Year to an Organized Life, something that as a dog trainer I always preached to my students. It nearly brought me to tears as I could just imagine the dogs sadness.
Regina wrote about babysitting a friend’s children and being introduced to the children but not to the barking dog that was outside. She said the dog’s parents said he wasn’t in the house because he always barked and had too much energy. After the parents left, Regina found the dog in the back yard tied up. When she let him off his tether and into the house, he ran around the house to check if everything was okay and that all of his people were alright, then settled down and slept. The dog (also named Max) was outside barking because he was unable to do his job of making sure his family was safe.
So often dogs “annoying” behavior is misinterpreted by us humans. Dogs don’t chew on things to be bad or get revenge, they do it most often through boredom (Pain is the next reason. Teething hurts). If dogs are not allowed to exercise their minds they will find ways to work their minds. People are the same way. Most people would go nuts sitting at home for 2 days with nothing to do, but we expect our dogs to go longer periods of time with no mental stimulation.
Besides mental stimulation, dogs also have jobs they must do. Dogs are pack animals by nature. They are a part of the family and are compelled to ensure the safety of their pack/family. When they are unable to complete their job, they become frustrated.
Next time your dog develops a “bad behavior”, try finding why he is doing it. Most good dog trainers will be more than willing to offer a few suggestions and if you can’t find one, I am always open to questions.