Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Mischief! November 21

A lot of people have truly shocking pictures of their dogs.

Dogs sitting inside an eviscerated frame that was a couch when people left the house an hour before. Dogs who obviously chewed the blinds right off of the windows. Dogs who killed the dragons that lived in their very own innocent dog beds.

I am a bad pet owner. I don't grab the camera when I see things like that (okay, so the bed is the only exampled I really have). I get rid of the evidence, without correction, which is very hard as a person to do, because the dog is obviously looking guilty, right? The dog must know what she did, right? Well, not really.

Okay, so as I'm cleaning up the destruction, I will occasionally point at the object and say "leave it!" because that is something Elka knows. Dog memory is funny. Chewing of that sort is comforting and, well, probably fun. It isn't "wrong" until the person comes home and is mysteriously angry, so the dog throws out appeasement behaviors to try to head off whatever the problem is. That's where "she looks guilty, she knows she was wrong" comes in. I firmly believe Elka is very very smart. Does she know she was wrong? I'm not sure; science says no. So, scientifically, can I have the only dog that does know? I doubt it. So maybe science is wrong, I don't know.

But, to the actual Elka-related mischief. When Elka was a puppy, we did not crate train her, but we did restrict her access to the rest of the house. So, we put up a baby gate, first with her just in the downstairs bathroom, but after that extending the range for the whole kitchen. She had her toys there, she had her bed there, she had her water there. All should be great, right? Well, mostly.

Baby Elka would stand against the corner in the kitchen, apparently, by the back door, and put her face against the corner there and chew. That's how I CSI'd the event, anyway;  I never actually caught her doing it. Painting the corner with hot sauce did nothing. She licked it off in delight, and it was a mix of Red Hot and Sriracha! Leaving her with a Kong with peanut butter in it didn't help, as I'd been doing that all along. She didn't seem to be actually swallowing any of what she chewed off, it all seemed to end up on the floor. Eventually, she just kinda stopped on her own. By that point, we could trust her well enough, house breaking wise, that we let her into the rest of the downstairs. And she hasn't chewed a wall since.


  1. elka, tsk tsk tsk. munching on the wall. did you get that habit from desmond? he's been through three doors, a handful of baby gates, and also some door frames. but--just like elka--he stopped more or less all on his own for seemingly no reason at all. as though he grew out of it. dogs are amazing like that. (btw, i totally side with science here on our pups not being able to understand what exactly we're mad about if we don't correct the behavior as it's happening. love your "leave it" application here!)

  2. Early on, Justus learned to "leave it." Amazingly, he was able to extrapolate the cue outside his crate to a bottle of furniture polish. I said "leave it" in a stern, low voice; Justus shook his head but for two hours, while I napped, neither he nor his co-hort in crime, Jedi TreeWalker, touched the bottle between them on the couch. Good boys!
    Sounds like Elka was exploring more than anything else :).

  3. I don't believe that Elka did that, it must have been someone else:)))
    LOL! Leroy likes hot sauce too!

    Thanks for joining the hope today:))


  4. Hi There,

    Elka's cute, innocent look is pawfect!!

    How could you possibly accuse her of these horrendous happenings?! Tee Hee

    I get up to lots of mischief, but I do it when Mum's there to show her what I do - I'm a bit of a show-off - I don't do it when Dad's there and I certainly don't do it when I'm left in the house on my own!! Tee Hee

    Keep up the good work Elka,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

  5. Elka is a clever girl - she was only trying to find a way out so she could come and find you *waggy tail*

  6. I know science says a dog can't know it's done wrong but the dog I had before Frankie, Chloe, disproved that theory to me. One day when I returned home from work I didn't get her usual joyous greeting. She was very subdued when she met me at the gate and I thought she was sick. As I went round the corner of the house I saw why. She'd destroyed her couch while I was at work. She'd never destroyed anything before so never been told off for it. How did she know I wouldn't be pleased with what she'd done?

  7. Killing dragons in their innocent bed? PUH-leeze! If she were a beagle, she'd go round and round and round and round and. . . you get the idea until the snakes were totally and thoroughly gone. Along with Mom's sanity.

    And yeah, we've lost a couch, numerous baseball caps, several seat belts (no more dogs unattended in the car - you know how expensive those are?), coffee table dowels, dogs beds, towel papers, etc. etc. Mostly from the Vizsla too. The beagle's too busy getting the snakes out of his bed.