Home
Karen B. London
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Canine Clean-Up Crew
Dogs help tidy up

Between the muddy paws, the dog hair, the gooey toys and the drool, it’s easy to argue that dogs create a certain challenge to cleanliness. I know of only a few dog guardians whose homes are in the kind of shape that makes them look like magazine spreads on decorating. At some point, most of us just throw up our hands and decide that this is how we live. Except for special occasions, we are okay with that, and proceed peacefully with our lives.

Yet to blame our dogs for the messes in our homes is to miss part of what’s actually going on. Many dogs do a lot of cleaning up for us, but we don’t tend to notice that until we are away from them for a while. A friend recently told me that he dropped a piece of chicken on the ground at his parent’s house and his mom was appalled when he made no move to pick it up.

He apologized and took care of it, but did explain that at home, if he’s making chicken salad and a bit hits the ground, one of his dogs will eat it up. Problem solved. The same goes for most foods—steak, cheese, green beans—as well as crushed ice, which regularly drops from their broken ice dispenser. It doesn’t melt and make a puddle on the floor because his dogs are way too quick to let that happen. If something falls to the floor that the dogs can’t have such as the entire steak they plan to eat that night or something bad for them like chocolate or onions, a calm “leave it” tells the dogs that even though it’s on the floor, it is not fair game.

What does your dog clean up off the floor, saving you the trouble?

Print|Email

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

photo by kameraschwein/Flickr

CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by lzf | February 27 2013 |

I remember when I got my first dog. I thought "yay..someone to eat all the stuff my kids drop on the floor!"
But she turned out to be a very fussy eater and wouldn't touch anything they dropped!

More From The Bark

More in Karen B. London:
The Weather Channel’s Therapy Dog
Learning About Glass Doors
Losing the Dog That Was Your First “Baby”
Well-Trained Dogs Inspire
Dogs' Responses to Familiar Human Scents
Social Roles and Relationships in Dogs
Dog Survived Washington Mudslide
Adam Miklósi is a New Advisor
Every Dog Has a Story
First Sniff and First Lick