Dogcharmer: Demanding dogs

Coco gets jealous when Mom talks on the phone.

When his owner is on the phone, Coco's need for attention can be redirected. — Courtesy Tom Shelby

Dear Dogcharmer: 

When the phone rings, Coco barks for attention until I play with him. What can I do? 


Dear Maryanne,

Having spoken to you earlier when Coco was attacked and traumatized by a much larger dog, I’m delighted to see that he’s back to himself, fully relaxed, and back to doing his best at training you to meet his every demand and grant his every wish. The audacity for you to ignore him while talking on the phone must be very frustrating to him, hence his endeavor to regain your full attention. (If you comply with his wishes, and if there’s reincarnation, I think I’d like to come back as your dog!). 

Maryanne, you can go positive, or you can go negative. Positive, and you’re redirecting his attention to focus on something else besides you when you’re on the phone. The hollow marrowbone with a piece of meat wedged in the middle, which he gets only when you’re on the phone, is an excellent tool for redirecting his attention. When you’re off the phone, the “special toy” is removed. He only gets it while you’re on the phone! Period! 

If you choose to go the negative route, you might try a spray bottle that sprays a real stream, as opposed to a mist, as you’re trying to startle him, not give him a facial. The moment he starts to try to garner your attention, with a frown on your face, tell him “Uh-uh!” as he gets it right between the eyes. I’d suggest you do both, shut down the obnoxious demand of your attention with the spray bottle, and when he complies, give him the “special treat.” The likelihood is he’ll stop the barking and wait patiently for the bone, thus creating a new, more pleasant routine.

Best wishes, and give Coco a kiss for me!

The Dogcharmer

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