Plo Koon (named after the Jedi)

Plo Koon (named after the Jedi)



I love puggles.  They are trainable beagles.  My cousin had a beagle named Tovie (short for Beethoven) and took him to obedience class.  The handlers got commendations for patience and the dog flunked.

Because of the pug desire to please humans, Plo will come back if we don’t chase him.  He is trainable, and is a great tracker.  We give him treats by hiding them around the house, and watch him tear around like a kid at an Easter Egg hunt.  He knows if he should try certain areas just by smelling to see if we’ve walked there recently.  He has an amazing nose.

I did make one big mistake with Plo.  When he jumped up on a dad as a puppy, the dad growled at him and pushed him away, and then said that “he spoke ‘dog’ “.  I figured that growling at Plo was the way to communicate my displeasure.  What I didn’t realize was that when the dad had used that method, his own dogs were not there.  Whenever I used the trick to communicate my displeasure with his barking, Plo would be mean towards the dog the next time I saw them.  I growled more emphatically.  He was more emphatic about his growling and barking.

I later learned that Plo never thought of himself as being the problem.  I could never growl at him in his mind, so the growl must have been aimed at the other dog.  He would valiantly defend his master.  So I’ve spent the last year and a half undoing the previous year and a half of behavior damage.  I’m maybe halfway through the process.  It takes 7 times for humans to learn a behavior and 50 times to unlearn and relearn the behavior correctly.  I think dogs are quicker learners. It’s getting somewhat better, but not all owners are helpful to the process.  One owner will not slow down when approaching to let us figure out how best to pass or get out of the way.  She almost broke his jaw kicking him.  He still can be really bad close to home, where I used to practice heeling, so I no longer trust him, and introduce him to other dogs much more slowly, especially if his hackles are raised.

Because  the main purposes of the walk is to exercise both him and his nose, I let him stop to smell where his friends have been.  I noticed another walker doing the same, and noticed that she was having some of the same troubles I have, so I wonder if there is a connection with letting him stop and mark his territory, and his bad behavior.  Maybe there needs to be a book about troubleshooting common dog behavior problems.

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