Honest and Integrity Do Not Exist in a Dog's World
Things like Honesty & Integrity do not exist in a dog’s world. There are no such things as honesty or integrity to a dog. However.... OPPORTUNITY... now that absolutely exists in a dog’s world.
Do not expect your dog to “do the right thing because that is the right thing to do.”
True story: I had to take Sawyer to the Vet today for a routine Lepto vaccine shot. Now... Sawyer is a young, friendly, high energy, high drive, ready-to-go kind of dog. He is also very well trained. Due to COVID-19 my Vet clinic is doing curbside service. The Vet tech met me at my car and she took Sawyer on leash while I waited in my car. Sawyer “heeled” with the Vet tech for about 2 seconds and then he pulled on leash for 40’-50’ to the vet clinic door & launched up the stairs. WHY???! He is super well trained to “heel” both ON & OFF leash & fully knows to “heel” while on stairs and go slowly. He does it ALL the time with me. He is a trainer’s dog after all.
Why would he do that? He KNOWS what he SHOULD do so why didn’t he? Simple:
1. He wanted to. That simple. Pulling & lunging up the stairs were way more fun than heeling and ....
2. He KNEW there would be no consequences with the Vet tech (& he was right). He knew a leader was not present, so....he did what he wanted. Would he have done those things with me?? No way.
This is dogs. When things like leadership, structure, rules & accountability are absent... anything goes.
Example for us humans: let’s say there were ZERO consequences for not paying your mortgage or utility bills: we SHOULD repay our home loan debt and we SHOULD pay for our on-going utility services but... if we don’t... nothing happens... we still keep the house and the utilities still stay on. How many of us would still do what we SHOULD do? Sure... some of us would! Most would not. Dogs are the same. There absolutely are those super easy-going, laidback, low drive level dogs that will kind of follow the rules no matter the situation, tools used or leader present (or absent). Absolutely... those dogs exist! I FULLY understand that 🙂 My Pit bull “Sadie” of 10 years absolutely was one of those dogs. An 8 yr old kid could have walked her in a “heel” on leash through a busy park around tons of distractions with no instruction & no help... she was just that kind of dog.... she was not super opportunistic. I have worked with and met other dogs like that. However.... Sawyer is not one of those dogs.... and.... most dogs are not... just like most humans are not.
Dogs require and deserve leadership, structure, rules & accountabiltiy. Without those things present.... anything goes.
*Note: this post of course is nothing against my Vet clinic 🙂 I love my Vet clinic & the entire staff. They are phenomenal! They (& any vet clinic) see dozens of dogs day in and day out. There is obviously no time for them to learn each individual dog’s training, commands, tools, know-how, etc. The whole point is not about the Vet clinic... it is that dogs are opportunistic animals and they will take advantage if allowed to do so.