“Why does my dog need to learn obedience? He’s just fine.”
“Manners? Dogs don’t have them and don't need them.”
I’ve heard it over and over again. Several dog owners I’ve met in the past have put down the idea of teaching their dog basic obedience and manners, claiming that their dog “doesn’t need it” or that they would “never use it”. However, they fail to see that they are always yelling at their dog for bad behavior, apologizing for their dog when visitors are present, are constantly chasing the dog that bolted out the gate, and can’t take their dog in public for one problem or several.
Most of the time, teaching their dog basic manners would solve most of their problems.
As in most “ill-behaved” dog cases, the problem is the owner, not the dog.
What’s so hard about teaching manners?
Most of the time, I find that pet owners have one of three reasons for scoffing at teaching their dogs obedience and manners:
Dogs conform to what their owners do, want, and expect. Owners who cannot or will not set boundaries and rules for themselves won’t do it for their dog either. Thus they get an unruly dog who barks tirelessly, guards furniture, pees on everything, and bolts out the door or gate the first opportunity they get.
Owners who set rules, but do not consistently reinforce them, will have a dog who does not take them seriously. The dog will be stubborn and will constantly push the envelope, trying to get their own way, because they know that their owner is a push over and will give up.
Why do dogs need manners?
As if it were not already obvious, the primary reason for teaching dogs manners is for the continued good health of owner and dog. For example, anytime a door opens, the dog (or dogs) run lickety-split toward it and zip right past me and out the open portal of freedom. Caution and deception must be used if I want to get out the gate without having to kick my dog back and fight him to get out the gate first.
I’ve even seen dog owners who get seriously hurt because their dog knocks them down or pops their knees in the attempt to be first out the door or gate. This is not good for you, and this is certainly not good for your dog.
If you get angry at your dog for hurting you, your first instinct is to hurt it back. Don’t deny it. We all feel that way at times. Also, there is always that concern of the dog bolting out of the yard, running away, and getting lost or hit by a car.
So, to fix the problem, you teach your dog to wait patiently for you to open the door or gate AND wait until you give them the “OK” to come out.
It’s not impossible. Even the most unruly dogs can be taught. The key is for YOU to set the rules, keep the rules, and reinforce the rules. Dogs don’t break rules. Humans do. Show your dog what the rules are by example, and he will follow them to the letter.
“Well, my dog is kinda a rebel. He breaks rules all the time.”
No. No dog is a rebel. Humans are. Your dog is a living mirror of how you act. If you can’t keep to the rules, the dog won’t either.
What are "dog manners"?
Sit, stay, come, look, and especially NO are the very basic manners that all dogs should and can learn.
"Sit" is really self explanatory, and when combined with "stay", it becomes a very powerful tool for keeping your furbaby under control. It can be used at mealtime, before going out the gate, when strangers come to the door, and many other things.
"Come" is also pretty self explanatory, I'd think, and can be used in the house, yard, or park.
"Look" is very good to teach your dog to pay attention to you.
Of course, a good dose of vitamin "NO" is good for everyone. I have taught Pilot that when I say "no", I mean that I want him to stop what he's doing immediately and come directly to me.
These "manners" are easy to teach to any dog as long as you have patience and consistency. If you need help, there are a vast number of videos on YouTube that go into teaching dogs these basic commands using positive reinforcement. Here are some to get you started:
Bonus: HOW TO SETTLE AN EXCITED DOG
The Pets & I Critter Hop Link Up
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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