Why Good Dogs Develop Bad Behavior

Originally published March 31, 2016

The dogtor is in

Jasper has been with us for a week now. He came to us from the local animal shelter because he had been returned to them from a rescue because his bad behavior was deemed “unmanageable”. I was told this meant that he is extremely energetic, jumps on people and cannot be dissuaded from this. This is bad behavior in a small dog.  In one that is around 70 pounds it can prove terrifying to an unsuspecting recipient of such affection. And he does mean it as affection or play.

Jasper exhibiting good behavior not bad behavior
Jasper doesn’t look like a terrorist does he?

This description immediately popped a couple of presupposition flags in my mind:

1) It seems this behavior is often the result of a family adopting a puppy but making no attempt to train it. While it’s an adorable ball of fluff, jumping up on your legs eager for attention is cute. When it becomes a 30 pound dog, it’s less endearing. When it’s 50 or more pounds, the poor dog ends up at the local shelter because it’s a major nuisance and “they can’t do anything with it”. So of course this bad behavior is the dog’s fault. The truth is that no one took the effort to teach it good behavior.

Blondie’s Dog Cabin in the Woods

Originally published Jun 24, 2016

When Cochise first came to live with us we erected a quick sleeping shelter out of a wire fence panel, a tarp and an old barn door. It was shaped like the top of an old west covered wagon using the door as a floor and the fencing hooped over to support the tarp. Cochise quickly decided it was lots of fun to jump on top of his wickiup and flatten it out. This required that I crawl inside to push it back into shape with my neck and shoulders. It didn’t take long before we decided we’d best move on to a permanent structure.

dog cabinSo Marie and I built Cochise a sturdy wooden cabin with a shingled roof that hinges up for cleaning the interior and an entry vestibule separated from his sleeping area by a wind baffle.

That cabin served him well until he became a full-time house dog. Then it served many other foster dogs. Some of these were none too gentle on it and repairs were made over the years, but it still stands and is quite solid … and very heavy.

Jasper on Sharing and Slyness

Cochise tells the tale

In our house we learn to share. If we get a new hoofie, we take turns at it (because if we each get one we still want the one someone else has). Blondie has a brand new hoofie. Jasper wants the brand new hoofie. What will Jasper do?

Jasper decided to go play ball instead.

Later Jasper got his turn. Blondie found something else to amuse herself with.

He chewed the hoofie for a long while. Then decided to go back to playing ball. He dropped the hoofie in HairyFace’s lap and said, “Watch that for me.” then bounded off down the hall.

Blondie asked, “That’s not how it’s supposed to work, is it?”

“I don’t know … no one has tried that before.” Said Hairy.

“I don’t think that’s how it works. We share.”

“You’re right, Blondie, here.”

Blondie took the hoofie back to her lounging spot and resumed chewing.

When Jasper got tired of playing ball he tried to bribe Blondie into giving him the hoofie again.

“Wanna trade Blondie? I’ll let you play with my Redball …”

Jasper was not happy about Blondie’s refusal.

To ease tensions, HairyFace put a dab of peanut butter in the Kong and gave that to Jasper. That made him happy.

But pretty soon Blondie offered a trade of her own.

“You want the hoofie, Jasper? I’ll trade you this hoofie for that kong.”

Jasper smiled slyly,”Ohhkaaayyyy … here.”

Although the peanut butter was gone, the scent was still there, Blondie still enjoyed licking it. Both were happy.

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Jasper Invents Roof Fetch

Cochise tells the tale

It was a pleasant late-summer morning and early enough in the day to still be cool. HairyFace and Jasper worked the garden while Blondie Bear snoozed in the cabin. Lulu looked on from her pen. She wanted to be outside, but Jasper still spooked her: he’s a little too enthusiastic for her tastes. Me? I was attending important business inside the house: I was making sure the snuggle-beds didn’t escape and run off while everyone else was goofing off outside.

Jasper tomatoes garden gardeningJasper likes working the garden with Hairy and will raise a fuss if Hairy heads down to the barn without him. Jasper feels it’s his DUTY to help (and he likes to eat cherry tomatoes).

They spent quite a while watering, and weeding, and harvesting. When it was all done, HairyFace took his basket of produce and headed to the house. But Jasper had other ideas.

Jasper came galloping past Hairy and stood in his way, holding the pinkie-ball in his mouth and looking hopeful.

“Ohhhh, you’d like to play some fetch before we go inside?”

Jasper dropped the ball and it rolled down the hill almost to Hairy’s feet. Hairy set the basket of garden goodies on the roof of the cabin (where Blondie Bear was still snoozing). And picked up the ball. Jasper got set to run.

