How do you know if you’ve got a good dog? Is it because he listens to you? Is it because he comes when called, even around distractions? Is it because she sits like a perfect little angel while you’re sipping your latte in front of a seaside cafe overlooking a beach in Sicily?
You may have a well-behaved dog… but whether he’s a really good dog is dependent upon your own personal taste in dogs and what you’re looking for in a companion.
Owning a dog is a lot like being married. And in marriage, there is a courtship process you go through before deciding to spend the rest of your life (or in this case, the dog’s life) with each other.
This rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Otherwise rational individuals who might take months or years of dating a person before committing to sharing an apartment together… somehow instantly fall in love with the first dog who crosses their path.
And just like with love, there’s nothing wrong with that, I guess. (Unless it ends up making you crazy).
See, if you learn the right dog training techniques you can train a dog to be well behaved. She’ll sit, down, come, heel, stay and display perfect manners around company. But…
You can change a dog’s behaviors.
You can’t change a dog’s personality.
Do you like to cuddle? Some dogs love it. Other dogs hate being touched.
Do you feel safer when your dog barks if somebody (or something) is prowling around the outside of your house? Some dogs are very protective. Others could care less and will sleep through a home invasion.
Do you have a lifestyle where having an outgoing, sociable dog is required? Or do you prefer a dog who is more reserved and aloof with strangers?
So… how do you know if you’ve got a good dog? A good dog is any dog who’s personality you really like. Bad behaviors can be unlearned, quickly. But personality is something– for better or for worse– is unique to your dog.
Either you love your dog’s personality or you don’t.
If you don’t, then find him or her a good home with somebody who does. Life is too short.
It took me a long time to learn this lesson. I always felt bad about placing a dog that wasn’t a good fit with me, in another home. But inevitably, I started getting feedback from the new owners about what “a good fit” the dog was, in it’s new home.
In summation: You’ll know you’ve got a good dog for you when you get past the honeymoon phase and you still can’t imagine yourself living without the dog.
And that’s a wonderful thing to experience.