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Do I Have To?

Author: | Date: December 19, 2012

I’m lucky enough to spend a LOT of time talking to our clients, both in the office during the day, and in teaching my classes.  One of my favorite questions to hear from people is “Does my dog have to do _______?”  It’s one of my favorite questions, because it’s one that I can always answer.  My answer to that question is “Well, do you want your dog to __________?”

Let me explain.

People tend to get hung up on what their dogs are SUPPOSED to do.

Your dog is supposed to have a perfect heel, never dig in the backyard, fetch your slippers on Sunday mornings, and smell like freshly cut grass. But what if you absolutely adore your leash-pulling, hole-to-China-digging, slipper-hiding, stinky-like-a-foot pooch – and you don’t really care if they can’t do any of those things?  Guess what?  Then I, as a trainer, don’t care either!  Isn’t that great?

In my work, I am always doing my best to help you with what you want to work on with your dog: not what the books, TV shows, or your neighbors tell you that your dog “should” do.  For instance, a lot of small dog owners really don’t care if their dog doesn’t want to lay down on cue.  They’re already so small, that it’s really not important to them that the dog can perform that behavior reliably.  I get that, I accept that, and then we can move onto something that they’re excited to work on with their dog.  If it’s not a problem for you, then we don’t need to spend time working on it.

You’re going to be much more excited to see your dog performing the behaviors that are really important (or really funny) to you.

So, don’t sweat it if your neighbor’s dog is over there doing back flips, and your dog is laying under your feet, endlessly sniffing his rear end.  A “well-trained” dog is in the eye of the beholder, and I’m here to help you with whatever it is that you want to work on.

Finally, to prove my point, here are a list of things that my dog Lulu fails at: jumping on people, barking when I answer the phone, heeling, being left alone and begging.  Shockingly, we keep her around.

I’d love to hear from you – name one thing your dog can’t do that doesn’t bother you one bit!


I felt that AnimalSense genuinely wanted the best for us and our pup.

Glenn S. | View Client Testimonials


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