Is Your Dog a Beggar?

photoEver notice that wet nose and those cold paws rubbing against your leg or lap while you’re sitting at the dinner table? Begging can be quite a nuisance to pet owners. While you may think that it’s inherent in dogs, it is actually a characteristic taught by those around them. Other dogs or even family members can pass this trait on through demonstration or offering food while it’s your meal time. Now your pup thinks that begging will eventually get the results they desire. If your pup is already a beggar, don’t fret, because it is never too late to break this irritating habit.

Signs of begging

Most likely, you will know right away if your pup is a beggar. When you eat, they will undoubtedly want a piece of the action. Pawing, staring, and even whimpering will be common, but be wary of aggressive behavior, as this is a sign that there may be something else awry.

Breaking the habit

What you’ll have to do is basically teach them that begging does not get results. The best place to start is not offering them any more scraps, especially while you’re eating. This is your meal time, and they need to learn that your food is not their food.

The best distraction is, of course, food. While you eat your meal, feed them as well. They will often be far too busy scarfing their own meal down to be concerned with yours. It is best to place their eating spot in a separate room, away from crumbs and children’s “accidental” vegetable drops.

If you do feed your pup scraps though, do it the right way. Don’t let them eat off of your old dinner plates or off the kitchen floor. After you have finished your meal, and your pup has finished theirs, you can use scraps as a treat. Here is the important part- put the food in their dinner bowl so that they will understand that it is theirs. This is important for all their meals. This will help teach them that what they can eat is always offered to them in their personal tray. Just remember that human food can be unhealthy for dogs (for us too, sometimes), so try not to get carried away with scrap offerings.

The biggest part of the habit break is separating them from your meal time. Remember, if there is no opportunity to beg, they will eventually learn to stop. If they do not obediently leave your eating area or continue to sneak in when they think you aren’t looking, it may be a good idea to use a crate. You don’t want them to fear the crate, so try not to treat it as punishment. Offer toys and even their meal or bone to comfort them during dinner time.

The best way to stop begging is to not allow it in the first place. Prevention is important, especially during their early, puppy months. Don’t let them get into the habit of cleaning plates, or let them eat from sneaky fingers under the table. Your pup looks to you as the leader of the pack, so you need to set a good example for them to follow.

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Fireproof

photoPut the matches up high, hide the lighters, and keep flammable objects out of reach. People often consider the areas of danger that young children tend to get into. But, firebugs aren’t the only thing to be concerned about when it comes to fireproofing your home. Our four-legged friends can also be just as mischievous. That doesn’t mean that they’ll run around purposely doing dangerous things, but consider the fact that dogs are inherently curious. And like any curious creature, they can get into trouble, too.

Chewing?

Something to consider is the infamous power-cord. Aside from presenting a tripping hazard, these can be ideal targets for chewing. Even the warmth of an inverter for your laptop can become a plaything for any pup.

Even if cords are behind couches and entertainment centers, keep in mind that a dog, with enough time on their paws, can still get to these spots. Chewing on cords not only shears their protective coating, presenting a fire-hazard, your pup can also get a dangerous jolt of electricity. It is best to tuck excess cords under large objects and use zip-ties to keep them out of your pup’s curious reach.

Curling irons, heaters, and even the iron can also present a fire danger for dogs. If left on, these devices can be knocked down or over onto flooring or carpeting, presenting a fire hazard. Be sure to turn these items off immediately after using them.  Never leave these items plugged in and unattended.

Scented candles and incense

Making your home smell nice often involves candles and incense, but be wary of your pup’s curiosity. That little flickering light may attract a paw or even the wagging tail of an innocent passerby. If you must use candles and incense, put them up high, away from your pup’s reach. And don’t leave home with them lit, as that in itself is a danger.

The kitchen

Stoves are a big target for pups. The scent of food and the excess crumbs everywhere tend to attract the attention of a nosy pup. While some stoves have begun to move the dials to the top, so they are out of children’s reach, there are still a few that have the dials on the side. If you can, get a cover for the dials to prevent them from being moved, especially when you’re away.

