What Determines Whether a Dog is being Good or Bad?

What Determines Whether a Dog is being Good or Bad?

Some dogs have amazing recall whereas others do not react instantly when owners call them back. However, they do respond to the command just not as quickly, so does this mean they are being “bad” dogs? The answer is that it really depends on their owners, the circumstances they find themselves in and what is expected of them.

Border Collies when super well trained respond instantly to commands and this is especially true of working and agility dogs. With this said, the breed is very popular with people who don't live on farms or who aren't keen on getting involved in agility and these active dogs make extremely good family pets with the one proviso being that Border Collies like other high energy breeds are kept mentally stimulated and given adequate amounts of exercise to tire them out.

Dogs Need to Know the Boundaries

Dogs when kept as family pets need to know the boundaries of what is right and wrong, but they also need to express themselves so their personalities are allowed to shine through. Just because a dog takes a little longer to respond to a command does not make them a “bad” dog, they might just need a little longer to process things. In short, some dogs just take longer to learn new things and therefore need to be shown a lot more patience and understanding than those that are extremely “quick” off the mark.

Although some dogs might not be as quick to respond to a command, they may have other strengths worth taking note of which includes an ability to track things down with their noses. All too often a “naughty” dog will take off and ignore an owner when called back simply because their heightened sense of smell has found something irresistible to track down. It can happen when you take them for a walk through the countryside or through the park when they are let off their lead. They are not running away nor are they chasing anything, they are simply doing what they are designed to do which is track an interesting scent so they can investigate what it is.

But is this type of behaviour really “bad” or is it a dog being allowed to be a dog? The only real problem happens if they disappear over the horizon and you have to spend the next few hours hunting them down, but if they just run off a short distance before realising they've left you behind, then this is not being naughty, just inquisitive and curious about a scent they picked up.

All Dogs are Different

It would be fair to say that every dog is different, regardless of their breed and as such it's important to look for their “good” traits rather than fixate on what they are either getting wrong or the things they are just not good at. By doing this you stand a much better chance of forming a strong bond with your canine companion and once this happens correcting any little foibles should be that much easier for both owner and dog.

If you own a dog that is super reactive to any commands are they really being good or are they telling you in their own way that you need to enrol them in an agility class so they can expend all of that pent up energy. With this said, not all ultra obedient Border Collies like taking part in agility, but would much rather round up a few things up which includes frisbees and good quality toys their owners throw for them.

Some owners perceive their dogs as being “bad” or naughty when in fact they could just be bored with life and need more in the way of stimulation. It doesn't take much to tire a dog out that a good walk would not cure and the more interesting the walk happens to be, the more tired a dog would be at the end of it. A tired dog is a happy dog and therefore one that will not get up to mischief when you are around and when you are not.

Knowing What You Expect From Your Dog

Owning a dog is a massive responsibility, you need to know what breed would best suit your lifestyle and whether you'd like to offer a rescue dog a second chance at happiness. However, you also need to know what you expect from your dog. Do you want a super-fast responsive canine companion to share your home with you, or are you more of a leisurely person who needs a calmer less energetic pet and one that would be happy to trundle along with you when out on a walk? Neither are “good” or “bad” dogs, they are simply different with higher energy dogs tending to be a lot more responsive than their more laid-back counterparts.


It's important to know what you expect from your dog before deciding whether they are being “good” or “bad”. It's also essential to take into account a situation before deciding if a dog is being naughty or not. You need to understand your dog's personality, their strengths, weaknesses and foibles before making a big deal out of something they might do which makes you wonder if they are being good or bad.

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