Dog redirecting: if not this, then what?

I’m by no means a dog trainer. A meeting with my dogs will surely attest to this fact. However, one of the biggest “wins” I’ve had with my dogs lately is eliminating the words “no” or “stop,” and replacing them with what I DO want the dogs to do. In dog training circles, this is called redirecting, and I find it a lil bit brilliant.  (I’m pretty sure it would also work on kids and/or spouses, but don’t quote me on that. Or do quote me, and you’re welcome.)

 Dog redirecting: if not this, then what?

Here’s how I use redirecting

In the past, if I said “no” or “stop” when my dogs did something undesirable, I think there wasn’t a complete understanding from them, evidenced by the fact that sometimes I got a blank stare. The dogs sort of looked at me like (and I’m paraphrasing them here) “if I can’t do this, then what am I supposed to be doing?”

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Wussy dog mom confession

Often I get asked why I’m so perfect. And while immensely flattering, it isn’t true. Spoiler alert: I may have a few issues. In today’s first installment of discussing the ways my issues involve my dogs, I have a dog mom confession.

I have never (ever) intentionally taken either of my dogs for a walk in the rain.

rain dog umbrella Wussy dog mom confession

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

Now I know this might not seem like a big deal if I lived in Arizona or California. But I live near Seattle. As in the Seattle where it rains all the damn time.

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Are you canine whipped?

Lo and behold, Urban Dictionary has a term it’s dubbed “canine whipped.” And no, it’s not some 50 Shades of Grey sorta dealie. I think we’ve all heard of another “whipped” term used to describe a man that sounds like it would have to do with a feline (but doesn’t) and this is much the same – except the entity doing the “whipping” is a dog.

 Are you canine whipped?

When I think about my household in particular, I have to admit that my dogs pretty much have us wrapped around their little paws. Sure, they have a bit of discipline, but a cute little swish of their nugget tail or a lick on our hand and they practically get away with murder. But unlike the definition above, I think at some point we became aware of our being canine whipped, and either no longer care, or are so accustomed to the little insubordinate beasties that we forget.

Sometimes it’s amazing to me, especially with small dogs, that the dog can have the audacity to try and be the boss of an adult human. I mean, if there was something that was 10 times bigger than me, I sure as hell would do what I was told and know my place. Right? But not dogs. A fifteen pound dog can freely and expertly try to herd you through the house, “tell” you in no uncertain terms when it wants something, and have the nerve to ignore you when you tell it to do something. So cheeky!

But I guess we bring being “canine whipped” upon ourselves every time we willingly give over even a bit of our power to a little brazenly crafty fluffy face.

How about you? Do you ever feel canine whipped?

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Why do girl dogs hump?

girl dog humping Why do girl dogs hump?

photo credit: TimmyGUNZ via photopin cc

There is no demure way to put this. My petite flower Izzie is a dog that likes to hump other dogs. She has been doing this for years, and no amount of correction seems to deter her from this apparently fun activity. Thank goodness her enjoyment of mounting other dogs has not extended to humping human legs, but it’s embarrassing enough when it’s done to another dog, especially in public.

So, why does a girl dog hump other dogs and/or animate or inanimate objects? Here’s what I found out.

Expression of Sexuality. An unaltered (not spayed) dog may hump on things as an expression of her sexuality. I’ve seen chicks in a bar act like this, but didn’t really know dogs expressed their sexuality so blatantly. At any rate, Izzie has been spayed, so this is not the cause.

Dominance. Humping another dog may equate to “I’m the boss of you.” Hmm…this is right in her wheelhouse.

Playing. Sometimes when playing, humping can be an attention-getter (I’ll say!) – especially when a dog has less than wonderful social manners (oh, you noticed?). This can extend to humping toys, furniture and the like. To be honest, I’d almost rather Izzie humped a toy than her sister Maddie.

Sensory overload. If a dog is feeling overwhelmed, with, you know, all the feelings, it may hump. These feelings can include feeling confused, frustrated, anxious, etc. Glad people don’t do this, it would make for awkward lines at the DMV. Or would it?

dog hump doll 150x150 Why do girl dogs hump?And in my research on this topic, I discovered that people in the deep recesses of the internet have a soft spot for Spot trying to mount things. So much so, that there was apparently a dog sex doll on the market at one point (pictured). None of the links to the site work, so I’m assuming it wasn’t a big seller.

So, truth time, does your dog like to mount things? Sound off with your most embarrassing stories in the comments!

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My dog is an introvert

It was only recently that I learned, and subsequently identified with, the term introvert for my own benefit. Sure, I’d heard the term thrown around, and I assumed an introvert was sort of a homebody, and someone that didn’t necessarily like other people. Turns out this couldn’t be more untrue. An introvert can be very social, can even be the life of the party when they deem it necessary, they just aren’t energized by it. Exactly, I thought! Instead, an introvert can feel drained by forcing themselves to be “on,” and will need time alone to themselves to re-energize.

Just like my dog.

 My dog is an introvert

It isn’t any secret that Izzie wasn’t properly socialized. At the time, nearly eight years ago, I thought if you had another dog, your dog would become social with that dog. Yep, I completely missed the mark on what socialization meant for a dog. And the dog she had for company was sort of mental, so that helped even less. Flash forward many years, and Izzie is a dog that is fearful in situations she doesn’t know, doesn’t really enjoy the company of many other dogs, and feels out of sorts unless she is in her comfort zone of familiarity. That comfort zone includes being left to her own devices, and only playing with her younger sister when the mood strikes.

So, what now?

Is Izzie’s need to keep to herself a bad thing? Not really.

Do I need her to be the life of the party at the dog park? Not at all.

Does she need socialization to get over her fears? Absolutely.

So, while respecting her individuality as a dog that prefers the company of herself (plus pillows), I’ve been slowly working with her on her socialization. Slowly has been the keyword. She still doesn’t like leaving her comfort zone. She still is not quite sure why she should have to be out and about. And although she loses her mind with excitement the second you mention going somewhere in the car, she pants incessantly the entire trip.

Realizing my dog is introverted has made me realize that training works best when it’s done in short increments of time, and gives her time to “recharge” afterwards on her own. I’ve also learned that socialization and social aren’t necessarily the same thing. I want and need her to be acceptable around others (socialized), but she doesn’t have to love and seek out the company of others (social).

Have you had luck with training an introverted dog?

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