My mutt is not perfect, even though he has a perfect owner. OK, I guess if I were truly perfect, my mutt would be perfect too. Unfortunately, he’s not. Here are, in my opinion, some of the most annoying dog behaviors. I’m not including biting, mauling and attacking people in this list. I think that would be a little beyond annoying. My mutt is guilty of at least half of these and probably all of them at one time or another.
1. Showing endless energy
Most dogs in the United States do not get the exercise they need, my mutt included. But I also notice a big difference in his behavior if he has had a long workout, a short walk, or no exercise at all. I like him a lot more when he’s tired! Probably all nine of the following behaviors could be eliminated if people would just walk or run with their dogs. An hour a day is really not too much to ask, considering most people could use the exercise anyway.
2. Barging through the door first
Most dogs want to be first. My mutt will barge through the door, up the stairs, out of the room or out of the car before me if I don’t stop him. But he has gotten a lot better at this one, because I do not tolerate it. No dog will push his way past me. It really tests my patience. I would consider it rude from a person, so it’s not OK for my mutt to act like that. I have older relatives who could get seriously hurt if my mutt decided to push them out of the way, just to be first. The same goes with young kids. So, Ace sits and waits for me to go through the door, then he is invited. He is always last. Period.
How annoying is it when you can’t even enjoy a meal without those big, dumb eyes staring at you? Then the drooling starts and maybe even a nudge, saying, “Hey! I’m here! I’ll take some of that!” Or, the dog actually goes beyond the begging and takes your food. Because of his begging skills, my mutt is now required to sit in the other room while I eat, or at least several feet away.
Every dog owner knows the feeling of being pulled down the street. It makes the walk very unpleasant. Various collars can help with this problem, but usually the dog is still pulling, just not as hard or as noticeable. After a year of practice, my mutt will still pull, especially if he’s just wearing his regular, buckle collar. It’s as though every walk is a race! It’s the most embarrassing when someone else tries to walk him. Actually, I’ve had some success limiting his pulling, but Ace still wants to walk ahead. He heals when I tell him, then seconds later he starts creeping slowly ahead. First his nose in front, then his shoulder, then half his body.
5. Acting overly friendly
This can be done in many ways: barking, wining, pawing, nudging, following, putting toys in your lap, jumping, knocking you over. It’s all annoying! And most guests don’t appreciate it! The best way I deal with this is by telling my mutt to lie down and stay on his bed when he can’t relax. It helps when he wears his leash if he is more excited than usual.
6. Not coming when called
We’ve all screamed at our dogs to come inside, only to be totally ignored. And even worse, the screaming doesn’t help. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a dog that comes when called 100 percent of the time?
7. Taking over the furniture
I have friends and family members who don’t mind if their dogs are on the furniture. I guess that’s their opinion and they can do what they want in their own homes. Well, maybe. As a guest in someone’s home, I don’t like it when a little cairn terrier is climbing all over me. I also don’t want to share the couch with a Great Dane or a lab. When a dog claims the couch as her own, she is showing her dominance through territory. Setting rules as simple as not allowing her on the furniture can help with other behavioral problems. At least make the dog wait until she is invited onto the bed or couch on your terms.
If only dogs knew that if they didn’t chew our stuff when we’re gone, they would get more freedom. I would let my mutt have the run of the place every time I’m gone if I knew I could trust him. Unfortunately, there are times when I can’t trust him. A bored dog is a destructive dog, or a noisy dog.
9. Barking in the kennel
The first month that I had my mutt, he cried for at least ten minutes every time he went in his kennel. With time, he has learned that crying will not help his situation. He gets to come out after he’s quiet. Now, the only time he cries is if new people or dogs are visiting and he wants to be out with them. The only thing I can do is make sure not to invite him out until he is quiet. That way he learns never to bark in the kennel.
10. Barking unnecessarily
No one wants to be the owner of that dog in the neighborhood that everyone hates because it won’t shut up! Some dogs are more vocal or territorial than others, but a long walk will help with this one. Most dogs bark when they are bored or frustrated and a walk will help them get rid of extra energy.
Of course, most of these annoying dog behaviors are directly related to annoying owner behaviors, starting with not setting limitations. If owners could be more consistent in training their dogs, most of these problems could be eliminated. As imperfect as Ace is, I have had friends comment on how well behaved he is. They say I just got lucky and I have such an easy dog to train. Well, I’m not that lucky. I spent months searching for the best dog for my lifestyle, and I spend hours every week working on enforcing good behavior. This process will continue throughout Ace’s entire life. Training is ongoing. There will never be a perfect dog or a perfect human, but there can always be a better dog or a better human.