People have long known the phrase ‘manners maketh man’ before the Kingsman aired. If Kid-A is a child without manners to elderly, to the environment and to peers, what would you call Kid-A? – a spoilt brat. And who is the cause of the spoilt brat? – none other than the parents. Similarly, who is the cause of a dog without manners? – the owners.
Dogs learn a big bulk of their manners from their parents and their peers. After leaving the dams, the owners and their peers plays a very big part of who and what they become. Dogs are not born to be ill-mannered, but they can become ill-mannered. It is easy spot humans without manners but we tend to overly forgive and overlook dogs without manners. What exactly does manners mean to dogs? We can simply classify manners for dogs into 3 big categories. Human manners, Environment manners and Dog manners. And the simplest way to know if your dog has adequate manners is to transfer whatever your dog is doing to humans, the environment and other dogs into human terms.
If your dog is constantly jumping on humans, licking their faces or dashing into them, think of it as a kid constantly climbing on to you, fussing with your clothes. The biggest part of human manners lies in affection. Giving your dog too much unnecessary affection can result in the lack of human manners.
Environment manners is something that many owners do not take into consideration. A dog can leave pee, poo and saliva around, it doesn’t cause much damage to the environment but it can create some VERY bad habits for your dog. Two of the main things that we often see are dogs marking everywhere they go and excessively sniffing the ground. There is a difference between peeing and marking, there is a huge misconception that male dogs need to lift their legs and mark all the pillars and trees they come across. Male dogs need to pee, just like any other dogs. And no, they do not need to mark. They have a higher tendency to mark but they do not need to mark excessively, this is something that the owners allow them to do. If you do not allow your dog to mark in other’s house, why would you allow it anywhere else? Likewise, they do not need their noses stuck onto the pavement to smell.
Dog manners simply means respecting the other dogs and respecting their spaces. Some dogs are lucky enough to learn manners from the parents, others not so much. It doesn’t really matter where they learnt their manners from, it matters how the owners keep up with the manners. The first thing about teaching your dog manners is to recognise your own dog. If your dog has no manners, recognise it and be courageous enough to correct your dog when it’s disturbing another dog. If your dog is being disturbed by a dog without manners, be strong enough to stop that dog and protect your own dog. Many owners mistake ill-manners for friendliness. A dog constantly licking another dog’s faces or genital area is not being friendly. A dog stalking another dog is also not being friendly. Not recognising your dog’s flaws can cause unnecessary fights.
The example that we have given 101 times – a dog that is constantly licking another dog’s faces or genitals. Imagine a stranger comes up to you and starts fussing with your hair and your butt for 5minutes and wouldn’t quit, what would you do? – send a punch over or call the cops! If a stranger comes behind you are start stalking you, smelling your hair from the back, what would you do? – run and call the cops! Without respecting each other’s space is how dog fights break out. And what do we always hear when fights breakout? – my dog was just being friendly and trying to play, the other dog snapped for no reason. NO, your dog is being pushy and without manners, the other dog is just reacting because no one stepped in.
Regardless of where your dog comes from, it is your job to teach your dog manners. The quickest way to teach a dog manners is to allow the dog to mingle with peers with great manners and be truthful enough to correct your dog when needed. A controlled playdate brings greater satisfaction and joy to your dog than a cafe date or a run-wherever-you-want in the dog park date. There is no shame in admitting that your dog has flaws and work on it. It’s a great shame if you refuse to recognise, admit the mistakes but allow your dog to keep doing what he is doing because that is his ‘personality’. No it’s not.