“Just how much work is this dog going to be anyway?@*!” that was the question from my new friend at Starbucks.

I was just grabbing a coffee at Starbucks in between lessons and reading one of the new books I got on dog training.  Always want to stay educated.  I guess this man saw what I was reading and noticed my Petiquette shirt came and sat down and started talking about his dog.

How Much Work is this Dog Going to Be


Here’s His Story

The dog is a female adolescent Labrador – about 18 months old who I’m sure was the “twinkle of their eyes” as a puppy.   But now she was apparently climbing the walls with nothing to do but chew up the house! Totally stressed.

He kept on talking and he told me how his dog stayed charged up all the time.  I asked a couple of questions:

  1.  What are you feeding your dog:  Pedigree
  2.  Do you walk your dog. No

Now, if you’ve been part of our community for any length of time you already see the red flags waving here.  Right?

He did say they had, as new responsible puppy owners, enrolled their dog in puppy classes at their local retail pet store and when done with their puppy training, picked up a 40# bag of Pedigree on the way out the door. Get the picture?

For some reason the thought process seemed to be, “Let’s get a puppy – get it trained – done. Oh yeah, it’s gotta eat. Grab that bag of food. Done.”


But, it’s never really done, is it?


Now I’ve had my “Angel” dogs – those perfect dogs but you just can’t count on every one of them being perfect. I wouldn’t have a job now, would I?

After my first line of discovery, I suggested an immediate food change and multiple walks daily. And, oh yes, start back up on your obedience training.

The second question was, “How long do we have to do this? We work you know.

Now I’m generally a pretty cool cucumber with folks, but this really took me back. After I picked myself up off the floor, I began to find out a little more about their daily routine which included both working out of their home in their upstairs office with their dog down stairs.

Now I don’t know about you, but I know many – no thousands of people – that would give anything to be able to have their dogs with them during the day. What a golden opportunity for this couple to be able to spend this formidable time with their puppy all the way to adulthood to achieve the perfect dog – and enjoying her all along the way!

It’s a perfect opportunity to continue much needed obedience training so that you can solve any dog behavior problem that might come out along the way.

Did I mention having your dog with you in your office as well? Wow! That would be a great stress reducer for those hectic days at the office. Feel stressed? Just reach down and pet your puppy. “I feel good now!”

After least 30 minutes fact-finding, making immediate life-saving recommendations on the dog’s behalf – and theirs, the third question popped out,

“Maybe this isn’t the right dog?”

 By that time my coffee was cold and I could not think of anything else to say that would be polite.

You know as well as I do that replacing this dog that has such great potential, is not the answer.

You know the answer.  Set rules, boundaries and expectations for your dog,exercise your dog, train your dog and take your dog places on the weekends like hikes at the beach or whatever makes your boat float.

Make your dog want to be connected to you – part of your pack because of the cool things you have to offer. In turn, she has to give you sits and downs. You’ll love the outcome, I guarantee it!

Oh, by the way.  The picture of the dog in today’s article is probably the best dog for this couple.  Don’t you think?

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog. (c) Jim Burwell, Inc.