I have written many times about how and why education is critical to the life of an animal. How it builds confidence, develops intelligence, strengthens bonds, etc.. How learning begets more learning, and understanding begets comfort, relaxation, and joy. I go on and on about this from the animals’ perspective because it is one of my deepest passions and areas of expertise.

Recently, however, I have had a series of experiences that made me want to share one distinct reason for teaching your pets a wide variety of skills that may not seem essential in the moment: things change.

Several people I have known have recently undergone huge life events that changed most of the details of their existence. They got old, injured, evicted, fired, whatever, and suddenly they had to pivot and build a new life, and their less-skilled pets became a huge impediment. If your pet is adaptable, flexible, and able to survive in a wide variety of circumstances, they will thrive, and be happy, no matter where you may end up. Even if you end up dead, or having to rehome your pet, the likelihood of an educated pet finding a good home and having a great life is far greater than if your pet is stressed, noisy, destructive, contentious, aggressive, has very specific needs, etc. Do not get me wrong—there are some pets that will never be “easy” no matter how much effort you put in, and I am not saying that owners of difficult pets are in any way “less” than owners of easy pets! I am merely saying that the more you can do to actualize any animal’s potential to be a good citizen and a delight, the more you will have increased that animal’s ability to find success and happiness in this dynamic world…


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