Something else to consider when you have something cooking in the oven is that you should secure the area or make it off-limits to your pup. A large enough dog can easily open up a stove door and get at the food inside, presenting the possibility a fire hazard and potential injury.

Protect your home

Cautionary steps to protecting your home should always include smoke detectors. One per room floor is recommended, but you can never have too many. You may also consider the use of instant notification alarms that call and inform dispatching that there is a problem.

Rescue stickers are also a good idea for the just-in-case scenario. You can get these stickers at any pet store, and their job is to inform safety personnel that there are pets in your home, too. Remember to put the number of pups on the tag so they will know how many to look for.

Take a walk through your home and see what your pup sees from his level. What kind of mischief can he get into?  What curiosities await them on the ground level? Prevent these dangers, and make sure that your pup dwells in a happy, safe home.

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The Adventures of Rocky

This afternoon has indeed been very interesting. There’s water outside, fallen from the sky, and it makes everything wet. Normally it might be fun to play in, but the sky flashes and the sound of something terrible fills the air.

Everything is okay though, as my buddy is here to keep me safe. He sits on his bench, playing the old piano. On occasion, I too find myself hitting the keys with my paws in an attempt to mimic my old friend, but it never comes out quite right. Today, I do not join him on the bench though, as I’ve found a nice spot below his feet so that I can hear his breathing and familiar heartbeat, assuring me that he is close.

In his years, my old friend has seemingly lost a bit of touch with his own paws, their agility seemingly becoming less steady, just like his heart. But he continues on, like nothing else bothers him. He’s a tough guy, still thinks he can do everything on his own, but I can tell he’s having trouble. This comes especially to mind when I think about my own daily needs. He can’t exactly run like I can, and even though he picks up a third leg to help him, he still has trouble keeping up with my four.

Aside from getting into mischief, I am really a good pup. Like earlier today, even though it was raining, I slipped outside and grabbed the bag that my buddy keeps his newspaper in. I didn’t want him walking outside in the rain. Last time, he slipped down the sidewalk and fell in the grass. He seemed more angry than hurt though, but that’s probably for the better.

Suddenly my friend looks at me and starts making his funny sounds again. I never did figure out why they do that, but it always makes me laugh.

“What?” I asked to tease him.

Then he finally uses a word familiar to me. “Shoes,” he says. I know what those are and when he says that, it usually means he wants me to go get them, so I do. I scamper down the hallway, to the closet. He keeps three pairs of shoes here, one for the garden, one for walking outside, and one for walking inside. I pick the inside pair, since it’s too wet for us to go walking. But when I bring them to him, he shakes his head.

“No, outside shoes,” he says to me this time. I know better, as it is far too wet and dangerous for him to be walking around outside on the slippery grass. I tell him “no” a few times, but he insists, so being the good pup that I am, I get them for him.

After he struggles with them for a moment, he manages to get the shoes on his paws and slowly stands up.

“Rocky, outside,” he says again. I guess he wants me to do my business now. I run to the back door because the patio deck is covered, and my old friend can stay dry. It’s a little further than the front door, and he knows this. He glances at that one, then back to me. I call him to me a few times before the old chap makes a decision. He makes his way to the door, and pushes down on the handle. I can do it too, but my little legs are too short, but perhaps I’ll soon find something to give me a boost.

The door opens up and I spring out into the back yard.

It doesn’t take me long to do my business, and I’m ready to get out of the wet. But, my old friend seems to have trouble of his own. That lever thing sits in his hand now, and the door is still closed. He looks at me and makes some funny sounds. I know exactly what to do.

Around the house, and through the doggy door, I find my way back inside. The lever on the other side is still on. I know what to do. I jump. Once, twice, and on the fourth try, I clamp my teeth around it and the door opens.

My friend looks at me in wonder and tells me what a great friend I am. Then he scratches behind my left ear, my very favorite spot, as my leg moves to agree.

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own Rocky Adventures.

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