What is a good dog?

Good Dog Traits or Canine Chaos?

Dog training Houston, your canine companion can learn good dog traits, such as to walk on a leash or walk to heel, as you begin to see the end of your canine chaos. Wondering about other good dog traits? The display of canine aggression to family members or visitors is certainly not one of them.

I recently received a call from a woman whose dog had snapped at and bitten her daughter on the heels when she was answering the door. She was concerned because her dog is generally aggressive with the Fed Ex man or children. I told her the seriousness of the problem and I told her that there was no guarantee that I could fix the problem. Her reaction floored me: she said – but I really want some puppies out of her because she really is a good dog.  Sorry that is not true. You have a dog that your daughter is petrified of.

Attempting to avoid reality is often a part of pet ownership. We start to overlook their shortcomings. Even though Fido has destroyed the carpet, growls at everybody, pulls unmercifully on the leash, we imagine that these behavioral problems are “normal”. Fido is so affectionate most of the time; he just doesn’t like the UPS guy or children…

To understand how far we can stray from what I would consider a trained well-behaved housedog, here are a few ideas about what I expect my dogs to be.

A good dog should be fully housetrained. Dogs can “hold it” for eight to ten hours per day while the owners are at work. Dogs that have regular accidents over night or during short periods of confinement in a pet porter kennel either have a medical problem or a training problem.

Dogs should enter a pet porter kennel without any fuss. The kennel becomes a place of sanctuary for the dog, its own place to escape from some human craziness for a while. My dogs love their kennel, fall fast asleep quickly and feel secure in them. Its not natural but all dogs can and should learn the benefits of a kennel. I want to make a note here about the all-wire kennels: I don’t like them nor do I use them. A kennel should be the dogs own cave, a place of safety and confinement. Wire kennels give me the feeling of jail bars, where a dog is on – display – hence the word, cage, which I hate.

Its much better to use the plastic vari or pet porter style kennel. Don’t get an extra large kennel for a small Pomeranian: get the proper size for your breed. Remember, you want it to be their den, not a playpen.

My dogs should be able to greet any strangers and their animals without displaying aggression or any objectionable affection. I would expect them to sit until my conversation is finished, then to heel away with me.

Walk to heel. A dog should be able to walk on a leash without pulling you down the street. I do not ever allow my dogs to walk me. I walk them. I often joke with my clients calling their dogs ‘cigarette’ because every night they go for a drag. If your dog takes you for a walk – you have a problem.

Come when called. Always and immediately, it’s very important and can and will save your dog’s life.

A good dog will tolerate medical care, examinations and grooming. Make a physical inspection of your dog’s teeth, gums, ears, nails and between his toes a regular occurrence. This makes it a lot less intimidating at the Vets when someone else in a strange place wants to do the same. You will also pick up on any health problems early.

A dog should be able to ride in a car quietly. Maybe it’s a Texas thing, but letting your dog ride in the bed of the truck without any restraints is stupid. When you drive down the freeway and see dead dogs on the roads, how do you think that happened? Dogs should be in a pet porter kennel at all times when riding in the car.

To most of us these simple good dog traits seem obvious; you might be surprised at how many people learn to live with canine chaos. You have read this so you are taking the first steps.

I’m going to finish with my favorite dog story. I got a call from a lady in Houston. She lived on the 11th floor of an apartment building. She said that she wanted obedience training for her Dalmatian as she wanted to take a litter from her and be able to show the prospective buyers the mom.

We talked for a while about training techniques. She decided she wanted us to train the dog and asked if we did pick ups. I told her that unfortunately we didn’t. Her response was – well how am I going to get her out of my bedroom?

Now my interest had been piqued!

The story unfolds; the dog had bitten her (9 stitches in the arm, blamed on slipping in the street whilst at the Emergency room) and immediately run into her bedroom.

I asked how long ago this had happened  – 2 years!

They had two – 5 gallon buckets and a 12 foot long 4″ diameter plastic pipe that they used to put food and water into the buckets from outside the bedroom door. I asked “What about the smell” to which the lady replied “fortunately one of the windows was open when she ran in there”.

Needless to say I was stunned. The lady and her husband have shared the couch for 2 years dealing with this behavior because they were too afraid to get the dog out of their bedroom, but they LOVED the dog too much to take care of the situation.