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Be a Doggie Detective

man looks at a dog through a magnifying glass with the word CLUE below

“Why will my dog go in the pool at doggie camp, but won’t when we’re at home?”

Unravel the mystery of your dog’s behavior.

Is there something going on with your dog that has you baffled? Think of it as an opportunity to be a doggie detective. Rather than a problem to solve it’s a mystery to unravel.

Our friend Michelle, shared her experience and feelings of confusion regarding her dog’s enthusiasm about going into a kiddie pool and splashing about when at doggie camp but not at home.

To help her put on her detective hat we asked her to think about 3 things that are different at camp compared to home. Here’s what she had for us:

At the doggie camp

  1. It is completely fenced and all the dogs are off-leash
  2. There are dogs there (friendly, fun dogs)
  3. There is lots of novelty there – my dog loves it!

At home

  1. Our backyard is not completely fenced, so I keep my dog on a leash outdoors with a longline
  2. There are no other dogs at my place
  3. My dog does not like being bathed

Looking closely at the environment will always offer clues!

Behavior, whether ours or our dogs, is always changing based on where we are and what’s going on.

You may sit on the couch at home one way if you are alone and another way if you have visitors. Your dog may sit beautifully for you at home but won’t when other people are around. Your dog may be more inclined to jump in the pool because other dogs are around.

Be a Dog Detective

Here are some questions we asked when our friend Michelle shared her mystery with us:

  • Did Oz get hot because he was romping with pals, making the water more inviting?
  • Does he want to make sure he gets in first, ahead of the other dogs?
  • Is his relationship with water at home a reminder of unwanted bathtime?

Change the environment to change the behavior

If Michelle is motivated to get Ozzy interested in the kiddie pool at home what could she do?

  • Provide exercise/playtime just before a pool invite. Cooling off in a pool may be a more welcomed opportunity after a bit of romping.
  • Spend a few minutes each week on a gentle co-operative care routine, which will improve comfort/tolerance with routine handling or bathing.
  • Change the location of the pool and the amount of water in it.
  • Change the way Ozzy can access the pool.

Notice we are changing the ‘what’s and where’s, in order to change the way the dog behaves!

Have fun looking for clues and thinking about behavior in a new light! Enjoy.

Ozzy Blue the one and only at Camp Yellow Dog – video credit Julie Davidson ❤️

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