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I’ve been thinking about manners a lot lately. They vary from region to region, from social class to social class, and from family to family. In my childhood home it was rude to put your elbows on the dining table, but recently I’ve noticed I do that as well as numerous other things my mother would not have approved. In some ways, times have changed, and people are much less formal, but manners still matter. When I think of someone who has good manners, they’re generally someone pleasant to be around. I think it’s important to think in these terms when it comes to our dogs too, from a both-ends-of-the-leash perspective.
Sometimes what’s frustrating about dogs is that they didn’t get the memo on what humans consider good manners. They’re not trying to annoy us; dog manners are just different than human manners. For example, most times when a dog jumps up to greet you, they’re not trying to be rude, they’re just excited to see you. But that’s not very pleasant to most people. Teaching them the skills they need to have ‘human acceptable’ manners ultimately helps them live better lives.
There are also things we can learn about dogs that will help us have better manners towards them. For example, when greeting a dog for the first time, turning your body to the side is a non-threatening posture. Also, letting the dog come to you on its own terms is polite. These are just a few things that dogs consider to be good manners.
What do good manners look like in your family?