Accountability is so important for our dogs (and ourselves!) if we want them to give their best and politest efforts and drop the bad choices, poor attitudes and naughty push back. When rehabilitating a dog who was used to controlling everything and everyone around her through dangerous behaviour and poor choices I don’t allow her to make those poor choices anymore or to control people and other dogs and the dog will usually give me a lot of push back and a lot of sassy ‘tude! Fast forward a few weeks and a lot of work on both our parts, and the dog is a much politer lovely version of herself who is very happy to do what’s asked of her. Now, that being said, if she had a handler who didn’t apply her training, who didn’t uphold boundaries, who didn’t stick to the rules and who didn’t hold her accountable for great behaviour would she revert back to her old pushy, rude and dangerous ways? You betcha she would!! Training only works if you continue to apply it, if we handlers get complacent and go back to our old permissive ways we make room for the dog to go back to their old bad habits and behaviours too.
In this video, we’ll see a great, albeit minor, example of accountability when Dolly and I are practicing recalls. In the first clip, I’m not holding Dolly accountable enough for prioritizing the recall command and so she’s blowing it off and choosing to wander and sniff around instead of listening to me. In the second clip, we’ll see a much peppier and focused Dolly slaying her recall like a boss because I held her accountable for making our work the priority! There is a time and place for wandering and sniffing, but this isn’t it.
It is the HANDLER’S responsibility to always hold the dog accountable for their best work (this isn’t the dog’s job) and if we’re willing to let things slide, then so is the dog.