When Management Will Do

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image-11-20-16-at-6-39-pmGreen fuzzy stuffing. Green fuzzy stuffing has been the bane of my existence for the last couple of days. But let me rewind a little. About a month ago we brought home an energetic 8 week-old puppy. She’s a typical puppy in that she will get into anything and everything!

Before we brought her home we had a nice dog bed in the corner of the living room. It had a hole in one corner, but had served Jake well for the last 3 years. Well, last week the puppy found the hole in the bed and started pulling the fuzzy green stuffing out of it. Every time I turned around she was at that bed, searching for the hole, trying to pull some stuffing out to chew on. I didn’t want to get rid of the bed because Jake loved to sleep in it and our hard wood floors are way less comfortable. But alas, it was causing me more anxiety than one inanimate object should!

I spent a few days redirecting her behavior to appropriate things to chew, restricting access to the area with the bed in it, and teaching her to lie in the bed instead of chewing on it. After a few days of some successes, some failures, and still green fuzz in my puppy’s mouth, I had an epiphany; this was not a training problem, this was a management problem.

So off I went to grab my needle and thread. In 10 minutes I had sewn up the hole. And guess what? No more green stuffing in puppy’s mouth or on my floor. Happy human!

Sometimes a problem doesn’t need training, it just needs some simple management.

With dogs we are always tempted to want to “train” the behavior out of a dog when a simple environmental change or change in our behavior will fix the problem in minutes. If we work on setting our dogs up for success by not leaving things around that they shouldn’t be chewing or getting into, we can also lessen the frustration in our lives and focus on training behaviors we actually need. The puppy was never going to stop pulling the stuffing out of the bed. It was way too much fun! So with a simple management strategy on my part, there is peace in my house again. Well at least peace in relation to the dog bed; she is after all a 13 week old puppy! 🙂