Dogs don't come pre-programmed

“I have a [insert breed here] and he is just wild on the leash. He pulls and drags me all over the place. I have seen other [insert breed here] walking with other people and they walk perfectly by their master’s side. Why won’t my dog do that, how can I get him to do that?”

“Well, what have you tried doing so far to get that?”

“Umm… I watch [some TV show] and [the guy] said to be calm and make sure my dog walks behind me and put the leash at the very top of his neck. I try to be calm but he still pulls.”

“So, you haven’t done any training to teach him not to pull?”

“I’ve just been calm and trying to do what [the man] does on TV.”

So, what this person is saying is that they have done zero training and are shocked that their dog pulls on a leash.

Dogs, unfortunately, do not come pre-programmed to sit when asked, lay down when asked, not pull on a leash, or fetch the newspaper in the morning. What they DO come pre-programmed to do is bark, play bite, poop, pee, whine, lick, dig, scratch, roll (in pleasant things), jump, wrestle, and move at a rate generally faster than our own.

We have got to remember that we are asking dogs to really change quite a bit about their natural and appropriate behaviors to better fit within OUR culture. We cannot expect that transition to happen without any work on our part to either train behaviors or build routines that help them learn expectations. This doesn’t happen overnight and is a process.

Sometimes the expectations we put on dogs are really unattainable–especially when the human counter parts do not do their part to make it happen. It’s okay to expect your dog not to drag you down the street but you have to do your part to make that expectation a reality.

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