What is a Well Behaved Dog?

by Ragtimelil

Dogs can be well behaved if the are trained. Here's what you should expect your dog to do.

In some other countries besides the United States, dogs are allowed in public. Some countries even allow them to accompany owners on public transportation or to eating places or pubs. Two things happen when dogs can be in these situations. One is that the dogs are better behaved. They have to be or they would not be welcome. They are so conditioned to the surrounds, that it doesn’t cause great excitement.
The other benefit is that the public becomes accustomed to seeing the dogs and expect them to be well-behaved.

Free Spirits

Border CollieSometimes, in our “wild west culture,” dogs are seen as free spirits that can’t be controlled. Since they can’t be expected to behave, they can’t be allowed to be in public. I don’t think the dog is happier being separated from people.

Back in the Day

Border Collie Waiting

At one time in my life, I lived in Newburyport, Massachusetts. I lived near the downtown area and could walk just about everywhere I needed to go. I took a dog or two with me almost every time I went on an errand. My dogs knew how to heel and sat by my side when I stopped. We went in the bank and post office and any other office we needed to visit. I asked and was allowed to take them in the library. They were put in a corner and told to stay while I browsed. Now, if I run an errand, the dogs have to stay home or wait in the car if it’s not too hot.

A Well Behaved Dog

What is a well behaved dog? A dog walks calmly on a loose leash beside his owner. If they are moving through a crowd, the dog stays by his owner and doesn’t lunge at people or get them tangled up in the leash. If they pass other dogs, they only show polite interest in each other. They don’t bark and lunge at each other. When the owner stops to greet someone, the dog stays by the owner’s side. If the other person pats the dog, there is no lunging and jumping up on the person. If there is some strange distraction, such as someone riding on a bicycle, or pushing a carriage, the dog has enough confidence to only show mild interest. The dog is reasonably clean and groomed. The dog obeys basic commands, to sit, lie down, stay, and come when called. The dog can be handled by strangers such as a veterinarian or groomer without showing any fear or resentment.

 Dog Obedience Class

This is just what I would expect a family pet to do. Think about what a service dog, one that guides the blind or assists people with special needs can do.


These basic manners are almost all from the Canine Good Citizen test. It’s an award given to a dog by the American Kennel Cub. Dogs that do hospital and nursing home visits are required to pass this test.

Dog Obedience Class

So how do you train your dog to behave? The best way to socialize and train a dog is to sign up for a dog obedience class. The dog gets to work in a pretty hectic environment full of new people and other dogs. After a few weeks the dog starts to calm down and learns he must obey even in the presence of others. There are special classes you can take too. Some specialize in clicker training, or puppy training or a competition called rally that isn’t as rigid as the usual competitive obedience.Dog Obedience Classes

Train Your Dog

If there isn’t a class near you, you might find a trainer who will work with you. The advantage is the one-on-one focus of the lessons but you lose the distraction of other people and dogs. You should be able to train in areas where you may encounter other people and dogs such as a park.

If nothing else works, get some books and start training your dog. There are plenty of good basic books available. Set some rules for your dog and stick to it. Don’t let the dog jump on you and then punish it for jumping on someone else. That is too confusing for the dog. Have some expectation that your dog will behave. It will take some time and training, but it will happen.


Updated: 11/27/2012, Ragtimelil
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Comments and Questions

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Ragtimelil on 08/03/2012

Naughty dogs! Heavens. lol. Terriers can be a challenge but positive training works really well for them.

BrendaReeves on 08/03/2012

I have very naughty dogs, because I haven't taken the time to train them. Two of them are my mother's dogs and two are mine. My golden retriever will, sit and lie down on command. My Jack Russell will sit, but after that he only follows commands if he feels like it. I know I have to get to work on this.

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