What are the basic house rules my dog needs to know?
Never underestimate a dog’s need for discipline. A canine friend is happiest when it knows who is boss and where it fits in the hierarchy.
If it doesn’t have a firm sense of order, a dog can develop behavioural problems and even become aggressive or anxious. This means laying down some house rules and implementing them consistently to keep everybody happy.
There are some basics involved in house training a dog. Your dog needs to know what its rank is, where it can go within the home and when and what kind of behaviour is acceptable.
You will probably need to enroll in a dog training course in order to teach your pet basic commands which can be used both indoors and outdoors.
All things food-related
We have all had the experience of eating at the dining table while our pet dog sits quivering close by whimpering and staring. “Feed me!” it is undoubtedly saying. After a while, it’s easy to get sick of this and sneak it a scrap on the side.
You must avoid this at all costs. The reason is simple. If you share food with your dog it is the same as encouraging it to develop a begging pattern. Ignore such behaviour and command it to stay away from your food.
Make sure that you eat before your dog does. You might think it would be a better idea to feed your dog first as it could prevent dinner table begging. The fact is – it doesn’t. Most dogs are wired to eat non-stop. What this routine will teach your dog is that you are the pack leader, which goes back to its need for a sense of where it is in the hierarchy.
A good time to feed your dog is after you have taken it for a walk. It instils a sense of routine into the dog’s mind making food a reward for activity.
Behaviour around people
Your dog must not be permitted to jump up at or onto people as it is disrespectful and dominant behaviour. Command it to get off and sit next to you. It may sound cruel but you should also discourage your dog from demanding love and attention. The reason is obvious. You want to show your dog affection but on your terms. You are the top dog so you will decide when it’s time to play.
Another example of misplaced dominance is when a dog is possessive over food or toys. It is important that you nip this in the bud but you may need professional advice first as it can develop into a serious problem.
The same goes for nipping, growling or biting. This is a case of aggressive behaviour and needs to be dealt with right away with the help of an expert.
Remember house rules not only keep you happy; they keep your dog happy.