Barking Blondes: Chewing on technology
Dogs are very clever creatures, they quickly learn what gets our attention. Most dogs have their owners very well trained to respond to their barking, chewing, digging and general mischievious behaviour.
Our bull breeds, Molly and Matilda are experts at advanced attention seeking behaviour. This usually begins when we’re on the phone – mobile or landline, doesn’t matter. Speaking to the ‘voice machine’ triggers them into either barking or on occasion leg humping to divert our attention away from the phone call and onto them.
When both were puppies, we found our mobile phones in their dog beds complete with teeth marks, and our TV remotes (another favourite) buried behind cushions or under the bed.
We think it’s more than commendable that dogs are so bright and intuitive that they know the resources that are important to us. Their task therefore is to manipulate us away from these gadgets. Along with favourite shoes, handbags, and front door keys, modern gadgets are top of the doggy destroy hit list!
At least, this is what a recent survey suggests. Apparently the family mutt is costing UK households over £3.5bn in the course of their lifetime. It also revealed that dogs are the clumsiest pet followed by cats, parrots, rabbits and hamsters – both notorious for chewing through cables.
Chewing, biting or slobbering over household appliances accounts for 60 per cent of the damage. Whilst more than 20 per cent of pets break devices by knocking them down the toilet or spilling a drink on it. Over 18 per cent of pets destroy belongings by vomiting or even urinating on them. Yet only five per cent of dogs have buried a household item in the garden.
More than a third of owners put their pet’s destructive behavior down to boredom. Although 27 per cent say they wanted attention, another 15 per cent say they broke something because they were jealous of another pet. Even two per cent believe their pet behaved badly because it is depressed.
Whatever the reason the dog wins by destroying the gadget. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learnt in your dog’s behaviour. Fido is the antithesis of technology, and for savvy dog owners they’re the perfect anti-dote to smartphone overload. Nothing beats a walk with your dog to de-stress and balance the time spent on emails or tweets.
Spending a bit more constructive time with your dog might be the answer to their fight against gadgets. Create a win-win situation where you get the non-technological benefits from your dog like smiling more. Get fitter and reduce your stress levels by hanging out with your dog. Take some simple steps to create some boundaries and keep electrical equipment out of your dog’s reach.
Turn speaking on the phone into a game for your dog that’s rewarded. Let Fido know that by getting into his dog bed whilst you chat, his reward will be a tasty Kong stuffed with something delicious.
We’ve been living with dogs for over 30,000 years. As we domesticated them, they’ve adapted to our lifestyles. In the past 20 years the number of gadgets in our lives has risen dramatically. We’re absorbed by smart phones, iPods, iPads, apps, and social media, perhaps we need to step back and remember what life was like without Twitter!
Dogs can help lead the way!
‘Barking Blondes’ by Anna Webb & Jo Good, published by Hamlyn, £12.99dogs
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