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Runaway Training

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If I took my dog to formal training twice a week, I could teach him to crochet if I wanted to ["Dog Bites Man," February 20]. The article (or is it [Todd] Bartelstein?) implies that one has to choose between no training at all or teaching dogs to kill.

Most dogs get no training at all, which you can see any day in most parks. A dog that gets companion training, agility training, basic obedience, or any of the many other styles also won't startle at the proverbial old lady with a cane. Once you learn how to properly tell a dog what you want you're 90 percent there, and then you have to decide what you want to tell the dog to do.

Oh, by the way, a dog that knows no command to attack won't mistake something you do for a signal to attack either. On rare occasions, my dog misreads my intent and lies down when he shouldn't, but the consequences of that are minimal. Anyway, that's only a problem for the 2 percent of dogs that get any training in the first place.

Thomas Westgard

Chicago

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