Obedience versus Behavior – A Crucial Error Most Folks Make

Image of canine high five from a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, courtesy of Shutterstock
Image of canine high five from a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, courtesy of Shutterstock

"My dog is so well-trained."

"I don't need training, my dog knows lots of tricks."

If I had a nickel for every time I heard such a thing, let's just say that Truman and Bridger would be in rib bones and bully sticks up to their eyeballs for the rest of their lives. All-too-often people mistake obedience for behavior in dogs, and the simple fact is that they just aren't the same.

Obedience is to dogs what manners and etiquette are to people. A person can be perfectly well-mannered, wear the right clothes, speak well, say please and thank you and all those good things, and then when pushed to the edge, they snap like a twig. The movie American Psycho comes to mind as an example. It's a film from 2000 starring Christian Bale as a well-to-do, seemingly fabulous guy. He's handsome. He wears expensive clothes. He lives in a sumptuous apartment. He has a financially solid job.

And he likes to dissect women for fun.

And so it is with dogs. When a dog is not behaviorally stable and one uses obedience as a way to "control" them, what you have is a ticking time bomb. Now that may not mean the dog attacks a person or another dog, but it could mean that the dog tears up the house, lunges occasionally on the leash and generally "acts out" often in an inconsistent way.

 

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