Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Written by seeking_truth_in_k9s
Also check out the first article in the series: Roots.
You have a decision to make when you get a dog, a very important one. What do you want this dog to be? Do you want it to be a pet? Is there a specific task it needs to accomplish? Do you want it to be stable and listen to you? It’s an important decision and one that requires careful thought and consideration.
For the majority of dog owners, I believe it’s fair to say that they would like their dogs to have manners, listen, and be able to take them wherever they go in order to better enjoy their company. That’s great, and exactly what all dog owners should want, but that’s not a pet, that’s a dedicated companion. A pet is something you water, feed, and provide the bare minimum to in order to keep it alive. If the one thing they look forward to every single day is feeding time, what kind of life is that? A companion, on the other hand, looks forward to time spent with their handler. They look forward to accomplishing something together and the gratification that comes with a job well done. Now do all dogs who work and have a purpose share a companionship with their handlers? No.
Having a dog perform and then throwing it back in a kennel for the rest of the day doesn’t produce a good dog. It creates a creature that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anything else besides what it wants to do. When people say “Oh yeah, he eats handlers for breakfast. He’s such an asshole but he bites hard as shit.” Okay?? Cool? Your dog bites hard but gives the handler issues and acts out against them? Sounds like more of a liability to me. The dog should’ve had a handler in the beginning that showed it what is acceptable and what isn’t, making it far more stable. Is that asshole some people’s definition of a “good dog”? Yes, it is. Is that what some people want? Yeah. Is it my definition and what I want? No.
If you want a companion, it goes far beyond the working aspect. It’s showing them how to behave, what to do in certain situations, how to respond to things. Many dog owners don’t think twice about how their dog acts in public. An example would be parents who don’t teach their child manners or how to behave. Their kids are a nuisance to everyone around them and no one enjoys them. Handlers and owners that don’t take the time to make their dog socially acceptable and keep them locked up at home their entire lives are doing a huge disservice and dishonor to their dog. Dogs were not put on this earth to be a burden. They’re here to make our lives better, to teach us, to protect us. It’s our responsibility to show them what a companion is so that we can make the most of their time here with us. Honor them.
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