Don’t Be A Bad Pet Owner: How To Avoid Dogs Destroying Window Covers

19th Apr 2016

Our furry friends are our companions, and in many cases, our pets are considered a part of our families. I know that I consider my cute, energetic seven-month-old weimaraner as one of my own. Her crazy puppy personality pounces and runs around the house, constantly hopping on top of the recliner to get a peek outside. (I’ll be shopping online for new blinds if I’m not careful about my next step).

I’m guessing that “What’s going on out there?” runs through her mind every time she hears the smallest noise and can’t identify the source.

Waldo’s nosey-ness knocks the venetian blind slats off the strings as she attempts to get a closer look.

That means when I get home from work, the blinds are all caddywhompus and look like a wreck.

I don’t consider myself to be a bad pet owner since I let my pup get on the chair, but I may be in need of another dog training session so that she doesn’t get too aggressive with the blinds. Like any good modern woman, I took to Google to find some simple tricks to prevent Waldo from ruining the blinds. Here’s what I found.

Boundary Training 101

Thanks to PetsBest for this quick guide to boundary training. Essentially, this technique can be used to teach your dog to stay in the yard when there is no fence, out of the kitchen during dinner, or in my case, away from the blinds.

Things You’ll Need

  • Treats (high value and different from other training treats)
  • Clicker (used for a behaviour marker)
  • Flags (found at the local hardware store)
  • Dog (obviously)

The Purpose

The goal of the boundary training is to teach Waldo not to knock the blinds when looking out the window. Now, it’s a bit tricky for me because the windows at my house are about four feet from the floor, so Waldo has to get on the chair to see outside. Rather than stopping Waldo from getting on the chair at all, I am going to try and apply this training to stop her from nosing the blinds themselves. You can set your boundary wherever you please!

What To Do

Note that I haven’t completed this training with Waldo yet, but I’m sharing these directions in hope that we can all save our blinds and avoid shopping online for blinds when there’s a chance to keep fresh the ones we already have!

Start by showing the flag to your dog. When her nose touches the flag, mark the behaviour with the clicker and then reward her with the treat. “Touching the flag = treat,” thinks Waldo.

Move the flag a few meters away from you, about an arm's length. Again, when her nose touches the flag, mark the behaviour and give her a treat.

Move the flag even further away. Keep your pup by your side, then release her to go touch the flag. When her nose touches the flag, immediately click to mark the good behaviour. Then, she should return to you to reap the reward - another yummy treat. The distance is important here because it teaches her that the flag marks the boundary, and then she should come back to the safe space.

Practice, practice, practice. I know when I’ve taught Waldo other behaviours it has taken as long as eight weeks for her to fully grasp the concept. Practice at least 10 times in a row before taking a break (unless your pup is completely distracted).

Place the flags at the edge of the window sill and watch as your pup goes to the flag to touch her nose and then back to you to get a treat. Hopefully this works! I imagine Waldo going to the edge of the window sill which allows her to see outside, but her nose doesn’t get into the blinds and mess them up.

I’ll keep you posted!

Are we too late with this blog? Are your blinds already ruined? Try shopping online for blinds and then trying boundary training to ensure these blinds survive your dog’s outdoor curiosities. I’m excited to hear how this works for you!

P.S. Another simple way to save your blinds is to simply raise them each day.