Dog training: I’m not perfect, and neither is my dog



I was inspired to write this post after my blogging friend Rebekah wrote about how her dogs have flaws and so does she. It’s a must read.

I am not perfect.

I have no sense of style. I eat lots of Girl Scout cookies. I can never get up on time. I avoid people so I don’t have to think of things to say.

And my mutt Ace?

Not perfect either.

I think some people expect my dog to be perfect because I write about dog training. He’s not.

When we had our dog at our wedding, some of our friends seemed shocked that Ace acted like a dog.

He whined. Drooled on nice clothes. Got hair on my dress. Pulled on the leash and made gagging sounds.

My dog Ace at our wedding

I’m not sure what they were expecting. Lassie?

Dogs are dogs!

My favorite dogs at Westminster were the ones that grabbed treats off the floor and bounced up on two legs. They knew what was up.

And so, I’m here to share with you some of my dog’s flaws, and I hope you’ll share your own examples in the comments.

My imperfect dog Ace

My dog whines. A lot.

If you ride in our car, he might hyperventilate and cry and fling drool onto your clothes.

If I forget to put the toilet lid down, my dog will drink the entire bowl. Then throw up on the rug.

My dog walks in a circle while he shits, which means if he’s on a leash I’m left standing in a ring of poop.

My dog peed on my parents’ indoor plant. He tries to mark potted flowers and people’s trash cans. It drives me nuts.

One time, he took a dump right on the dog agility course.

When I’m on the phone, he licks his penis really, really loudly.

If he’s off leash, he will absolutely dive headfirst into the nearest source of open water.

“If I forget to put the toilet lid down, my dog will drink the entire bowl.”

Before people visit our apartment, I have to set aside time to wipe drool off our walls, refrigerator and doors. Sometimes the drool is above my head. Once, it was on the ceiling.

My dog pulls on the leash when he sees other dogs. He will not come when called if someone is holding a tennis ball. If we don’t include him in any type of game that involves any type of ball, he will whine and squeal like a drunken piglet.

These are the reasons my dog is not perfect. There are many other reasons, but this gives you an idea.

I do not try to train my dog to stop these behaviors. These are just the things he does.

These are the things you learn to put up with when the dog you love is Ace.

What makes your dog imperfect?

Lab mix Ace sitting by the flowers on a trail

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  1. Elizabeth on February 18, 2014

    Belle still pulls on a leash. Constantly. I hate the gentle leader and the harness, is just another thing to pull!!! She doesn’t always come when called, but if I can at least get her heading in my direction, I am happy. She knows when you are angry with her and she slows wayy dowwn to get into the truck. That is sooo annoying! She tells me when its dinner time and when she thinks its time for treats. She is the play police, not always good with other dogs and sometimes just barks her head off at other dogs. When CV and I wrestle etc she tries to break us up. Not good in an apratment or hotel situation like we have been the last 6 months…

    D.O.G. humps at the dog park, on walks etc. but at home he’s the one who gets humped. He will look at you like really, you want me to do what? and go in the opposite direction. He will gagg himself on his flat collar and have coughing fits and whines and yodels in the car if he knows where he is going. He also shrieks when he’s decided he’s been in the car enough. He likes to drop his bone in your lap while driving and sometimes wants to be petted constantly while your driving. Or he whines, and places his head in your lap.

    Then he does a blind retrieve perfectly and Belle cuddles up or has the perfect recall or can hardly walk cause her tail is going so hard to see you and get petted and you know what, they are perfect to me!

    My father actually stepped in this weekend at a store and got Belle to calm down and ignore another dog. I couldn’t believe it. So there is hope. There is always hope and love and laughter. That is why we have dogs. :-)

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 18, 2014

      Loved hearing about your two! It’s definitely their imperfections that make them unique and extra special. It would be too boring any other way :)

  2. Emma on February 18, 2014

    Right now Mom is in the middle of Obedience courses with my little sister Bailie and it is a bit of a nightmare for both of them. We want her to know what she needs to do, but Mom could care less if she heels on a walk or not, or sniffs the ground all the time. As long as no one is injured and she is having fun, that is what is important. Imperfect dogs are the best!

