A personal opinion. 

The question whether a dog is well trained is not an easy one to answer, although it may seem at first. For starters, what is a well-trained dog? If you were to ask ten people this question, even if all of them were competent dog trainers, you would probably get ten different answers. How come?  

 

 

 there is a lot more beyond just sugar and vegetables, and this is where opinions are different

 

Well, the demands on our dogs are probably just as different as they are on our partners, on a job, or on a place of residence. While for one person a monogamous marriage in a chic suburban house crowned by having children is the epitome of perfection, another person can be terrified by this life plan. It's no different with our dogs. What is a dream on four paws for one, could be the sheer horror of cross-species coexistence for the other.  

Despite the fact, there are probably certain behaviours in dogs that everyone would classify as "well-trained" or "untrained", just as everyone (I hope) knows by now that sugar is unhealthy for our bodies and fresh vegetables are good. A reliable recall, for example, is something that would certainly please most dog owners, while a dog chewing up your furniture and clothes most people could do without.  

But there is a lot more beyond just sugar and vegetables, and this is where opinions are different. For example, is a dog badly behaved if he lies on the sofa, or even sleeps in your bed? Is a dog bad if he digs for mice and gets dirty? Is he well-behaved when he doesn't bark? This list could go on and on, but I think my point is clear. At the end of the day, each dog owner must decide for himself what is pleasant and acceptable to him, provided, of course, that neither the dog nor people or animals are harmed by him. That being said, my dog should not chase the neighbour’s children down the hallway and bite them, just because this does not bother me in the slightest (hint: He just wants to play).  

 

 

I can only recommend every dog owner to ask himself these questions at least once.

 

In addition to your desires, needs and circumstances, you should also look at what makes your dog tick. If, for example, I have a dog that challenges me a lot and is always testing his boundaries, it might be advisable not to grant him all the privileges in the house. Because even though I like to have my dog lying next to me in bed, on the sofa, and sitting on its own chair at the dining table, living together with this animal could possibly become very unpleasant. At least when the dog decides that I am no longer allowed to sit on the sofa and starts to growl at me to give me warnings.  

However, we as dog owners have all the freedom within certain limits. We decide for ourselves what is important to us, what we attach greater importance to in training our pets and where we sometimes turn a blind eye to. Personally, it has helped me a lot to be conscious of this. What do I expect from my dog in everyday life? What areas are crucial to me that my dog functions in? What are the things I am possibly working on, only to be recognized by my peers? Which problems can I solve by changing my perspective on things? I can only recommend every dog owner to ask himself these questions at least once. 

After this little introduction, I can now officially admit it: Rico, my dog, is allowed to sit on the sofa and he likes it a lot. But so that he doesn't become completely crazy and my partner remains happy, Rico is not allowed to sleep in the bed. This is our compromise and all three of us can live with this arrangement very well.  

 

 

There are certainly dogs that make your life easier than others.

 

Depending on each dog and our own ideas, there is of course more or less training required. If I want a dog that is super responsive under all circumstances, then of course I have to invest much more time in training than if I am content with my dog coming to me when there is nothing else to do. So, in this case, I would train the recall under the most controlled conditions possibly with increasing distractions and be meticulous about consistently enforcing my commands.  

I said "would" on purpose, because I often lack the necessary motivation when it comes to training and educating (which are not the same by the way), at least for me. In essence, it is a simple cost-benefit analysis: What are my goals as a dog owner and how much am I willing to invest in it? Admittedly, it's not quite that simple, because there are certainly dogs that make your life easier than others. Still, that doesn't change the fact that I need to think about how much time I want to devote to training my dog. The extent of my efforts will have a significant impact on the result (assuming you are experienced in the area of training). We know this from other areas of life as well. As the Germans would say, “no master has ever fallen from the sky”. Or do you know a competitive athlete who goes to training once a week? A pianist who is too lazy to practice? Probably not.  

 

 

So anyone who expects maximum results with minimum effort has a problem. 

 

I know what I'm talking about because I'm probably one of the laziest perfectionists under the sun. I often find myself cursing my dog when he misbehaves (especially when it happens in front of others). But if I am honest with myself, his behaviour which is in need of more training, has not bothered me enough, at least up until now, to invest a considerable amount of time and energy to take action against it. One example: Rico is fairly anxious in the car. This leads to the fact that in particular when we approach the arrival, sometimes he starts to whine. Depending on the mood of the day, this bothers me to a greater or lesser extent. If I have friends or colleagues in the car with me, it annoys me a lot and I feel ashamed of Rico's behaviour. In the beginning, I tried to get a handle on this problem. However, I quickly realized that it is not a matter of days to work on Rico's expectation of driving (to be clear, I got him as an adult dog and he used to drive to the dog park in the car with his previous owner, the highlight of the day). This enormous effort was not in proportion to the fairly small problem of the short whine before arrival. This is my personal decision and now it is up to me to stand by this decision.  

 

I would like to add to this 

that every dog has certain boundaries, but also certain abilities, which are shaped by his genes and his character (at least that is my opinion). Dogs, just like humans, are emotional beings with their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. This is wonderful and ultimately characterizes the deep and intimate relationships we have with them.  

However, owners should know their dog so well that we especially know about his limits in order to save him and ourselves unnecessary drama. It is by no means a sign of educational failure if a hunting dog hunts, or a sensitive dog doesn’t react in a deeply relaxed manner to every situation!  

 

 

Stop undesirable behaviour by simply changing the patterns

 

Finally, I would like to share the incredibly valuable secret weapon of every lazy but perfectionist dog owner. It is called management, or in other words, solving problems without actually solving them at all. In fact, in many situations, we can easily stop undesirable behaviour by simply changing the patterns. Example: Would you leave your overweight child alone with the chocolate cake and be upset afterwards that he or she was bad and ate the cake, even though you specifically didn’t allow it? Probably not. After all, it would make much more sense to put the cake where the poor kid can't reach it in the first place. You might as well close the bedroom door when you leave the house if you don't want your dog in your bed while you're away. Or going back to the recall: I handle it in such a way that if I cannot see the next street, I call Rico preventively. Because I know exactly, if an attractive female is waiting there and he sees the lady of his dreams, then I have no chance controlling my slightly hormone-driven dog. 

In other words, with a few little tricks you can make your life easier without any major effort.