Dogs are Animals. Don’t Forget That.

Every morning, I let the brats out of their kennel, out the door, and on to their morning potty break. I have a mixture of snack hounds including a hound/lab mix (Beverly), a beagle/doxie mix (Mia), and doxies. All of them have some sort of prey drive but Mia is my athlete. She comes bolting out of that door ready for anything that comes her way. She doesn’t run, she LITERALLY bounces to the fence-line and trees looking for something to chase. Luckily, she has only 1 confirmed catch of a squirrel. When the squirrel bit her, she was so confused, she dropped it and it scurried away. Phew. That wouldn’t ended badly.

Mia Bonita is a character but she has always been a nature hunter. She has her nose to the ground, her eyes in the trees, and listens for anything she can chase. I love her but it doesn’t help when you have small animals like gerbils in the home. We have since rehomed the gerbils but there were 2 incidents that were just heartbreaking.

The second and final straw was when the matriarch of the gerbil family got out. This gerbil was the MacGyver of rodents. She was intelligent and liked to figure her way out of any cage. Well, one night, we were watching a movie and we heard Mia get up and a loud commotion. We realized the gerbil mom got out again and ran to the kitchen. This time, we weren’t fast enough. Mia did what her instincts told her and the gerbil died in my hands. It was just a matter of a few short minutes until she took her last breathe. Of course, I cried and was filled with tremendous guilt. As a trainer, I have to understand, dogs are animals. This article describes it as software they are programmed with. As sad as it was, it was my fault, not Mia’s.

We tend to forget they are animals. They are not vicious killers but have the instinct to do so. If we understand it better, we can address it better. I learned that the hard way.

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