The Canine Code

by Pete Campione

This Code comes with many conditions and provisions. You see, as the dog is held responsible in our society for his interactions with the public – and as a living social being – he deserves to be given the advantage of being set up to win in his co-existence with humans. The Canine Code is designed to set standards and conditions under which every dog has the RIGHT to live.

The Canine Code is also designed to help the dog deal with the human frailties often involved with ownership. Here are just a few of the misguided reasons people use to acquire what are usually the wrong dogs for them… the Canine Code can protect a dog from going to the inappropriate home and environment and suffering the consequences. The Code might encourage people to think twice as to their reasoning for acquiring a dog. It is designed to counter

  1. The girl who broke up with her boyfriend and now wants to carry some poor dog under her arm for 6 months. Often “Designer Pocketbooks” are more realistic, so when the novelty wears off, she can buy a new one.
  2. The family who chooses to get a dog for “the kids”. The kids are, of course, are 4, 6, 9, and can’t be left for more than 5 minutes alone without setting the house on fire. Dogs are not toys and have no business being raised by children (under 6) who are still being raised themselves.
  3. The person who chooses a dog because it was cute, small and the person who sold the dog said she was “hypo-allergenic”. Convenience is NEVER a reason to get a dog. Dogs are never convenient….they take work and time.
  4. The family who just “had” to take the “dog from Hell” out of the shelter because they “JUST KNOW” they can fix him. Find a homeless person to bring home instead.
  5. The person with low self esteem, who thinks the dog will increase their social (or physical) stature. These are the idiots who get Pitts or Rottweilers and have no clue about the breed itself. They only care how good they will look standing next to the poor dog.

The people above need therapy and medication… not necessarily a dog. A dog will need structure, direction, and loving attentiveness, requirements that these people clearly lack. Don’t set yourself up to FAIL with your new dog. Make sure conditions suit the new arrival. Do not bring a dog into a chaotic environment and expect a sound dog.

The Canine Code is breed specific in that each dog comes with a different set of “life requirements.” When dealing with mixed breeds it is your job to provide what the dogs needs to act as appropriately as possible following the guides set for the breed types involved in the mix.

The Canine Code

  1. I have the right to be recognized as a relentless hunter, a tireless herder, a loyal guarder, a ceaseless adventurer. In other words, the characteristics of my breed standard are my right to who I am. I have the right to being recognized for these characteristics and accepted as such. This acceptance comes with the right of compatibility with my surroundings. I have the right to be chosen based on who I AM. This means researching breeds before buying or adopting. Not who you want me to be or who you think you can make me into. Not to be chosen by my size, my color or anything a neighbor told you. In accepting me for who I am, you indicate that my personality fits your environment.
  2. If I am not to be used for the function I was originally bred for, and clearly, chasing and biting someone’s children does not qualify as an outlet option…… I have a right to be trained to redirect these characteristics. Puppy Kindergarten is essential and follow–up obedience class. All canines are capable of, and deserve, more of a vocabulary than just “Sit for Mommy.”
  3. It is understood that genetically I am programmed to chase and grab anything that moves (it’s called prey drive and differs in intensity per dog, but they all have it to some extent or another) hence, I am not good with many very young children. They run and excite me… so I have the right NOT to be set up to chase unnecessarily. I should be actively socialized with children in a positive way as a puppy.
  4. I have the right to the amount of exercise I need to satisfy my breed specific needs. Judge that exercise by the way I act around the house, not how far you walk me.
  5. I have the right to achieve the potential of who I am and whatever that takes. To be the best example of the dog I am, not just physically, but socially.
  6. I have the right to the proper nutrition, medical care and accommodations appropriate for my breed type and size requirements.
  7. I have a right to a full life and care in my old age that is compassionate and caring.
  8. I have the right to be a “forever dog” in your life.

About the Author:
Pete Campione is the founder of Kindred Souls Dog Training Center in Howell, New Jersey. Mr. Campione has been training dogs and their owners for 15 years. He is certified & endorsed by the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors. For more information see