Let You And Your Dog Off The Hook

There is a nationally known dog trainer, author and clinician, Chris Bach, whom I admire. If you aren’t a dog trainer you probably won’t know who she is but she has some great concepts. One of those concepts is the A.S.S.U.M.E. acronym. What Bach asks is:  Is it worthwhile for the dog/dog owner relationship to ASSUME that dogs must be:

Adaptable to any situation?

Sociable to everyone and everything?

Submissive to all people?

Unaffected by past experiences?

Manageable under all circumstances?

Emotionally stable regardless of anything?

The overwhelming answer is NO.  This is especially true with rescued dogs. Many times we won’t knowa dog’s past experience.  In addition that, Bach questions if humans are able to live by these impossible rules? The answer is no. So why would we expect that from our dogs.  Therefore, she says that she is letting every person and every dog “off the hook.”  

One common example of humans expecting their dogs to be adaptable would be when I see them at farmer’s markets. Many dogs are ok but there are always a few that are just plain frightened of the people and commotion. These owners don’t realize this are expecting their dogs to be “Adaptable to any situation.” If you notice your dog is not happy in a place such as a farmer’s market, you shouldn’t bring him there or expect him to get used to it. One of my dogs doesn’t like big crowds so I keep him away from them. There is no reason to put my dog through that kind of stress.

Instead of trying to make our dogs, especially rescued ones, live by the above rules, it would be much better to manage the dogs behavior as best we can and let the dog be dogs, letting there own individual personalities dictate how you train, socialize and interact with them.