Dogs are cute, cuddly, and a ton of fun to have as a member of your family. Dogs are lovers, protectors, and a friend all wrapped up in one. But what happens when your dog oversteps his or her boundaries as all dogs are bound to do at some point?
The short answer is that establishing rules and boundaries is the key to ensuring that your fur baby knows what and what not to do. What this ultimately boils down to is leadership on your end. Renowned leadership expert John C. Maxwell says “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”
And when it comes to your dog, providing leadership is vital to having the best relationship possible. You see, dogs are like kids, they must be “shown” and “taught” what to do and what not to do. And like a child, if your dog is not provided with proper guidance, your dog will lead his or herself. That can lead to disaster and a lot of unwanted behavior.
Setting rules does not necessarily mean that you are putting something in place to keep your dog from misbehaving. The best way to see it is that rules are set in order to “develop” your dog’s behavior, which means that rules pave the way for your dog to grow, the same way that a child develops and grows with guidance from the leader. In this case, the leader is you!
Here’s what we mean: you are the leader, so it is up to you to teach your dog commands such as wait, sit, lay down, or to teach your dog to wait by the door before you go outside; then your dog can follow you outside. This lets your dog know that he or she is to follow you and that’s acceptable behavior.
By doing this, you’ll also set clear boundaries for your dog. Overstepping boundaries is usually when a dog goes beyond what you, the dog owner wants; like jumping on your furniture, walking on top of the dinner table and more. A set of clear boundaries will work wonders for you, your family and your dog. What’s really great about this is that dogs are extremely efficient at staying in line with well-defined rules and boundaries.
Consistency Is Crucial
If there is ever a golden rule for setting rules and establishing boundaries for your dog, being consistent would be it. Often time, misbehavior from any dog comes from the leader being inconsistent with what the dog can and cannot do.
For example: one day the dog can lay on the couch, but the next day it’s not okay, or the dog is allowed to go outside at 8 am for three days in a row, but the next two days, the dog is forbidden from going outside. In the mind of a dog, this is really confusing. And once any dog is confused, behavior such as biting, snapping, growling, etc. tends to occur.
The point is that dogs are creatures of habit and tend to want to follow a consistent routine. Set a routine of sleep, walks, feeding, playtime and training and stick to it.
Post Written by Nicholas Cole
Images by Tom and Sini