Mixed Messages

Jessy, a confused mixed terrier breed was getting into trouble. As a happy puppy Jessy dragged objects from 15 year old Jenny’s bedroom. At first Jenny found Jessy’s antics funny as Jessy pranced around playing and showing off his find. Months latter this seemingly innocent play turned into damaged articles. Jenny had been trying to change Jessy’s behavior without results.

Jessy showed me Jenny was giving confusing cues. From Jessy’s view, his antics were encouraged with fun gestures and then yelled at as they played tug-o-war. Jessy’s experience was: play, get mad, play, get mad which confused him. “People,” Jessy said. “I don’t understand them.” After talking with Jenny she admitted she would giggle at his behavior and pull at articles from his mouth as she attempt to enforce the change she needed. I had a nice chat with Jessy showing him what was expected of him and a nice chat with Jenny on being responsible with her behavior with Jessy.

To help the situation even more. When Jessy was explaining his confusion, he showed me many interesting things all over Jenny’s room. I suggested she pick her things up from the floor so not to tempt a young dog. Jenny’s mom was pleased with this advice! Not only did Jessy change his behavior, but Jenny’s room is cleaner and becoming more responsible on many levels. Moral of the communication is: Be clear you are not giving your animal mixed messages.

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