The Secret With Dogs Is Consistency

, , , , , | Friendly | May 28, 2020

A neighbor’s dog, large but still a puppy, has slipped her collar. The dog is usually very well-behaved and has learned commands well. The neighbor is pretty friendly, laid back, and in control, so I am a bit surprised to see the dog running back and forth in the street as the young man chases after, swinging her leash and cursing and yelling at the dog to stop.

Of course, the dog thinks it is a great, fun game and keeps running, staying close but out of reach, and nearly getting hit by cars a couple of times. “Stop” is probably not a command that she’s been taught.

Me: “[Neighbor], stop and command [Dog] to ‘sit’ and ‘stay.’ She thinks you’re playing with her and she’ll keep running if you keep chasing her.

Neighbor: “She’s my dog and I’ll handle it my way. Butt out!”

As I watch, the “game” continues for several more minutes, the neighbor getting more and more frustrated and upset at his dog but still chasing after her and cursing and shouting. Finally, after the dog is nearly hit by another car, he stops running.

Neighbor: “[Dog], sit! Stay!”

The dog immediately sat, allowing the young man to walk right up and slip her collar back on and lead her back home.

Although it was hard not to say anything, I didn’t, as I was glad disaster was avoided and I didn’t want to antagonize the already upset young man. The next time I saw them, the dog was wearing a sturdy harness, and for several weeks after, the neighbor avoided eye contact with me.

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