Dog Behavior Inside the Home and Outside

dog chasing squirrel

Anyone else out there who has a dog with split personality? Y'know like, angel at home, beast outside.

Because I do.

When my dog, DJ, is at home or work with me, he's Mr. Chill, either snoozing or shadowing me like I'm Master of the Universe. Indoors, my scruffy terrier is as meek, mild-mannered and respectful as the late Mr. Rogers. It goes further, my wiry-haired ragamuffin is just as polite when he has a sleepover at Uncle Howard's place or at BFF Cristina's love nest.

A canine angel I tell you.

But when DJ is outside with me, even on a leash, he's another person. It's as if his terrier instinct to hunt, explore (and socialize) override all of his training. Still, I'm sure that a good trainer would have this misbehavior in check. In fact, when I did obedience school with DJ, the trainers made us practice different exercises to ensure that inside dog = outside dog. 

Easier said than done if you have a terrier, a hound, a pointer or a husky. These types of dogs were born to be wild, to hunt, to track, to run. They have to be independent, make split second decisions how to capture or kill their prey, how to navigate in untamed land. I see this every time we encounter a squirrel or pigeon during a walk. DJ's urge to answer his calling takes over.

And I indulge him to a certain degree. It's okay by me if he lunges, growls or barks at a critter - it's just my boy expressing his DNA. The way I see it, we already strip away enough of a dog's natural dignity. We castrate or spay them, train them roll over for a scrap of meat or even sniff out bombs. And I get it - this is the pact we must follow so that the human - domesticated canine partnership works.

Meanwhile, at the end of the day I want a best friend, not a slave, not a serf, not a lackey. Ergo, I toss my dog training manual into the bonfire of stupid human rules and watch it burn baby burn. When we're outside, my dog shall be a dog no matter what they say.

It's his right.

 

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