Sit, Ubu, Sit: What Makes a Good Dog?
Many of us probably already have our own ideas about what makes a good dog. Your ideal dog might enjoy sitting on the couch, binge-watching Netflix with you, or perhaps your perfect canine companion is one who will join you on your daily 10 mile run. But is there really an ideal “good” dog?
Your team at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center never shies away from tough topics, and we’re tackling this one head on!
A dog’s temperament, also known as his or her personality, is often a trait by which we judge whether or not a particular dog is good or bad. Most dogs have certain inherited traits, which can often be either modified or enhanced, depending on the environment the dog is in. Age and health also have much to do with a dog’s overall energy level and personality.
Most canine behaviorists agree that there is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” temperament, but that temperament is either suitable or unsuitable for a particular time, place, or circumstance. For example, an aggressive, highly protective dog may not be suitable for a home with small children and other pets, but might make the perfect police dog or a watchful guard dog for someone living alone. A playful, outgoing dog may be better suited for an individual or family that has an active, outdoor lifestyle, whereas, a shy, more docile dog may be a better match for someone who is mostly indoors or sedentary.
For many dog owners, how readily a dog responds to training is a key indicator of a good dog. A dog that is easily taught basic commands, or that can be trained to walk on a leash or not to jump on visitors is much easier to manage and be around. Keep in mind that, with patience and consistency, even many “bad” dogs can be taught the skills necessary to enjoy life in our human world.
How your dog’s energy level meshes with your family’s lifestyle will probably determine whether or not you consider your dog “good”. Mellow, couch potato dogs are a great fit for a laidback household, while a family that loves camping and hiking would probably prefer an energetic dog that can hold his or her own on the trail.
Do You Have a Good Dog?
By now, you see that there is no one-size-fits-all good dog. All people, regardless of whether or not they own a dog, have different ideas about what makes a dog good. Our own personalities, life circumstances, interests, and goals when it comes to dog ownership all come into play when we consider the definition of a good dog.
Bottom line, choosing a dog that is suited to your home environment and your lifestyle is the best way to ensure that your dog will be a good companion for you.
Here are a few tips that can help anyone who owns or visits with a dog to make the most out of the interaction:
- Always supervise dogs and children, regardless of whether or not the dog has a history of biting or aggression. Any dog can bite or become aggressive if it feels threatened, even one that has never shown this behavior before.
- Never approach or attempt to pet a strange dog without first making sure the dog is friendly and that you have the owner’s permission. A dog that perceives a stranger as a threat may react aggressively and bite.
- Dogs of all ages need plenty of exercise to burn off excess energy and keep their minds sharp. A tired, satiated dog will most likely be a well-behaved dog! Interact and play with your dog on a daily basis, indoors or out.
- Make sure your dog is properly trained to be comfortable and behave appropriately around other people and pets. We offer a variety of training opportunities for dogs of all ages and temperaments in our Canine Academy.
- Overall health can make or break a dog’s inherent personality traits. Make sure that your dog eats the appropriate diet, makes it to all of his or her wellness exams, and is kept up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite preventives. Keeping your dog healthy and feeling good can make a big difference in its attitude and behavior.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center with any questions or concerns you have about your dog!