A Higher Standard: part 1

Authored by me, originally posted to http://www.onqk9.com, this article addresses one of my biggest “pet peeves.”


“Your dog is so SMART!”

“Your dog is so well-behaved, not like my little munchkin.”

“I wish my dog could do that.”

People say this all the time. And I have to say that it really bugs me.

Why? Because there is so much misinformation out there surrounding pet care, guardianship, training and behaviour.

For example, having my dog stop when I stop, or asking him to fetch my shoes, or sit politely to greet visitors…None of these behaviours are as mind-boggling as some passers-by would have you believe – though they are incredibly useful.

And, SURPRISE!!! Any dog can learn to do them. Yes, that’s right, ANY DOG.

But, SURPRISE!!! All of these behaviours have to be TAUGHT.

Being a truly responsible pet guardian is harder than it looks. So, the next time someone tells you “Your dog is so SMART!” Give yourself a pat on the back, and your canine companion a belly rub.

Because you are a team. You have worked together and learned together, supported one another. And you have SKILLS. The time and effort it takes to teach your dog anything new – and do it well, is not for the faint of heart, or thick of head.

Good dogs have good owners. Smart dogs have smart owners.

Smart owners are the ones who see beyond the lap dog, the beggar, the hopeless case, the unskilled, unmotivated canine who has nothing to do all day but eat, sleep, and get into trouble.

All dogs have the potential to shine! Not all dogs have owners willing to help them reach that potential. A person who is a life-long learner, interested in giving their dog a job- a person who has invested in their dog’s health, well-being and education, as well as their own.

Highly trained dogs (service dogs, police dogs, stock dogs, therapy dogs etc.) are held to a high standard. They have a job to do, and it is imperative that they do it well. Their skills and training must be maintained to ensure the health and safety of the public, the dogs themselves, their handlers and anyone (or anything) else the team might encounter while performing their duties.

Pet dogs are not held to the same standard- and neither are their handlers. And my question is: WHY NOT?!

Dogs are capable of learning so much, more than we often give them credit for. And as for the humans, we like to think we are the brainier of the two, so why not put that noggin to good use? Train a dog, work to build a rock-solid partnership and enrich countless lives in the process.

We can do it! Honest!

Thank you for visiting,


Samantha Riesco

Assistant Trainer & Webmaster 

On Q K9 Training