There are no bad dogs, only bad owners’ so the saying goes. Frankly, I don’t agree. Not because I don’t think dogs can behave in obnoxious ways sometimes, nor do I think we humans are perfectly innocent. The problem is the use of the word ‘bad’.
Saying someone, or their dog, is ‘bad’ gives the idea that they are deliberately trying to be harmful at all costs. The reality is a lot more complicated. We all do things that are not kind sometimes, or we might misunderstand a situation and react. We might act on impulse, even behave aggressively, but that does not make us, or our dogs, entirely ‘bad’.
Each time you feel like someone is a ‘bad’ owner, ask yourself if you have ever allowed that to happen. Did your own dog escape from the garden, or was not trained properly not to jump up or steal from the worktop? Does that mean you are inherently bad? Likewise, does a dog realise that his behaviour could cost him his life, when he is running in the road, or could cause harm chasing a cat?
Instead I use words such as ‘teamwork’ and ‘boundaries’. Any owner knows that their dog can work with them, or work against them, but this is down to their skill as an owner, and their dog’s instinctive desires.
If there is a problem, seek professional, experienced and qualified help, and avoid blaming yourself or your dog.
The best way to change things is to move forward, and labelling ‘bad’ won’t ever help that.