Question of the Week: What Makes a Good Dog?

Question of the Week: What Makes a Good Dog?

goof dogDog owners everywhere can agree that dogs are truly wonderful creatures. The extraordinary bond we share with them goes back thousands of years, spanning a shared evolution that began in our hunter-gatherer origins and continues to this day.

Although we know that our dogs are spectacular creatures, the topic of whether or not a dog is “good” often comes up, leaving many of us to wonder what makes a good dog, and if our dogs fit the bill.

The Basics

While there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all definition of a good dog, those that are easier for humans to live with tend to be given this label more often. A variety of factors are involved with how well integrated a dog is into our lives and into human society in general:

  • Temperament – Like humans, dogs are born with their own set personality traits. Although certain breeds tend to have strong traits in one area or another, there is always lot of variation among individuals. A dog’s traits can often be either enhanced or modified, depending on the environment.
  • Trainability – For many people, how readily a dog responds to training is a key indicator of a good dog. It’s important to note, however, that with patience and consistency, many “bad dogs” can be taught the basics.
  • Socialization – A properly socialized pet understands how to respond appropriately to humans and other animals, and is generally easier to get along with and safer to be around. Ideally, socialization should occur during early puppyhood, but adult dogs can benefit from training and socialization classes.


How well your dog’s personality and energy level match your family’s lifestyle will go a long way toward whether or not you consider your dog “good”. Active families would probably do better with a high-energy pooch, whereas Netflix-loving couch potatoes or workaholics might find mellow or docile dogs a better fit.

A Tired Dog Is a Good Dog

All dogs need daily exercise to maintain their good health and mental clarity, but some naturally require more than others to be on their best behavior. A high-energy lab or border collie who spends his or her days cooped up in the house is more likely to engage in destructive chewing or other activities that are generally labeled bad behavior. Making sure your dog gets the right amount of activity for his or her personal energy level is key to enjoying your relationship with him or her.

Best Practices

Our own separate personalities, interests, goals, and life circumstances come into play when we consider the definition of a good dog. The following tips can help make the most out of an interaction with any dog:

  • Ask permission from the owner before you approach a dog you don’t know. Some dogs may perceive strangers as a threat and may react aggressively.
  • Always supervise children and dogs at all times, even if the dog doesn’t have a history of biting or aggression. Children (and dogs) are unpredictable, and any dog that feels threatened may bite.
  • Make sure your dog is properly trained and able to respond to your cues. A trained dog is better able to navigate life in human society, which includes behaving appropriately around other people and pets.
  • Good health makes a world of difference when it comes to a dog’s disposition and overall behavior. Make sure your best pal eats an appropriate diet, sees the veterinarian for all of his or her wellness exams, and stays current on immunizations and parasite preventives.

We love all of our wonderful canine patients here at Schertz Animal Hospital! If you have any questions or concerns about your good dog, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!