What You Can Expect from Your Dog

Robert Cabral Behavior Leave a Comment

People generally have very high expectations from their dogs. They are always telling people how smart they (the dogs) are and how good they are. This is often followed by the statement “except for when…” That is where the litany of excuses comes in. Such as, except for when:

The door is left open
There’s another dog around
He sees a cat
She sees a squirrel
When I try to put a leash on him… and the list goes on.

Dogs that have “issues” are dogs that have not been taught properly. For the most part dogs have been bred and domesticated to such an extent that most any behavior can be worked out if it’s caught early enough and if it is addressed correctly. This is often not the case. So for this reason I always say that you can expect from your dog exactly what you’ve taught him.

If you haven’t taught him that other dogs are not to be run after, played with or attacked, he may not know and may be relying on his own devices. If you haven’t taught him to wait when the door is opened, he may not know. Remember, dogs are not psychic. If you teach them something fairly, more than likely, they’ll get it. There are very few exception such as dogs that have gotten away with self rewarding behaviors for very long periods of time – these dogs can often be difficult for the average person to retrain, but they are the rarest of exceptions.

I encourage people to train their dogs for the benefit of the dog and the owner.  Inevitably the dogs suffer with their lives, people can walk away and just get another dog. I find this very disturbing…

If you spend the time making things clear for your dog he can make the decision from a good place as what is right and wrong and you can know what you can expect from your dog. You can expect from him exactly what you’ve put in. Sort of like a computer; you can’t get information out of a computer that someone didn’t put in.

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