“My Dog Never Did That Before!”

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

The idea for this post has been floating around in my head for a while now.  My ideas starting bubbling to the surface  soon  after adopting my new  dog Beck this past March.  In the past 6 months Beck has done a lot of horrifying really bad,  things, that have added quite a bit of stress to my life.  Here is the short list of his naughties in no particular bad dog order.


-Chased a  bike off leash and bikes and  motorcycles while on leash

-Stole food

-Pushed his way out the storm door and bolted

-Once loose  Beck likes to run in wide circles, as fast as the dickens

-Lunged at kids getting in my car

-Snarky leash greetings to other dogs/reactive

-Fence running

-Nearly dislocated my rotor cuff on leash going after damn squirrels

-Big time award winning fence jumper

-Guarded  my bedroom from my other dog

-Crazy barking when anyone or anything walks or drives down the street

-Spins in super fast circles to the left on his way out the back door


We rescue folks tell people, a dog’s true personality comes out over time.  A new dog’s early behavior is often referred to as the honey period and to be honest, I am still in the honeymoon period with my new dog.  He is totally sweet, super smart and athletic, and we love him to pieces, but he is also  more than a little tweaked in the head.  Actually one of the reasons Beck  was my first failed foster in over 13 years of rescue, was that I glimpsed his looney tunes while he was in foster care with me. In my gut I knew that Beck  would be returned if he was lucky.  Most likely I thought that in a pet home without proper training and a few jobs to do,  Beck  would end up miserable or maybe even dead.

I don’t think there are any dog lovers who haven’t at one time or another been put off by something their dog did and exclaimed to the nearest person “my dog never did that before!”

Our dogs are indeed dogs and they will do things that dogs do.  It should not be shocking when they do indeed act like dogs because hello…they are dogs!


Cheer up, we are not alone!

-Jake  ran up to a perfect stranger on the beach  and rammed his  head in the guy’s   crotch to say hello.

-Lila  stole a diaper out of the diaper pail and brought it to the dining room during a dinner party….and then she rolled in it.

-Grace ate a 2 day old couch.

-Sola ate a leather chair and matching ottoman to the tune of 3K.

-Gooba ate a parakeet.

-Tiger dug holes  in the underside of his owner’s king side bed to hide his bones.  His owner found out when she fell through clear to the floor.

-Prudence thought the bathmat in the bathroom was her personal potty area.

-Cael stole his kid’s lovey stuffed bear and buried it in the yard after eating it’s eyes and ears.  I think that child is still crying.

-Mousie’s owner thought her dog was hemoraging  when she returned to the car to find her Sheltie face all red.  Turned out the red coloring was all that was left of the  cherry pie that Mousie  ate straight of  the grocery bag.

-Dina and Rollo once took all the cobalt glass balls off a Christmas tree and had a merry ol game of fetch and keep away while home alone. They shat shiny blue for 3 days.  This is the  same duo who achieved neighborhood infamy when they left the park and chased the priest’s cat through  church during services.

By posting a few real life bad dog tales, I hope to drive home my point of this post which is that  we can expect our dogs to do things that we humans would never do, but what we do after their  misadventure, or bad behavior , is what shapes our  dog’s future.

Many of the things mentioned in this post are what is known as self rewarding behaviors.  When dogs have access to do what we consider bad things, it is  hard to stop it. Management, management, management people!


Dogs need to learn to fit in our world, and it is our job to help them  figure it all out.  I don’t have much of a history on my new dog Beck except that he was in a shelter for about 8 months and adopted by me at about 1 1/2 years old.  What happened in his past really does not matter in terms of training. In training, we deal with the now, the same as dogs live their lives.

What is important is not to let the dogs START or continue to  practice unwanted behaviors because they will only get really really good at them. 

If you never thought of it quite like that before, take a second to think that concept over.

Basically, training unwanted behaviors away takes time.  You need to give dogs something else to do instead of just telling them NO!  It takes a heck of a lot more effort than just interrupting a bad behavior. You need a lot of management to. Stop letting your dog  practise.

The concept is simple, carrying it out – – – not so much.  Dog training is 24/7. Our dogs are always learning, and we need to be careful what we are teaching them.

Here are a few simple solutions to age old dog issues.   Dog is fence running?  Walk them on leash and teach a reliable recall.  Dog steals food? Don’t leave food where your dog can get it.   Dog is pottying somewhere you don’t want?  Rule out a medical issues and monitor your dog closer.  Dog is eating your house?  Don’t allow your dog access to the house unattended. If dog is anxious then you need to address your dog’s anxiety.

Please don’t hesitate  to call a trainer. All dog issues can be solved using science based positive methods.  What are you waiting for?

Got a good bad dog story to share?  Please post them in the comment section.



We love our new rescue dog, and he is fitting in well here.

20 thoughts on ““My Dog Never Did That Before!””

  1. Our dog Cookie jumped on top of my brother’s pool table, pulled the plastic cover off & ate the felt off the top of the pool top. My brother was not a happy camper! He was the one who brought the dog home. She was a very sweet girl once she got through her chewing stage. She also ate sections of the tile on the basement floor.

