The time we yelled at Cooper

It’s never been our style to punish our dogs.  We believe that being firm and consistent, along with reward-based training is the way to go.  There are plenty of folks out there who are much more qualified than I am to go into the details of dog training, so I’ll leave that to them. I only bring it up now because I recently found this excerpt from the book “The Culture Clash” by Jean Donaldson.

Even though I’ve never been a “yeller,” those few short paragraphs hit me right in the gut.  I immediately thought of our young Cooper, and the only time we ever yelled at him. 

Cooper is a sensitive soul.  It was not too long after he joined us at Foster House, and I don’t even remeber what he did wrong – maybe he chewed up something he shouldn’t have?  Who knows, that’s not the point of the story.  Whatever it was, once we discovered his indiscretion we scolded him sternly – I wouldn’t even necessarily classify it as “yelling,” we just put on our “you’re in trouble” super-low voice and said something along the lines of “Cooper!  What. Did. You. Do?”  Poor little Cooper promptly rolled over on his back and peed on himself.

Foster Dad and I vowed then and there to never yell at him again.  It’s not necessary, and it’s not effective.  Cooper wants to please his People with every ounce of his being – sometimes he tries so hard to figure out what you want with him that he actually quivers.  Coop is smart.  He is loyal.  And he will do anything his People ask him to do…as long as he can understand what it is he’s being asked to do.  

And Cooper still chills out on his back sometimes, but now it’s more like this…

…and this…

…and sometimes this…

Cooper is still looking for his furever family!  If you’d like to add this sensitive soul to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.  Gorns need not apply.

…and don’t forget to VOTE for COOPER!

~

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5 Comments

Filed under Our Foster Journey

5 responses to “The time we yelled at Cooper

  1. Look at him! The Mr. and I seriously considered coming over to your house when we were in Nashville and scooping up Cooper and taking him home. We even thought about how long of a drive it would be and how much we would pay in rental car fees. How has this guy NOT BEEN ADOPTED?

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  2. You are in good company, I assure you. I think the norm is to realize it’s the wrong approach right after you do it! Been there, hope to never, ever go back!

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  3. That excerpt is really interesting. I often think of training as a way of teaching a dog english. Obviously really simple english, lol, but language all the same. So when you say \”Ball\” or \”Sit\” or whatever, your dog knows what you\’re trying to convey. The important part of that though is the \”teaching\” aspect. Without it dogs just don\’t understand what the heck is going on and it\’s unrealistic to expect them to. When people tell me they have a \”problem dog\” I always ask them if they\’ve actually taught the dog what they want him to do instead, and almost invariably the answer is no 😦

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  4. Anytime we have friends or family who are looking at getting a dog, I suggest Cooper! If we weren’t limited to two in our apartment, we’d adopt him as the 3rd member of our pocket pittie club.

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  5. I too have messed up a few training opportunities, as I like to call them, with our dogs. I just try to learn from my mistake and move on.

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