So how come no President in modern memory has ever had much control over his dogs? Answer: No one at the White House has time for a dog. That is the core problem.
In fact, no one at the White House has time to even read a book on dog training, much less follow up with reinforcement over a sustained three-month period.
Walk the dog? That's a task generally delegated to a rotating pool of young, low-level interns, volunteers, Secret Service agents, or kind-hearted staffers with little or no dog training. The President, First Lady and top staff have a jaw-dropping number of appearances to make, all over the nation, and all over the world.
All the Presidents and all their families have meant well, but something has to give, and it's always the dog.
Of course, an "inconvenient dog" is a pretty big problem all over, isn't it? Most people do not live lives very well-suited to dogs. Unlike a bicycle or a shotgun, a dog cannot be tucked into a storage closet, and forgotten. A dog requires attention several times a day, every day, rain or shine, vacation or not. Is your life really that stable? Is anyone’s these days?
If your living and work arrangements are unstable, skip a dog entirely and get a cat -- they won't mind long periods alone, and are much cheaper to care for. I think that's a message that needs to be said more often, and not just to residents of the White House.