Clear Rules and Expectations

It is important that we are setting up our rules and expectations of our dogs.

12/20/20232 min read

It is important that we are setting up our rules and expectations of our dogs.

Just imagine if there were no set laws in place in our lives. Imagine randomly things that you do could just be deemed wrong and you could be charged for them. This would make our world very confusing and unfair. We would spend time everyday trying to learn the rules of the day.

This is the same if we are changing the rules for our dogs constantly. This is something that everyone struggles with including myself. Our dogs then spend time every day trying to figure out the rules of the day.

I will give a personal example:

Currently with one of my dogs I am working on door manners. She struggles with pushing in front of everyone to rush through the door. I am working with her, so she learns to wait for everyone else first and then come through behind. However, the odd day I am rushed and just let her rush outside so she can do her business and I can go on to do what I need to do. I have been reminding myself that even though I am rushed this shouldn’t change the expectation I have. Changing the expectation for one day puts my dog behind in training, confuses her, and just isn’t fair.

I used the example of door manner training with my own dog. However, this could include a wide range of different expectations. If you don't want your dog on the couch but other people allow your dog on the couch in some situations, this is confusing for your dog. If someone requires the dog to heel while walking and someone else lets the dog pull on the leash, this is confusing for your dog. If sometimes you make your dog sit before food and other times when you are rushed you don’t, this is confusing for your dog. Not only are these confusing, but they also set back our training. The next time we go to feed our dog they don't want to sit before eating because last time they didn’t need to.

We should have clear expectations of the rules and follow through with them every day. This means taking time to teach and correct unwanted behaviors. This will help you and your dog be on the same page and not leave them confused.

To achieve this, it is critical that everyone including friends, family, dog walkers, dog sitters, and everyone else around your dog be on the same page. Everyone should be understanding of the rules in place. Any dog professional around your dog including trainers, walkers, sitters, etc. should all be willing to help follow these expectations. Of course, the rules in place need to be humane and understandable.

Take time to sit with anyone who is commonly around your dog. Make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding the rules and expectations with your furry friends. Then help keep everyone accountable for these expectations. If you are changing your expectations, then reflect on this and make changes going forward. You will notice a positive change in your relationship with you and your dog.