I often affectionately refer to my faithful Labrador Retriever as “Prince” Tucker. Why? Because he seems to believe he should be treated like royalty and he’s extremely picky.
While Tucker may not be quite as sensitive as the princess in the fairytale, “The Princess and the Pea,” who is able to feel one pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds, he is still quite princely.
Several weeks ago, my very obedient Tucker suddenly started balking at the idea of going to bed. Tucker has slept in the same crate since he was a puppy (almost six years), and up until this point, had never had an issue with it. Our routine has always been pretty much the same – he goes outside for a break, comes inside to get his nightly pills and evening snack, and goes to bed. All of a sudden one day, he started sneaking back to his bed in the living room after his snack instead of going to his crate. When my husband or I would ask him to go to his crate, he would hang his head sadly, and, slowly but surely, plod over to his crate.
We were both quite perplexed for a while until one day when I decided to wash the mat in his crate. As I pulled it out, I realized just how thin it had become.
And that’s when it hit me: the Prince had decided he preferred the very fluffy bed in the living room over the worn out old mat in his crate.
The next weekend, I bought a new fluffy bed and laid it on top of the old mat.
And guess who doesn’t balk at going to bed anymore!
The lesson is this – sometimes, it’s necessary to apply what you know about your dog’s personality when you’re trying to figure out what’s causing a certain behavior. Remember that dogs, like people, all see the world a little differently.
Tucker is no dummy.