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My Dog Won't Listen!
October 18, 2022 at 6:30 PM
by R. Lauber
Women walking dogs in a city

Many dog owners lament the lack of discipline when recounting unfavorable experiences with their companions. We often hear, "He's very stubborn," or "she doesn't listen when other dogs are near." Indeed, a lack of engagement with your dog can be very defeating. However, a dog's behavior can tell you a lot about how the bulk of their time is spent as well as the type of environment they interact with.

For example, many people rely on pet daycare to look after their companions throughout the workday, by necessity. Unless the facility is conducting structured obedience training, daycare is largely a landscape for external social engagement: the dog is contained for a couple hours, then let outside for nature breaks and supervised play with other dogs, then kenneled and fed (rinse/repeat.) The dog is, in essence, being trained to seek satisfaction from their environment, not the owner. Additionally, a dog that spends many hours getting stimulation in this context will often demonstrate highly social, externally focused behavior patterns in other contexts, such as a walk around the block. And who doesn't love a social dog? (Until, of course, they ignore you in favor of engaging with the neighbor's dog across the busy street.)

The value of daycare facilities can't be overstated; it's a fantastic opportunity for socialization. The same could be said for dog parks. The real point here is that the dog is ALWAYS learning and displaying behaviors opportunistic to the bulk of their experiences. Therefore, it is our job to shape our own expectations of their behavior and then adjust their environment and routines accordingly.

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