Motorcycles & Mutts

Cheri Kolstad is a certified dog behaviourist, dog groomer and trainer who lives in Penticton. Email:

I have always enjoyed just watching life. This can happen while I am hiking in the mountains, hanging around on the Las Vegas Strip, or just parking myself on a bench observing people as they walk by.

There is always a story to be told, smiles and chuckles to be had, and lessons learned. Today was a day of watching people and their dogs around the parks in Penticton. I was entertained on how well some dogs have successfully trained their owners.

To fully understand my statement; I was not intrigued with watching the well trained dogs. They are boring. I was laughing at the well trained humans that have been trained by their dogs.

We have the false sense that because we are so smart and well informed that our dog is doing exactly what we expect them to do.

But for that you need to be a leader, not a loving peaceful holder of the leash. The dog has learned from the owner that there are two connected onto that leash, but not necessarily is the human in control.

How about the walk past the dog park? The owner is certain that the walk will continue along the path with no intention of taking a detour or stopping to play. The dog makes it clear that the intended destination is the dog park, no questions asked.

And the time to leave, of course, is

dictated by the dog. There is no acceptance of going anywhere until the dog tells the owner playtime is over.

Those that are just walking around the area and frequently dragged around by their dog are the most entertaining. Visiting other humans and dogs alike is completely decided by the dog as the humans are determidly pulled over to whoever the dog plans on getting close to.

There is usually the typical lunge and drag carried out by the dog, with the human diligently on the end of the leash following the dogs orders. The owner might call out that their dog is friendly, trying to not alarm anyone that they have no decision where the walk is leading them.

I find the most humourous challenge is a dog telling the owner when the walk will end. For the day I was watching, it was hot and not too comfortable for anyone.

Dogs and people alike were getting to play in the water, enjoy some beach time, and cool off. The combination of being tired after the play, and the heat, created a dog that had no intention of walking anywhere.

One happy and very tired dog found some shade and lay down, totally expecting to rest it out until the day had cooled off.

This action would end with only one solution for the owner. No matter how hard the owner tugged on the leash and told the dog to come, there was no reaction.

The dog was quite content to lay out in the shade, resting after a great playtime. The end result was the owner picking up his tired friend and carrying it home.

The dog seemed quite content with that option and peacefully rested in their owners arms. I was pretty sure this wasn't the first time the dog had decided the walk was over.

As I said, there are a lot of dogs who have a very well trained owner. I am proud of them.

Cheri Kolstad is a certified dog behaviourist, dog groomer and trainer who lives in Penticton. Email: