Friday, July 18, 2008

Dog Dilemma

When we moved a year ago in June, part of what we required when looking for a new place was that they allowed pets, a dog specifically. We found that place and within a few weeks of moving in had found our new puppy, Hannah, a beagle mix who was adorable and about 6 months old. While we love our dog dearly, she has always been very demanding of attention and when she "thinks" she needs something. Lately, it has gotten worse. And I really just have no clue why.

We used to manage her by exercising her well. We'd go on a couple walks or out to the dog park, and then when we got home, she'd sleep for a few hours. By then it was usually later in the day and she was more mellow. She was almost always resting or sleeping by 8 o'clock. We'd taken her to obedience training, and she actually did pretty well. She responds mostly to treats, but if you ask her to sit or down, she most always will. She can also roll over, play dead, stay, come, the usual. We never taught her how to heel or walk very well, and I know that needs to be addressed, but the main problems now exist while at home.

In the last week, Hannah has been on super terror mode. She hasn't been resting after exercise, and she's been over the top demanding. If she barks and we try to ignore it so we don't reward her with attention, she'll start to bite at pillows, computer cords, the couch, us, and then we have to do something. We can't just let her tear our house apart. When we do get up to give her attention she starts to race around the house, barking, in a game of "catch me if you can." I tend to get really frustrated and angry with this, and it doesn't create a very happy home atmosphere when you have two frustrated adults and a dog that thinks it's a game.

I often exclaim about how this isn't the kind of dog I wanted. But then again, she may be acting like she is because of something I've done. I can't explain her behavior, but it's not like she has any other influences. Something that myself or my wife are doing is influencing her behavior, so we have to identify it and change it. I'm going to have to start searching for sources on curbing demanding dogs' behavior, and also making sure I keep my frustration in check. I don't want to get rid of Hannah, even if sometimes it seems like there's no hope, but I still believe we can train her to be better.

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