Walking through the City of Brotherly Love, I see countless dogs in the span of a day. The residents here open their homes and hearts to canine companions in a big way. There are pet shops galore, grooming and pet spa establishments for people to pamper their pooches, dog parks in just about every neighborhood, and even dog friendly restaurants and bars. There’s no doubt that people in this town have all of the best intentions for their dogs, and yet I regularly see some very badly behaved dogs. It seems that there is a lot of caring (and spoiling) going on in the day to day lives of a lot of dogs, and a lot less expectation by humans for good behavior from the dogs they love so much. Dogs make up a huge part of our community, they share our public spaces with us, but more importantly we owe it to them to take charge and give them the structure they need and desire in their lives. While your dog does not realize that they’re walking around with a $60 haircut or wearing a $20 collar, they do realize the role they play in your lives and the role you play in theirs. Dogs crave leadership and structure on a consistent and day to day basis in order to be balanced and fulfilled. Dogs that are seen jumping, lunging, barking, growling, and exhibiting countless other behaviors are in a state of distress and anxiety, and we as their pack leaders are doing them no favors by continuing to allow them to behave in such ways. Therefore, I think it’s time we raise the bar on how we expect dogs to behave, but more importantly, I think it’s time we start to pay closer attention to fulfilling our dogs needs over our own in our relationships with them.
Dog’s misbehavior can be due to a lack of general education on dog behavior with first time dog owners, a perception of dog behavior that is emotionally fulfilling for the human (for example, reading a dog that jumps and lunges as happiness), as well as utilizing training methods that do not provide results. It is up to us as humans to educate ourselves as best as possible on how to create a life of balance for our pets. We are responsible for the physical and mental well-being. Each year, MILLIONS of dogs are euthanized in the United States. The majority of these dogs are dogs that are surrendered to the shelter system under the age of 1 for behavioral issues. We owe it to ourselves as a community and to man’s best friend to implement a training system the moment we bring a dog home with us that is consistent and effective with some of the most common behavioral problems seen in dogs (barking, lunging, biting, anxiety, etc) all of which are symptoms of a lack of leadership, structure, and communication as to what is acceptable and what is not. No dog should be euthanized for a behavioral issue, nor should dogs have to suffer through the anxiety and chaos of living in a leaderless world.
Trainer & Owner of Balanced K-9 Training