Monday, September 8, 2014

Tackling Evening Devil Dog Syndrome

Let's say that you're fostering a dog, a loving, smart, adorable dog, who is ostensibly a 3-5 year old dog, from the look of her teeth, but who behaves like a 6 month old puppy. A dog who, every evening, goes through several hours in which she absolutely must have your attention or else she humps your other dog incessantly and/or barks, zooms around, jumps on and off furniture, and nips your arms

Now let's say that you are all about giving dogs attention, but that those few hours after you've arrived home from a long bike ride and a full day at work are precisely the hours in which you would like nothing more than to space out with an ice pack on your lower back in front of a really bad TV show, or perhaps in front of a movie featuring 6 attractive 20somethings who go camping in a beautiful remote wilderness, and end up being chopped into small pieces, one by one, by a deranged mountain person or supernatural 
force, just like they did in every other one of the movies your significant other has rented in the seven years since you've known him. 

Or maybe you'd even like to just read something halfway intelligent, like a Buddhist book on anger management, or something relaxing in its humor by David Sedaris or relaxing in its bleakness by Cormack McCarthy. 

Regardless of your recipe for evening relaxation, all these options are off the table when you've got a dog afflicted with Evening Devil Dog Syndrome. All you can do is try to tire her out.

Fortunately, Daria is highly food motivated 

and she is super smart and like most dogs, enjoys training.

We've been working on the basics, which of course are great for focus and impulse control. 

A dog who can sit for a treat is a dog who is starting to learn that there are more rewarding things in life than humping a dog who does not want to be humped. 

Better yet, an impulsive, deaf dog who can sit is learning maybe for the first time a system of communication that is based on something other than frustration. Instead of hump, nip, and bark in frustration and be strangled by an equally frustrated human, there is the option to sit, and get a treat.

Daria readily picks up hand signals, and we've been working on all the basic skills. One fun trick is Called Sit and Wait While I Give a Treat To Fozzie and Give Him Love. There is no specific hand signal for that one, but its title is pretty self-explanatory. If she can get that one, she'll have an A+ in impulse control, let me tell you.

We've also been incorporating some other tricks to help tire her out and give her brain something to do. She hasn't yet learned to put those paws up on a pilates ball--which Fozzie learned so well in his Doggie Dance Class-- 

but she readily learned to stand on her hind legs and seems to love it. That's gotta be tiring, as well as being adorable. 

Small pitties make such great trick dogs and circus dogs. What a great outlet for all that wacky energy.

And, you can do your hand signals with one hand, the other hand on the ice pack or the remote.

What's YOUR prescription for the Evening Devil Dog?


  1. You are one smart cookie
    Lily & Edward

  2. Thanks for the kind words you left us, the support of the bloggie community is awesome,

    Mark (RARA's daddy)

  3. I'm all for evening relaxation and know a hyper dog at that time is tough. Very clever solution. Are solution is to have pugs they always want to relax
    Retro rover

  4. I feel your pain. :) When Brut was younger he was a total spaz and I had just started to learn clicker training and my god it worked! I don't know what it was about responding to his name and hearing the click, but he would stop dead in his tracks and eventually calm down. I don't know how you do it with a deaf dog, but sounds like what your doing is working.

    Good Luck!

  5. Evening Devil Dog Syndrome, huh?

    Sounds like Daria is doing good with her schooling so far. Hopefully it won't be too long until she gets to the point where you can do training breaks during the commercials for those slasher movies. :)

  6. Hmmm...we're lucky to not have that. How about a stuffed and frozen Kong containing part of her supper and plain yogurt to keep together? We've had great success with those! Both Trail and Molly were a bit wild the first few evenings but settled to our laid-back after supper routine. (No slasher movies or television though - we don't have a tv)

  7. How about a raw bone or long lasting chew? Maybe in a crate?? When Kaya was a puppy I'd do an hour outing and 15 minutes of training to drain her physically and mentally. If that was not enough it was time for a stern "go lie down" but I'd guess you'd need a deaf dog signal for that;) Maybe use a tie down by a dog bed to show her it's time to settle down and stay put. She sure is cute!


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