Understanding Canines 101:
When in Rome, Think Like the Romans!!
Maryland Pet Gazette - 2003
Through dog training, we have learned that dogs are fascinating creatures possessing great
character. They are intelligent, honest, hardworking, devoted, protective and entertaining. They are
free of prejudices, not influenced by politics, social status or material gain. But, here’s the trait that
really trips us up: they are LOGICAL while humans are just not capable of such unmitigated logic!
The problem: We humans, aren’t capable of having emotions and exercising pure logic as the basis
of all behavior. And we are deemed the superior species? NOT! Oh sure, a few come close, like that
left-brained, accountant type (whose family would argue they are not as emotionally attuned as
their dog), but bet your bottom dollar if you put the most logical person up against any dog, they
wouldn’t stand a chance! This utter deficiency causes us to set dogs up to fail in many ways
(thankfully, dogs have that whole unconditional love thing going on). Let’s illustrate:
Your puppy piddles on the floor. You feel lucky to have “caught him in the act,” so you can scold
him. HUMAN THOUGHT: Now he’ll know not to piddle in the house. DOG THOUGHT: Wow - I
should never piddle in front of him. Then you wonder why your puppy won’t piddle outside with
you, but instead waits until you’re not looking then sneaks into the other room behind a chair!
Your dog displays fear aggression towards other dogs by lunging, barking, growling with his hair
up. A dog approaches, your dog starts to display, you immediately stroke his back (are you trying
to keep that hair down?), and say “ Shhh, it’s okay.” HUMAN THOUGHT: I’m calming him down
so he won’t get upset. DOG THOUGHT: WOW - she loves when I act this
way. I will do more of this next time!
You train your dog without an obedience trainer. You get a few "sits" in the kitchen, or an
occasional "down." Soon your dog takes to escaping in the yard. You sternly, yell "COME!... I
SAID COME!" Your face is contorted, your teeth are clenched and you have a bulging, pulsating
vein down the center of your forehead. HUMAN THOUGHT: He’ll come - he knows I mean
business. DOG THOUGHT: My loved one has turned into a seething, maniacal monster- I’d better
stay away from him!
You conclude it's cruel to crate train your puppy. Here's cruel: you leave your puppy loose in the
house and return to find he has destroyed something: a shoe, couch, the foundation of the house.
You get angry and your dog know you are mad (but doesn't know why). The next time you leave ,
more destruction, more anger. In no time, YOU have created a vicious anxiety cycle for your dog.
HUMAN THOUGHT: He knows he did wrong because he " looks guilty." DOG THOUGHT: When
my master comes home, he is angry with me so I act submissive. This makes me very frightened the
next time he leaves, so I chew things.
To modify this superior species' behavior, understand why dogs do what they do. Isn't it enough
to ask them to adapt to our human culture? Do we have to muddy their waters by being so
ignorant? The least we can do is be kind enough to teach them in a way that sets them up to
succeed. So, the next time your dog does something you deem bizarre or ill-behaved, before you
react, ask yourself this key question: Why did the chicken cross the road?!
To find out how your individual goals can be achieved, call P.U.P.S
Dog Obedience Training at 410-992-8410, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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