Photo by Christopher Ayme on Unsplash

Dog training doesn’t happen overnight. And anyone who says they can fix a behavioral trait quickly and easily, probably doesn’t really know what they are talking about. It takes a lot of patience, understanding, and work to mold your dog in a way that allows you to take her with you without worrying about all the things that could potentially go wrong. Just to give everyone a basic idea of what types of behavioral traits I’m talking about here is a list of objectives that a dog must pass to achieve the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

  • Accepting a friendly stranger
  • Sitting politely for petting
  • Appearance and grooming
  • Walking on a loose leash
  • Walking through a crowd
  • Sit and down on command and staying in place
  • Coming when called
  • Reaction to another dog
  • Reacting (or not reacting) to a distraction
  • Supervised separation

This list might look overwhelming at first. You might be thinking, no way there’s no point in trying. Honestly, most of the dogs that I walk can barely pass half the objectives listed above. However, there is hope! All these things can be achieved. There are dogs out there that can pass with ease because their owners already put the time in. Did you really think that every time you saw a dog displaying good behavior in the past it was because that dog was just miraculously a good dog who was born that way? NO! Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. The thing that most people don’t understand is that the problem isn’t the dog, it’s the owner. Just like a child, a dog needs guidance, love, and attention. They need to be taught right from wrong. If they aren’t given that from their owners, that’s when we run in to “problematic dogs” or should I say, problematic owners. Remember, dogs can’t choose what kind of life they live. It’s up to us as dog owners to give them a good life. This is the responsibility that we were given when we decided to bring a dog home. 

Luckily, there are a lot of books and videos on social media platforms that will teach you how to accomplish all these things. I think Zak George does a really good job keeping his Instagram and Youtube channel updated and full of information on training tips that you can do at home. So pick an objective and work with your dog on it for 10 minutes each day. Take her on a walk, or the dog park. Practice leash walking in front of the house. Teach her how to sit and come on command using treats or play as a reward. Trust me, your dog will be able to do all those things, the question is whether or not you can teach her. But I believe in you. You can do it! Here’s a tip:  Be patient, it doesn’t happen overnight.