I was walking on the Katy Trail last week when I overheard a conversation. A woman told her friend that her son said to her “you need to do my laundry more often”. Apparently he was upset that a particular shirt he wanted to wear that day had not yet made it through the wash cycle. The woman vented to her friend how angry she was with this disrespectful remark. I wondered to myself, if he is old enough to be doing his laundry, why isn’t he doing it?

It would seem to me that if a child was required to do his laundry at a reasonable age he would have the opportunity to learn responsibility, discipline and respect and be less inclined to speak disrespectfully to his mother. I realized this woman’s approach to parenting (as portrayed to me in an overheard conversation on the Katy Trail) mirrors 50% of my client’s approach to dog-raising. These owners give the dog everything and ask nothing of it. Eventually, they place a call to me when the dog has been disrespectful in a way that crosses the line for the owner.

When I find myself in a consultation with a client who has called me because their dog has finally done something that has crossed the line the first question I ask them is about their dog’s training. Their answer might be “he knows shake and rollover”, or “she will sit, down, stay, come…..for a treat”. When I ask what rules or boundaries they have established for the dog they give me a look as though they have no idea what I’m asking them. I fully believe that 40% of this 50% would have avoided the dreadful disrespectful thing (usually biting) their dog has done to make them break down and call the dog trainer if they had given the dog discipline, rules, and boundaries from the moment they met the creature.

I encourage everyone that thinks they would like to own a dog to educate themselves about the proper way to offer a dog discipline, rules and boundaries BEFORE they get a dog. Having a plan before you’ve met the cute little fluff ball helps get things going in the right direction. I firmly feel prevention of owning a disrespectful dog is much easier than trying to undo it once it’s done. I’m wondering if the lady on the Katy Trail can undo her son’s disrespectful attitude.