Here’s a nice post from Casey Lomonaco on “the myth of normal dogs.” As the always-training owner of a troubled dog, this resonated with me.
Lomomaco asks us to “Carefully review the list of normal dog behaviors* [that she gives]. If these are not the behaviors you want, you need to train your dog to offer abnormal behaviors.” And she’s dead on: abnormal behaviors are exactly what we want from our dogs. These desirable (to humans) but not-so-natural behaviors include things like walking calmly on leash – even when passing something distracting, not going into the trash can, greeting guests at the door with a bone instead of a bark, letting strangers pet them: just about all the things that make friends, neighbors, and strangers on the street say, “My what a good dog you have!”
* These include biting, chewing, barking and growling, digging holes, vocalizing when left alone, liking to run around as fast as they can – even if they knock over small children or grandma in the process, sniffing everything, and rolling in poop and dead things.