Growing up in India I had a love-fright relationship with dogs. (Pick your jaw up. We all grow up only at 30, and sometimes never.) These changes were not frequent, but depended on those around me, and of course on the dog itself. (No matter how much you love them, always make an informed approach, or no approach.) If there was a person in my close and constant surroundings that was extremely scared of dogs, somehow being the fool that I am, I would be scared too. Remove this person from my surroundings, and this would eventually change to my default state – I love you dog. I don’t care what flea bitten, diseased situation you come from – you must be loved.
Anyway, a question I heard a little too often (I attribute some of these occurrences to myself too), was “Is he/she trained?”.
Now as a pet parent my instinct lies in responding with “to/for?”. Until I raised my very own bundle of crazy I never realized that maybe what the people in my land are trying to ask the dog community in general every time they stop of their members is, “Is he/she tame?”
A dog can be trained to Sit, Stay, Hug (yes, my fabulous boy knows how to Hug is parents), Roll over, Search and to Rescue. Which subset of these is the right answer to “Is he/she trained?” When is a dog considered “trained” enough for that answer to be “Yes”?
But is he/she tame? India has a lot of stray dogs. They are much less now since awareness about Spay/Neuter and Rescue is very prevalent, and many groups are working tirelessly to increase this awareness, and to increase adoptions. So it is most likely that a dog on the street who has a human leashed to him/her is tame. He/she may or may not know any commands, in which case yes maybe some training is in order, but this dog is tame. And I think this is where the confusion of tame/trained stems from. It’s even more confusing that many strays are tame. Many strays are also “trained” meaning they know one or two commands atleast.
Is your dog child “trained”?
Fun little confusing question! I have to say we humans sometimes are neither tame, nor are we trained to do anything useful. In Dwight Schrute’s words “We need a new Plague.”