Dog Breeds

When Jock Goes to College

Up to this point we have confined ourselves fairly closely to what all well-mannered dogs should do and not do the everyday etiquette that in people indicates what we call good breeding. These essentials any dog can learn and almost any owner can teach. Certain professionals with an axe to grind and a living to make may tell you otherwise, but don’t believe that sort of buncombe. Training Jock to lie quietly at your feet or not to jump up and put his paws on visitors requires no mumbo jumbo.

A mossgrown maxim among handlers has it that, to train a dog, you must know more than the dog does; but that doesn’t tell the whole story. You may know a thousand times as much as your dog, yet be unwilling to take the trouble or lack the time and patience to put your knowledge to good use. Perhaps you are a very busy person with little spare time or perhaps you are very nervous and highstrung or very unobservant. People have even been known to be as careless or indifferent about the education of their dogs as they sometimes are about more important things the education of their children, for instance.

But whatever your circumstances, disposition or inclinations, you have sufficient time and ability to teach Jock four simple things; and for your own reputation, that of your dog, and for the good name of dogs in general, I beg you to do it. These four fundamentals are: to obey your whistle or call; to be cleanly in your own house or the houses of your friends; not to welcome visitors by jumping all over them, and to behave in such a way in your car that you can invite a friend for a ride without subjecting your passenger to constant mauling and general discomfort. You are fairly successful in obeying ten commandments in regard to your own conduct; you should be able to obey only four for regulating the conduct of your dog.

I hope you aim much higher than that; that you have learned to enjoy giving Jock his lessons, have gotten a thrill out of his response to your training and are properly proud of the fact that he is in every way a canine gentleman. If that is your attitude you have probably reached a point where you would like to see him not only a gentleman but an accomplished one. This means you may decide to pit him against other accomplished dogs in officially recognized obedience tests at the shows, or to give him a college education in certain more or less difficult tricks he will perform for the benefit of your friends and acquaintances.


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