At some point during the time you own a dog, you will ask your pet the rhetorical question, "Who's a good dog?" Most of the time this is said in a playful, kootchie-koo voice that tends to beg the question, since most dogs will respond to this interrogation by laying their heads back and trotting across the floor to you for additional affirmation of their goodness.
Our dog has had plenty of reinforcement in that realm. The three of us regularly let her know just how good we think she is, since her reaction helps us feel good about ourselves. On the occasions when she has helped herself to a loaf of bread or a chocolate layer cake that we were foolish enough to leave anywhere near her sphere of influence, we have given her the opposite message, and received mostly the same response, though the "bad dog" creep across the room is generally with tail down. Her ears are back, and she wants to cuddle up and let us know how much she wants to please, in spite of the kitchen full of crumbs.
She's older now, and the excitement of fleeing her front yard has diminished to a fair degree. Her interest in roaming the streets of Oakland has been tempered by her age and relative wisdom, though if the gate is left open long enough, she might take a stroll in the neighborhood. These days it doesn't take much to encourage her back. She seems to be quite happy to be inside her fence where she controls the comings and goings of the bipeds, and still keeps a wary eye for the blue-clad bringer of mail.
Imagine our surprise when my wife was presented with a "nuisance dog" ticket from an animal control officer. The dog had found her way out of an open gate, and had made it thirty yards down the sidewalk to the stop sign where she was apprehended. I understand that as a pet owner it is in all of our best interests to keep my dog on a leash or behind a fence. Safety is the primary concern, which is probably why she came to a stop at the stop sign. But a "nuisance?" Our neighborhood is full of dogs that have had their run of the place. At times we have brought them in and kept them until their owners were able to come and retrieve them. We know that if there is blame to be placed, it falls squarely on the humans who left the cake at nose-level or the gate unlatched. That's why the ticket won't be coming out of her doggie allowance. She's a good dog.