Owners increasingly requiring dogs to step up their game

Graduate of "do nothing" dog class shows off.

Gone are the days when a person would get a dog, teach Fido to sit and stay, and, in the suburbs at least, send him out alone, no questions asked, the Boston Globe reports today.

The push-down curriculum that hit humans, is now hitting canines.

Billions of dollars are now being spent on enhanced dog training — even programs to teach your mutt how to sniff like a police dog.

As dogs become true family members, owners want to make their lives interesting, and as they go places yesterday’s canines could only dream about — like “yappy hours” at fancy hotels — behavior has become crucial. Some residential buildings allow only trained dogs to move in.

Photo: Major League Baseball

There’s also the Facebook factor. People are no longer keeping up with the neighbors next door; they’re trying to keep up with their friends on Facebook with their dog videos. That might account for the increasing popularity of dance classes for dogs.

Being up at 10 on a Sunday morning doesn’t sound so horrible anymore,” said Matthew Daniels, a research scientist from Somerville, the owner of a rescued lab mix. “It’s nice to have something to do with Tilly as a family.”

The family has completed Pet Republic’s “Basic Manners,” “Manners 2,” and “Tricks,” and are working their way through “Fundamentals of Agility.”

Tilly can now almost ride a skateboard (she gets three feet on) and walk on a balance beam.

She’s also learned to tone down the wet kisses, said Carolyn Hayes, an archivist for special collections at Harvard Medical School.

If you don’t like wet kisses, why did you get a dog, sir?

On the high end, it can cost $250 to participate in the enhanced training programs.