All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dog Spills Her Water Intentionally

Dear Marie,
We have an 8-month-old female Labrador Retriever.  In the last two weeks she is emptying her water no matter what we put it in.  We were using a large bucket from Home Depot with no problems.  She tore it up into pieces so my husband purchased a medium size aluminum tub.  She jumped in, played, spilled all the water and carried it around in her mouth by the handle.  I purchased an aluminum bucket.  She did the same thing.  I thought I had a great idea—I took one of the plastic buckets, put a brick in the bottom, filled it about 1/3 full of water, put the aluminum bucket inside of the plastic bucket and filled the aluminum bucket.  She managed to spill all of the water out and carry it around.  Then we tried the aluminum bucket inside of the tub with same results.  We don't have a water faucet in the part of the yard she is in that works so can't use whatever it is that attaches to the faucet.  Holly is large, weighs about 75 lbs.  Any ideas? Right now we just take water out every hour or so and offer it but soon we will be back to work and gone 3 or more hours at a time.

One other problem we are having is she, at time,s will wrap her legs around either my husband's, my daughter's or my leg and "hump" us and will bite when she does this.  We were told this is way she is trying to show her dominance.  What can we do to stop this behavior?  In every other way she is a great dog.  We take her for walks daily or to dog park daily.  We give her a lot of attention and love and she sleeps in her kennel in our bedroom at night.  She also took a 6-week obedience class.

Thank you.
PS I am 63 and my husband is 69 so we don't have as much energy as younger people.

Dear Jan,
At eight months old, your dog is just a big puppy.  She needs a lot of safe toys to chew and keep her mentally engaged.  There are some wonderful balls that can be stuffed with healthy, yummy treats, and this is just the type of toy to keep her from getting bored, while also allowing her to chew on something more appropriate than her water bucket.  KONG makes some great, interactive chew toys.  But there are many others that are available at pet supply stores.  Just make sure you get a high quality product that won’t break apart easily or cause injuries.

As a Lab, your girl is a water dog and with the recent unseasonable heat we’ve been having, it’s understandable that she is incorporating her water bucket into her playtime.  Stores are just beginning to bring out their Spring and Summer items. I would definitely purchase the biggest, plastic kiddy pool you can find so that she can splash and sit in it.  She will absolutely love the pool and will spend less time thinking her bucket is a fun distraction.  Even a big, strong dog can’t drag around a large pool filled with water, unless she is from Krypton.

I know your dog is sectioned off away from your faucet.  Still, if it is possible, allow her access, or extend your plumbing into the part of the yard where she stays and install a lick-spigot.  This is a product that is activated when a dog licks it, and thus, she will always have fresh water and you won’t even need to use a bucket or bowl.

To address the humping behavior very quickly—indeed this is a demonstration of dominance and must be corrected immediately, especially since she is also biting.  One of the quickest methods for correcting this behavior is to use an air horn.  I would suggest keeping one on your belt or in your pocket – and use it the moment she starts to grab your legs.  Follow it up with a loud, “No!”  And then put her in a crate for five minutes, without any attention whatsoever.  Labs are smart dogs so she will get the message very quickly.  If you have friends who are willing to come over and help with this training, that would be great because demonstrating that non-family members are also off-limits for this type of behavior is very important.

Remember, dogs just need to know the rules and with consistency, love, and patience, your puppy will grow up to be a well-mannered and trustworthy member of the family.

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