I see a lot of dogs that don't know how to just be still. To be honest, I know a lot of folks who can't either, but we are going to limit this conversation to our K9 companions.

The dog in this picture is now an AKC Grand Champion of some note. I have lost track of their awards system changes over the years. These things no longer have much meaning for me. I recently recieved an image from his owner's estate showing how wonderful he's doing now and how remarkable he was as a show dog from his new owners. I couldn't tell you the dogs' name now, but I do remember him and his fantastic owners.

Beside the point, but for the longest time, people were under the impression that dogs only needed to learn how to be still for the show ring.

They need to learn how to be still for everyone, including their owners, vets, groomers, and any other potential caregiver. Personally, I think if every dog learned this one simple task, there would be a lot less bites in the world. Not only does it teach the dog to be STILL, it teaches the dog to accommodate the touch of total strangers.

I cannot enumerate the dogs who have bitten out of fear of being touched by strangers. The CDC can.

As a trainer, I get folks who lament about how they "...don't need that show ring obedience stuff..." not understanding how they perceive that as somehow different in skill set or expectation than not chasing a squirrel or eating the mailman. If owners assumed more responsibility for their dogs' behavior, we'd be far better positioned to reduce dog bites in this country. I am routinely put upon by rude dogs that accost my person in objectionable ways and their owners think that is acceptable behavior. When I ask them why they would allow their dog to do that; run up on a total stranger and molest them, their response is usually one of surprise. "But, but... I thought you LIKED dogs!"

I do. Mannerly dogs. I subscribe to the theory that like children, dogs should be seen and not heard. If I have to control your dog FOR YOU, I can already see where your problems with your dogs behavior lie.

The alternative of that is the troglodyte I refer to as the 'common oaf' that thinks they are entitled to take liberties with dogs simply because they are in public. They rush up, squealing like wounded swine as their wind whistles through their mouths, arms outstretched, hands like 5 fingered octopi reaching for face, fur, whatever is within their infantile reach. Cooing about how they love doggies and all doggies love them. Meanwhile poor Fluffy is looking for an escape route, and finding none available, while accompanied by an owner that is entirely toothless or so shocked they are unable to respond fast enough to thwart their assailant in a timely fashion, commits the cardinal sin of placing tooth upon flesh... and is condemned for the same behavior we would be congratulated for; successfully thwarting the attack of an unknown assailant.

Dogs are the new victim, and the gushing, asinine behavior of total strangers is (almost 100% of why people get bitten and why dogs die) the new plague of poor manners bequeathed to the next generation by careless and clueless parents. All the poor owner with their dog wants to do is try to make their way down the street in what was once considered a relaxing, recreational jaunt into the neighborhood to take in fresh air and greet old friends.

I have actually had people STOP THEIR CARS to ask if their children can pet my dog, and then get all bent out of shape when I say no. Those that persist get asked if I can fondle them, in exchange.

Dog ownership is plagued by risk. Stuff that would have never occurred in these numbers even ten years ago- virtually unheard of 20 years ago, and entirely nonexistent when I was first starting out in the late 70s.

How does it relate to the dog in the picture?

His owners went out of their way to assure that he would not be a burden on his caregivers. You see, his owners are dead. They died in antiquity; his male owner a multi-time cancer survivor who used to infuriate me with his sneaking cigarettes while his wife and I worked with this youngster, died from complications of Covid. His delightful female owner passed this last year from complications related to a minor surgery. His estate wanted me to know that he was a welcome addition to a multi dog home. An intact male Rottweiler who has stood at public stud, and is now a house pet that travels the countryside with a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

The point is, he was made safe through training. Through the constant exposure to things that most dogs never see. He is well traveled and has even flown in planes. He is worldly.

Of course, most dogs will never live The Lifestyles Of the Rich And Famous, but that doesn't preclude them from learning and doing and being. Your postage stamp back yard isn't a big enough world for your tiny assassin Yorkie, anymore than it was for this dog.

We acquire dogs as companions and then lock them up in crates, kennels and tiny little back yards. We deny them access to the greater world. We never let them fill their nostrils with the delights of exotic locations, and yet we complain that they are restless and destructive. We try to fit them into convenient little molds as we are overwhelmed by guilt about their lack of "environmental enrichment" while sold a bill of goods by well intended but ignorant people who are more interested in the species with the credit card.

Train the dog. Life will be so much more... fulfilling. For you and your dog.

After all, isn't that the very definition of 'socialization'?