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Counterproductive Behavior In Dogs

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Dear Dogs,

In an effort to better manage the peaceful nature of our residence, I have prepared a list of counterproductive behaviors that I have observed you participating in. Please take a moment to review and memorize the following items of concern. (Please note that the cats’ list of counterproductive behavior has already been posted). Thank you for your help on this matter.

With love,

“The Humans”

Guarding Food:

Guarding your food from members of the household is counterproductive. If you’ll recall, I was the one who gave you the food, and I will retain the power to take it away. Walking past you while you eat is not a direct threat, sometimes it is necessary for me to do in order to reach the door. There is no reason to growl, snarl, bare your teeth, or hunker over the bowl.  If I wanted to take your food away from you, I would not have given it to you to begin with.

Softening Food:

Placing your hard dog food in your clean water bowl is counterproductive. You cannot make a stew, because you are not allowed to use the stove unattended, and if it is not warmed up, it is simply wet kibble. If you choose to engage in this type of behavior, I cannot guarantee a continuous supply of clean water, as even I have to go to work at times.

Growling at Nothing:

Staring down a dark hallway and growling at nothing, immediately after the humans have watched a scary movie, is counterproductive. This serves only to frighten the humans into thinking that they have an evil spirit in the house. If there is not an evil spirit in the house, it is counterproductive to make people think that there is.

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Fetching:

There are two parts to the game of “Fetch”. First, you fetch the ball, then you bring it back. “Fetch” is a game that has occurred throughout the history of human domestication of dogs. It is unproductive to fetch the ball, then run away from the human with it in your mouth. That results in a different game altogether called, “Keep Away”. “Keep Away” is a human game, not a dog game. In order for me to throw the ball again, I must have it, and I refuse to chase after you to get it, because then it is just a game of me chasing a dog, and while it is fun for you, it makes me look silly.

Hiding:

It is counterproductive to hide from burglars. You have one job in your life, and that is to protect your humans. Alternatively, it is counterproductive to show the burglar around the house, pointing out interesting things that he or she may have missed on the first run. Burglars are not your friends.

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Barking:

Barking is counterproductive (unless there is a person trying to break into the house). Lying under the table with another dog and barking into their face is unproductive. Barking at the automated litter box is unproductive – it is a machine – it does the exact same thing every time, and does not propose a threat to you. Barking to get attention is also inappropriate. People do not enjoy having giant dog muzzles in their face at any time, but particularly when they are barking at them, just because they want some attention. Please drop us a note if you feel neglected in any way. Barking should only be done when you are guarding the house from an actual intruder.  Just as a side note, intruders do not consist of mailmen, Fed-Ex people, Grandma and Grandpa, kids, friends, or cats.

Eating Credit Cards:

Chewing up credit cards, checkbooks, dollar bills or currency of any kind is counterproductive.  These are the things that we use to purchase your food, toys, dishes, and beds, as well as to provide you medical attention.  Chewing up money only serves to hurt yourself.  Please stay out of our wallets and purses.

Eating Cactus and Porcupine:

Attempting to eat cactus or porcupine is counterproductive. If you do choose to sample these items, attempting to pull the quills/spines out with your paws is not recommended.  It is best to come directly to the human so that they can easily remove the items; this is one reason why we have opposable thumbs. (On the same note, it is not productive to snap, growl, or run away from a human when we are doing this.)

Nosing through Garbage:

Nosing through the garbage is counterproductive behavior. The garbage is placed in the garbage can because it is just that, garbage. It is not productive to pull garbage out and shred it on the floor. You are not a mechanized paper shredder. If we have placed something in the garbage can, we have done so because we have fully investigated the contents, and have deemed it unworthy of remaining in the refrigerator.  We do not need a second opinion – we have attended college and can determine the difference between garbage and food.  On the same note, if you see us walking to the garbage can after cleaning up the mess that you have made, it is unproductive to run past us in the other direction, proudly holding more garbage in your mouth.

Mouthing:

If you don’t know what it is, please do not put it into your mouth. Some things are very bad for dogs, and result in a trip to the veterinarian. Keys, plants, bugs, poisonous toads, snakes, porcupine, cactus, knives, empty cans, and all forms of plastic should be avoided.

Sulking:

(For the coyote) Wild coyotes don’t sulk when they are told not to torture smaller dogs. They, in fact, do not enjoy torturing other animals at all. Please think about your noble ancestors prior to engaging in this type of counterproductive behavior. The other animals are not here for your entertainment, and you should not want to tease them or threaten them. Sulking is counterproductive behavior, and should not be engaged in when you are disciplined.

Biting:

Biting is not only counterproductive, it is illegal. Yes, even dogs are subject to human laws.  The result of biting a human is 8-16 days in isolation at the veterinarian’s office, or worse, the county dog prison, and that is true even if you have had your rabies shot. Taking your current way of life under consideration, I can assure you that the county dog prison is not a place you enjoy.  People do not like to be bitten, and there is no reason for doing this unless that person is threatening your owner. In the event that situation occurs, your owner will let you know when it is appropriate to use force. (Please do not attempt to make that determination yourself.)

Herding:

(for the puppy) Herding people, cats, dogs, and other animals with your sharp little milk teeth is counterproductive. We are not cattle. Most of the life in this house consists of pack animals, not herd animals, and it is therefore inappropriate to herd us. If you feel the need to herd, you can feel free to herd toys, but humans do not like bruises on our legs, and the coyote will eat you if you try to move him.

Being Lap Dogs When You’re Not Lap Dogs:

You consist of a 90 lb. coyote, a 60 lb. beagle, and a 30 lb. chow. To jump into our laps is counterproductive behavior. You’re liable to hurt someone. The couch is not designed to support that kind of weight and our laps are simply not big enough. Please have some respect for yourselves. We are happy to move to the floor in order to pet you, you simply need to ask.

Grooming:

(again for the coyote) A few notes on grooming – it is a necessary activity, particularly when you are in a constant state of shedding. I should not have to muzzle you to brush out your coat. I should not have to threaten you to come over to me, simply because I hold a brush. The other dogs are not laughing at you – they are afraid of you. They will not make fun of you after you are brushed. And I promise never to put a bow in your hair.

Sleeping all day:

Sleeping all day is counterproductive. It would be okay to sleep all day, if you didn’t stay up all night when the humans are trying to sleep. Playing games like “In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle” all night with the cats does not begin when the humans go to bed for the night. Playtime should be done in the early morning hours when it is cool outside, and prior to 9:00 p.m.

Refusing to Share The Bed:

The bed is for the humans. Although it is a large bed, there is simply not enough room for a coyote, a beagle, a chow mix, 14 cats, and two grown adults. We have assigned comfortable, designated sleeping areas for all of you.  Please use them.

Circling:

Circling three times before you lie down is counterproductive behavior. We have tile floors; you will not make them softer by stomping them prior to lying down. You have a bed, and why you insist on circling before lying down on the tile floor, and not circling when lying on the bed, is beyond me.

Replacing Animals:

Animals that are in the house, stay in the house. Animals that are outside of the house, stay outside of the house. It is counterproductive to lure a cat outside, then bring a pigeon indoors in its place, simply because pigeons can fly and are more fun to chase. The humans decide who gets to stay in the house, not the dogs. It is unproductive to “trade” animals simply because you think they will be more fun.

Thank you for your cooperation. Please read and memorize this list of counterproductive behaviors and bear in mind that they have been created for your own safety.

With Love,

The Pack Leader


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