Dogs have peculiarities and most of the times two dogs of the same breed and age may show opposite traits. ‘My one year old dachshund is extremely well behaved in our presence and cent percent toilet trained, but in our absence he just goes crazy. He soils the sofa and has ruined it by digging out the foam. Not satisfied by digging and chewing, he even poops on the floor near the sofa,’ says Dr. Manish Khanna an eminent orthopedic surgeon at Lucknow. Many other dog lovers narrate almost similar tales that their dog can walk for miles early in the morning, without shedding a single drop of urine and once he returns he prefers to do his job in the sitting room/kitchen/bedroom and even on the bed.
Yet there are many other dog lovers who inform that their dachshund remains unruffled whether they are around or not, he never soils inside the house and never ever chewed anything except his toys.
The owners of ‘naughty’ dogs claim that their dogs know that they are committing a mistake and yet do it out of sheer revenge for having been left alone in the house or for having been disciplined.
Alas, it is not so. The word ‘revenge’ does not exist in the doggy dictionary or parlance. In his world living alone all by himself, awaiting the pack members for the whole day to return is something unimaginable. If left free in the open, such a dog would prefer to venture out on the streets to locate his pack members and may keep searching till he is completely exhausted. In a doggy society, the pack moves and hunts together and lives together all the time. When a puppy is two months old, the dam goes in search of food and may return after half an hour or so. But the pup has his littermates to play with. These puppies may all cry together if the dam does not return within a certain limit of time-generally two hours. But the limit is certainly not from 9 AM to 5 PM, like that of an office goer.
In my earlier blogs I have often repeated that dog is a pack animal. Domesticated dog considers his mater and the family members as his pack. One of them may be the leader. Now imagine the scenario, the puppy or the for that matter even the adult is left alone in the house as the owners leave for work and the kids leave for the schools. As long as they are home, they cuddle their pooch, talk with him, play with him and presume that he understands their lingua. Unfortunately he does not. He is a creature of routine. And he prefers the Sunday routine of the family, rather than sulk alone during the rest of the week.
Left alone to himself, he is at a loss to understand what to do. He is at times scared too. Plus dogs have a unique kind of bladder. He can hold his urine during the walks. If he is an adult dog, he may even mark all possible places with droplets of his urine, rather than do it in one go. Always remember that he is a dog and not a human being. But the problem is that the dog lovers humanize the dog so much that they begin to imagine that their dog is one of them. On the other hand he believes that the owners are of his ‘type’ only.
There begins the tussle. The owners treat him, punish him or praise him like their own child. Some of these dog understand, while most of the long sentences remain a gibberish for him, He on the other hand expects a pat, caress, sweet tones or even a growl from the owner. Tones matter a lot for him. Plus his uncanny vision makes him watch your facial muscles contort as you really get angry on him for ruining your sofa. Poor thing, he has done what came to him naturally. By digging the sofa, he may be trying to create a hiding for himself in the absence of you all. Or he may be on a virtual hunting spree.
While you had taken him on the walk, initially both of you were happy. Suddenly, you begin to sulk, as he was not doing his job. And he, the visionary, realizes that. And while trying to gauge your mood he holds it, instead keeps an eye on you, while his nose works on the ground. It is getting late for the office, you begin to think. He makes that out too from your increased speed and jerks on the leash. He holds it fully now. Both of you return home. Your angry looks make him draw his ears backwards and he sits in his place, chary of you. Finally, it is time and you leave, giving him long sermons-which he doesn’t understand. Left alone, he begins to wonder, then howl and then begin his self- devised game of digging or chewing. All of a sudden the pressure of the bladder unbearable and he evacuates. He does it all over because he has been holding it since past 12 or may be 14 hours now.
Try to place him at his place. You will realize what I mean.
Okay you have understood, but now you may ask, how to manage all this? How to make him not to damage the furniture and not to soil the place?
There are some thumb rules, you must understand them. Dog cannot understand your language. He only learns by association of ideas and repetition. But on the other hand he can make out your state of mind, far better than your spouse. He can discern the lines of anger/fatigue/anger/happiness on your face. So always be calm and if even you are angry with him, just act that you are angry. The moment he corrects himself-again perform the act of showering all the love on him.
The next rule you must know is that as puppies they are like water balloons, bursting anywhere and everywhere in the house-unless you have trained the pup to stay in his cage/pen. Take him at out regularly and he will soon learn to make nose to attract your attention. As adults they have a system whereby they can pee in drops at every pole or tree worth marking. Therefore do not expect that your dog will do his job at one place. Unlike our society, the whole garden or the road is his toilet and he will do wherever he thinks it is right to leave a ‘visiting card’. Yes their urine is their visiting card for other dogs to know.
From puppyhood encourage the pup to do his job on command. Or the moment he begins to pee, you give a whispered command (choice of word is yours). Soon he will associate this word with that act. He will also associate that when he does it outside the house it makes you immensely happy-never forget to show that happiness.
Mind you once you have a dog you have to learn to be a good actor and perform the act throughout his life. Once a bond is developed between you two and the dog knows that ruining your sofa or home brigs anger on your face and doing his job at the designated spot makes you happy-he will never try to make you unhappy.
Also remember that if dogs had the word revenge in their dictionary then today neither you would have been here reading this blog or me writing it for you, because I too was a youngster once and used to get angry with my dogs in real and some or the other brute of mine would have taken the revenge by now!