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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Intentional or not, dogs learn

One of the best tips I ever read regarding training dogs was something along the lines of “even when you’re not intentionally teaching them, dogs learn.” In other words, if you aren’t correcting a behavior in your dog that you don’t want, you are essentially condoning that behavior.

Umm….oops.

I have to admit that I haven’t been consistent in the training of our dogs. And as a result, which should come to no surprise to anyone, they have a few…err…issues.

 Intentional or not, dogs learnBelieve it or not, Maddie graduated from not one, but two, training classes. Here she is pictured, with my husband, as she passed level two training a few years ago. I’m still convinced it was sort of a pity pass. Maybe like “no Schnoodle left behind” or something?

At any rate, Maddie is actually a very smart dog. But Maddie has focus issues. When she can focus, she’s a rockstar, but focus is not her strong suit. As a result, we stopped working with her as much because it seemed frustrating for everyone involved. She also has barking issues, and everything we were trying wasn’t really helping. She is an awesome and loving dog, and she’s mostly fine in the house, but not really a dog we could take places. And we wanted to change that.

So, a few weeks ago, we bit the bullet and signed up for an evaluation with a veterinary behaviorist. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve admittedly watched a few episodes of what I assumed were animal behaviorists on tv, and frankly, it’s usually a problem with the people. I became prepared for the behaviorist to tell me it was entirely my husbands our fault.

As it turns out, we didn’t really understand where Maddie was coming from. She had needs that weren’t being met. And our approach wasn’t necessarily what was right for her, even if it had worked with other dogs. Speaking to a veterinary behavioral professional really gave me some insight into what it is going to take for Maddie to effectively learn what she should learn.

Not very far into our reinvigorated focus on training, Maddie loves to learn and be guided. She has been doing well. She is not very food motivated, but is eager to please, and loves to be praised for doing the right thing. This time, what Maddie learns will be intentional.

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