Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

The importance of teaching your dog good manners

Whether they will admit it or not (whether THEY have good manners or not), almost everyone appreciates good manners, in adults, in children – and in dogs. A well-mannered dog is welcome almost anywhere, is a pleasure to spend time with and a source of pride. A dog who behaves without constant corrections, doesn’t jump up uninvited, doesn’t bark, whine, beg, demand attention, doesn’t pull at the leash and comes back when called is every owner’s dream dog

Unfortunately, too many dogs are very badly behaved (through no fault of their own) and too many owners are either unwilling or unable to teach their dog even the most basic good manners.
If you are a dog owner whose canine pal isn’t welcome anywhere, who has to be locked outside when company calls, and if you spend more time yelling at your dog than enjoying his company, it isn’t too late. And for your own benefit as well as for your dog’s well-being, here are five reasons why you should spend some time teaching your dog some good (or at least better) manners.

1) Quality of Life
There’s nothing worse, even for a dog lover, than spending time with a badly behaved dog. What starts out as “cute” behavior quickly turns to disruption and annoyance if you can turn it off. You won’t enjoy life if you’re constantly scolding your dog and worrying about their next mistake. Your dog won’t enjoy life if he’s always in the dog house. Your friends and neighbors won’t enjoy any of it.
On the other hand, your quality of life, your dog’s quality of life and the quality of life of everyone around you is much better when your dog is well-behaved. Knowing your dog will behave in most, if not every situation allows you both to relax and enjoy life, and others will look forward to spending time with you AND your dog.

2) Your Dog’s Safety
An unruly dog is a danger to himself, especially if their particular bad behaviors include escaping, raiding the rubbish or not coming when called.

A really unruly dog can injure a human, and if the injury is severe enough, your pet may be seized, suffer harsh treatment from officials or the victim – they may even be euthanized. Dogs who bark uncontrollably annoy the neighbors, and some neighbors may be willing to take the law into their own hands with a chunk of poisoned meat or even a gun.

On the other hand, a dog who has good basic manners won’t dash into traffic, will stay out of the trash and will stay at your side and come back to you when they’re called. Neighbors who don’t know you have a dog

(a sign that you’re doing something right) will have no cause for complaint. A well-mannered dog is a safe dog.

3) Everyone Else’s Safety
Dogs who jump or mouth in particular are potentially dangerous dogs. Even a healthy adult can be knocked down if a dog jumps without warning. Mouthing (a dog that even gently takes hold of hand, arm or leg) can bruise or even break the skin – and someone who isn’t familiar with this behavior may think they have actually been bitten.

Dogs who dash through traffic or who chase bicycles can cause accidents. Even a dog who’s unruly on-leash, especially on a retractable leash, can cause problems with everyone around them, pulling people over or creating a trip and/or tangling hazard.
Owning a badly mannered dog may also be dangerous to your financial safety. Too many people are willing to sue dog owners for even the most minor or innocent infractions, and unfortunately, the courts are rarely on the dog’s side, especially if they’re obviously badly behaved.

On the other hand, a dog with good manners can be trusted around just about everyone, young or old, healthy or not so healthy.

4) Conceptions and Misconceptions
Non-dog people have a number of ideas about dogs, and unfortunately, they are much more willing to accept the bad press as the truth about ALL dogs. Dogs bite, spread disease, attack without provocation and bark uncontrollably – all true about badly behaved dogs. Unfortunately, even dogs with good manners are painted with that same brush.

Landlords, often quite rightly, refuse to allow dogs into their rentals because of past ill-mannered tenants – owner and dog. Destruction, house soiling, excessive barking and aggressive tendencies will almost ensure that a landlord won’t allow pets in future.
On the other hand, a dog who quietly greets guests (especially the landlord), doesn’t jump or bark and takes treats politely can help to reeducate non-dog people. When your neighbors or your landlord remarks “I didn’t even realize you had a dog”, you’ve done a world of good to improve the general perception of dogs everywhere.

5) It’s Responsible
Abdicating responsibility seems to be the current fashion, especially where pets are concerned. Irresponsible dog owners allow all manner of bad manners, letting their dog wreak havoc with family and friends, neighbors and even random passersby.

On the other hand, taking responsibility for your dog’s actions by training them and enforcing rules is not only the responsible thing to do, it’s the moral thing to do too. Instilling good manners should be a condition of dog ownership.

When you become a dog owner – or a dog guardian, if you prefer – you take on the responsibility for your dog – for his well-being and for his impact on others. It is your responsibility – not your dog’s responsibility or the responsibilities of others – to ensure that your dog isn’t dangerous, isn’t a nuisance and has a good quality of life.
Good manners may not longer be in fashion, but for dogs and dog owners, they are essential. Make sure your dog has good basic manners, and you’ll not only have a good dog, you’ll have a happy dog – and you’ll be happier

Pat Gray

August 21, 2010 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, Pet and Animal Training, Pets | , , | Leave a comment