  2. I was making a triple batch of Neiman Marcus cake, for which I needed 3 lbs of powdered sugar, purchased at Sam’s in a 3 lb. plastic bag. I was called to the garage to look at something (don’t remember what) … WAS ONLY GONE LITERALLY UNDER 2 MINTES. My son called me upstairs to clean up a ‘mess’ (I’m thinking, can no one else pick up poo but me??) our ‘girls’ (2 lab sisters – littermates – had apparently pulled down the 3 POUND BAG OF POWDERED SUGAR, it burst, they are furiously licking it off of each other, I noticed perfect white paw prints, as if stenciled, through the dining room, yes powdered sugar, I tell my son, well, there is only ONE THING TO DO …. he’s not too sure, I said GET THE CAMERA …. LOL … what a photo!!!! (and what a hard mess to clean up, do you realize when you take a wet sponge to powdered sugar it turns into icing!!!)

  3. Pollux is our black Labrador Retriever-American Pit Bull Terrier mix. We adopted him from Pets & People Humane Society in Yukon, OK, when he was about nine months old. From the time we got him through the following six to eight months, he:

    – chewed a hole the size of a shoe through the drywall of one of our rooms
    – chewed through the center of a full mattress, destroying it
    – chewed/destroyed both (cherrywood) bed knobs of our footboard, including most of the footboard
    – chewed a portion of the seat cushion of our oversized leather recliner, destroying it
    – destroyed numerous comforters and a few pillows

    He’s almost three years old now, and we wouldn’t trade him for any of those things. :o)

  4. Our Border/Heeler cross, Cheyenne, was my secong pound pup, but it had been awhile (7 years) since I’d had a puppy in my care. I had a great support system to help get her potty-trained, people I could call in case I was really losing it, and a good insurance policy on my house. I was doing a little renovating and had purchased a ceiling fan to put in my kitchen, which I kept in the boxes until I was ready to install them. Chey’s kennel (wire cage—never again!) was kept under the kitchen table so she could have a “den” when I wasn’t around. I left for work one day with the pup in the kennel and the ceiling fan box out of reach a few feet from the table on the floor. Or at least I thought it was out of reach. When I got home to let her out mid-day, my older hound shot out of the kitchen into the yard. That’s weird, why is she……OH MY GOD. The puppy had scooched her kennel (and the table) a good 4 feet to get to the seemingly-delicious ceiling fan box and had eaten the cardboard and a significant portion of the styrofoam inside. No ceiling fan parts, just the styrofoam. Do you have any idea what styrofoam does as it goes through a puppy? I’d never seen explosive diarrhea before, but got to endure it the rest of the day and all night every 2 hours until it was clear of her system. It was 2 weeks before she was back to puppy chow, with a lot of plain rice and boiled chicken in between!

  5. One night, the only person home was my younger brother and I was on my way home from work. I had picked up some groceries, so when I got home, my brother came out to help me take them inside. Jayne, my Rottweiler/Lab/Shepherd mutt, was crated at this time, and when my brother came outside to help me, was sitting quietly like a well-behaved pup. The two or three minutes it took for us to grab the groceries and bring them inside, he managed to eat through and strip off the covering of his crate bed, and tear apart and fling about the inner stuffing, making it look like it had suddenly rained foam bed bits all over the living room.

    Now, we’ve got chewing mostly under control (he tends to lick the carpeting or gnaw on the metal leg of our treadmill to get my attention), but we’re still working on having him walk nicely on-leash around other dogs. He’s fine with people and crowds (he’s only excited if someone comes right up to him and gives him attention), but he goes crazy over seeing another dog anywhere, and thinks that this other dog is his friend and he must go play NOW.

    I guess it could be worse. He could be trying to eat the other dog. Haha….

  6. My whippet pup, Rickards, was confined to a very big crate when I was visiting. He had been whining and was told to be quiet. Well, he became quiet because he managed to pull a rather substantial amount of my very nice winter jacket thro the wires on the side of the crate. It took a lot of pulling to get the remains back thro that hole and I have no idea how that little begger managed to pull so much inside.
    I know many folks have found quilts and other large objects sucked into crates and had no idea how their darlings managed it!

  7. I had a brand new plastic jar containing 1 3/4 lb of dog treats on a shelf in a closet. The door was closed; it has an old-fashioned round glass door knob. Came home to find the closet door still closed and latched. But the jar itself was in the other end of the house, on the living room floor, empty. The lid had one small tooth mark, otherwise looked as if a human had taken the lid off the jar. CJ had done it again. He was 130 lb black collie/German Shepherd/lab/husky mix. Gorgeous dog, insatiable appetite. He could unlatch every toddler-proof latch and open any door other than car doors. He would grab a bottle of soda or water, lay down with it on your bed, carefully unscrew the cap, and tip it over, lapping it up as the contents ran out. On the bed.

    • Marcia, It’s the collie in CJ. As a child, we raised collies. I watched our “Lassie” very gently eat an cookie (nibbled) out of my then 2 year old niece’s had while she was maintaining a hold on it while my niece thought it was so funny and giggled the entire time until the cookie was gone! Collies are VERY smart, sweet, and gentle. Horrible to groom, though.


Leave a Comment