Hairy tossed the ball out along side the walkway, Jasper tore out after it. He snagged the ball as it rolled down the hill, tossed it in the air, caught it, tossed it again, pounced on the ball when it hit the ground. Finally he grabbed the ball and came running back to where Hairy waited for him. He dropped the ball at Hairy’s feet and Hairy tossed it again. More antics, then the return. This time Jasper added a new twist to the game.

They played fetch (with this new twist) for about twenty minutes before Jasper finally dropped the ball and let it roll away, “I’m done paying now, lets go inside.”

Hairy just chuckled, Jasper’s a funny fellow. Smart, athletic, and loving, but also such a clown. He’s quite entertaining.

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Jasper Sneaks A Smooch

Jasper and Blondie are sitting together, enjoying a pleasant July afternoon at the cabin.

Jasper-Blondie porch settin 160725 (1)
Talking, relaxing and being friends.
Jasper-Blondie porch settin 160725 (2)
Jasper begins whispering sweet nothings in Blondie’s ear.
Blondie does not rebuff him.
Jasper-Blondie porch settin 160725 (3)
Feeling bold, Jasper sneaks a quick lick on the jaw.
Jasper-Blondie porch settin 160725 (4)
Surprised by the move, Blondie simply blushes … and smiles.
Self-satisfied, Jasper acts nonchalant.

They sit quietly for a while, then Jasper decides to show her how dogly he is by trotting off to patrol the fences and be sure their play space is secure. Blondie just smiles: Jasper can be sweet when he wants to.

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Jasper: Barn Dog

Cochise tells the tale

HairyFace often lets Jasper out of his pen in the morning while Hairy does his gardening. By that time all the rest of us have had a chance to relieve ourselves, and patrol the fences, and have gone back inside. Sometimes Blondie stays outside to watch Hairy work. When she does, she often sits in the door of the barn to stay out of the sun, but have a good view of what’s going on.

On this particular day, Blondie decided to go inside: there was a threat of rain in the air. Jasper had the yard to himself. He wandered about for a while, sniffing at things. He came to say “hey” to Hairy and get some scratching. He played with a ball for a while. Then he disappeared.

Hairy called, “Jasper: where are you?”, expecting to see him emerge from “the chute”: the pathway to the back door of the house. Sometimes he sits on the back porch staring at the door wishing he could go inside again.

Jasper Is a Problem Solver

Cochise, on problem
Cochise tells the tale

Jasper is good at problem solving. Jasper loves to play ball. He plays fetch and even catch with a Peoples, but he is perfectly capable of playing by himself too. When it’s cool problem solverhe runs the yard, tossing the ball or batting it with his front feet and chasing after it. When it’s warm, he drops the ball over the edge of the walkway (where it’s shady) and chases it down the hill. When it’s hot he prefers to lie on a Coolaroo and just fiddle with the ball.

The problem with this form of play is that sometimes he pushes the ball over the edge of the Coolaroo and it rolls underneath. When that happens, he has to fuss until a Peoples come to get it back for him, or …

Jasper’s First Night In the House

Cochise, on
Cochise tells the tale

A padawan dog’s first visit inside the house is often short. They get to come in and tour the food eating room and living room (which are essentially one large space), everything else is closed off. When they’ve got the lay of the land, so to speak, they go into their crate, get a nice chewie to amuse themselves with and we see if they can be calm.

Jasper is known for his high excitement acrobatics.

While he has calmed down A LOT since he first arrived here, we were expecting that he would not enjoy being crated and his first visit would be short.

Jasper Is Eager To Step Up

Volt is on The Bus and rolling toward Pennsylvania and the Fur Friends in Need rescue that will help him find a loving forever home.

Blondie-Cochise sticking close together 3Blondie and I have been kind of sad about his departure, so we’ve stayed close to one another all day long. Jasper would like to join in on our “togetherness”.

While HairyFace sanitized Volts crate, Jasper watched closely, “Volt’s gone, so that’s going to be for me, right?” Every time Hairy headed for the house, Jasper got all excited and started running vertical laps. He hasn’t done much of that for a while. He’s really eager to take Volt’s place as House Dog Apprentice.

Jasper Gets a Coolaroo of His Own

Cochise tells the tale

A while back, Nicelady bought us a Coolaroo. That’s an outside dog bed: one that can be left out in the weather because there is no padding to get wet just a trampoline-like hammock supported by a steel frame that allows air to flow under. We all love it! Jasper loves it too and spends a good part of his play time clowning around on it.

coolaroo line-up
Lining up for our turns on the Coolaroo

Jasper has proven (mostly) non-destructive and NiceLady decided, since it’s getting hot, Jasper should have a Coolaroo in his pen to keep him comfy between play times. So she made that happen.