Wanted: Stupid Dogs

969295_10202087230557656_1881258849_nYeah, Baby Z thinks it sounds crazy, too.  But is it really?

Think about it.  Do you really want Lassie as a dog?  I would posit that many people do not – not really.  They do not want a dog that could make them breakfast and then wash the dishes afterwards, because that dog could also manage to accomplish an awful lot of things that didn’t make them happy.

Lassie was a problem solver.  She always knew what to do when Timmy fell down the well.  But take this into the real world.  A dog that smart that can solve problems may just become one himself to anyone who doesn’t really appreciate him for who he truly is:  a dog.

Too often I am called by well meaning individuals who want me to take the dog out of their dog.  They see dogs that are trained with certain methods that would never think of doing anything they are not specifically asked to do.  They very rarely do anything on their own.  They sit and wait for their handler’s commands.  They do not act like dogs act.  Not anymore.  They call this training.  I call it robotization without the robots.  It takes any free thought away from a dog.  The dog learns not to think for himself, and often becomes a dog that could not find its way out of a paper bag.  Stupid dog.

I think this is sad.  I like dogs that can be dogs.  Yes, I want them to have certain boundaries they live by, but I don’t make them so rigorous that they can no longer behave like a dog.  I don’t live with dogs because I want to live with a being that never thinks for itself.  I live with beings who are dogs, and act like dogs, and yes, occasionally get into trouble like dogs.  Because I love dogs.  I love being surrounded by dogs who think, dogs who love, dogs who occasionally learn how to do something I wish they couldn’t do.

Dogs play, dogs chew, dogs chase, dogs bark, dogs zoom!  I allow my dogs to do all of these things because it makes them happy.  And when they are happy, I am happy.  So if you want your dog to act like a robot, be seen and not heard, be a part of the furniture (or worse – a lawn ornament), well, you might want to find a trainer who doesn’t love dogs as much as I do, because that just isn’t who they are.  But if you want them to be well behaved but thinking dogs who are capable of solving problems and being the creative, loving, and fun creatures that they naturally are, I would love to meet you.  You are my kind of person.  I will not make your dog stupid.

About Dawn Gardner, CPDT-KA

I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), an administrator of the Modern Dog Group, and a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG). I am also a freelance writer for dog related publications. I have been training dogs since 1997, promoting force-free, science based training methods, instructing group classes and providing private in-home dog training. I have worked extensively with dogs with behavioral issues, including those suffering from anxiety, aggression and other stress related disorders. I have dedicates much of my free time to rehabilitating and re-homing shelter dogs with a variety of rescue organizations. As part of my passion for advocating science based dog training methods, I have had the privilege to lecture at Virginia Tech’s School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2014 I returned to Arkansas after 12 years in rural North Carolina, where Happy Hound Pet Services began in 2007. I live in Rudy, Arkansas, with my nine dogs and occasional foster dogs.
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