  3. margaret on February 18, 2014

    What an eye opener! I have always thought that your pets must be the most well behaved pets.
    I have always felt guilty, because my dog Abby is not as obedient as I felt she should be through no fault of hers (I just didn’t put in the time to train her properly). She pulls on the leash when we go out for a walk (I am just not fast enough for her), she strains to run after a squirrel, another dog or animal if she sees one. Forget coming when I call when she is unleashed unless she has nothing better to do. But I love her to death. She follows me wherever I go in our house and gets excited if she thinks I am going to take her out (in the car, on a walk, whatever-she wants to go with me). She constantly watches me and is up and at my side if she thinks I am leaving or a treat is coming. I love how she puts her head on my lap and just looks at me with her soulful eyes, or lays at my side while I am on the computer, or reading a book, etc. I love how she gets excited when I take off a sock & then grabs it & runs with it as if I am going to chase her for it (she has a sock fetish-grabs & runs with them & just leaves them when I don’t try to take them from her). I love how she steps up, one paw at a time ,onto my lap & lays her head and chest on me to be cuddled.
    I too love the spot between her eyes and kiss her there every time she just looks up at me. What a sweetie!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 18, 2014

      I’ll have to write about my cats sometime. They are soo much worse than Ace. I have the world’s two naughtiest cats.

      Abby sounds like such a sweetie!

  4. Dawn on February 18, 2014

    LOL! Drinking out of the toilet, then throwing it all up. Classic. :D Oh, where to begin with mine? Well, how about I just start with today about Pierson. We just got back from the vet where Maya and Pierson had their annual checkup today. I had to be careful with keeping Pierson away from other dogs because he is dog aggressive. The vet had to coax him with treats just to pet him. When she examined him, he peed and pooped on himself. She asked about medical issues and I told her about the seizure he had 10 days ago (this was in his file). She saw his stained teeth and I told her about how he likes to eat poop. This led to me share the shortened version of him living as a stray and his rescue. When she told me he really hit the jackpot when I found him, I replied, “I was the one who hit the jackpot.” Yep, despite all his issues I am the one who hit it big.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 18, 2014

      Loved hearing these stories. Poor Pierson at the vet :)

  5. jan on February 18, 2014

    Boy, was I glad to read this post.

    I think dogs should be dogs, otherwise people should just get battery operated dogs.

    My favorite Westminster moment was when a lady judge felt a little Chihuahua’s boy parts. I don’t know if she was more intrusive than he was used to or what, but he got very indignant and kept turning around to bark at her as he paraded away like he was calling her a pervert for the audience to see. I really kept expecting him to lift his leg on her dress in the final showing.

  6. Rebekah on February 18, 2014

    Oh, I love this! Makes me feel better! I laughed out loud more than once while reading this.

    PS-Love the pic of you two, with you in your wedding gown!

  7. Ashlee on February 19, 2014

    The licking…our mutt will take it upon herself to clean when it’s time to go to bed and the lights are turned off. The slurping lick is deafening in the dark. *gag*

  8. Patti on February 20, 2014

    OMG! I lost it when I read about the “ring of poop”. Both my dogs are perfect! ;-) On second thought, only one of them is. Linus barks too much when he gets excited.

  9. Edith on February 20, 2014

    I live in Europe and when I told our wonderful vet I was looking for a dog in an animal shelter, her response was ‘Oh no, you don’t want to do that’ as pure breads are more desirable here. When I found Simon at an animal shelter, I was a bit nervous taking him in having a tendency to be a people-pleaser. When she met him she said ‘you got a good dog’, and said ‘I prayed for him for a year’. She then asked me ‘how long did you pray for your husband?’ My answer: ‘longer’! Truly, they both have been answers to prayer! This is all in spite of the fact that my Simon still pulls on the leash, thought I continue to work with him. He barks at strangers passing our house probably terrorizing children. He rolls his ears in nasty stuff in the woods. He too can do the loud licking. So glad Lindsay that your Ace is not perfect as it makes the rest of us feel so much better!

  10. Kimberly Gauthier on February 24, 2014

    Rodrigo sometimes doesn’t listen to me. If I need him to come, I sometimes have to walk towards him to show him that I’m serious. He’s waiting to see – I don’t know what.

    I used to get so frustrated with the fact that he didn’t always listen until a professional dog trainer told me that sometimes her dog doesn’t listen either. It lifted a weight off my shoulder and that little admission improved how I interacted with Rodrigo.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on February 24, 2014

      I’m thinking all dogs choose not to listen at one point or another, don’t you think? If someone says their dog always comes when called, they’re probably lying. :)

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