Ask the Dogcharmer: Rex and Taffy

Where do you think you’re going without us?

Rex and Taffy. Courtesy Mary Ellen Bendavid.

Hi Tom,

We are having trouble getting out the door without Rex and Taffy both forcing their way out! We have been working with Rex, and most of time when he is alone, we can get out of house with a “uh-uh,” and he will stay, but when Taffy is involved, she starts barking and they both get worked up and all the training goes to hell and then we still can’t get out the door. Help.



Mary Ellen


Dear Mary Ellen,

Rex and Taffy are clearly voicing their opinion about you having the audacity to leave the house without them. UNACCEPTABLE! We get that. But what they don’t get is that they don’t contribute to help with the gas bills, the cable bills, the food bills. As we know, quite the contrary. But in balance, what they do contribute is great companionship and love, which is getting out of balance because of their demanding and pushy, ill-mannered behavior. Mary Ellen, for those of us old enough to remember, your letter reminds me of the Archie Bunker/Mike Stivic cluster jam trying to get through a door at the same time. But in your case, it’s not funny.

Since there’s no domestic animal that reads the body language of a human better than a dog, you can be sure that Rex and Taffy are totally aware of every action that you take before departing the house. And as they observe the similar routines we all do before we leave the house, by the time you grab the car keys, they’re pretty hysterical if their leashes are not included.

So try this. Right at the door, just before you’re ready to walk out, have them sit, and toss a dozen treats into the room away from the door as you say, “Go find the treats.” If that’s not manageable for you, I think I’ll need to come over to help you extract their cooperation, and regain some of the beauty of the balance in dog ownership.

Best of luck,

The Dogcharmer


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