Establishing Rules for Your Dog

Initially, it’s always best to start with good habits when you first get a dog. To do so, you must establish rules for your dog. You can always change, add or take away established rules, but try to develop and stick with what will be acceptable in the household. Consistency is one of The World Of Dog Training- Four Pillars of Training™ that are simply explained by the famous dog trainer – Ryan Matthews, which are:

  1. Consistency
  2. Repetition
  3. Timing
  4. Reward


By being consistent, you show the dog what’s acceptable and what’s not. Dogs are opportunists. They are always looking for a chance to get what they want, which is going to conflict with your need to be consistent. They will challenge you. For example, your pet will want to be in the kitchen when you cook. If your rule is that the dog is not allowed in the kitchen when you cook, then you must be consistent about enforcing it. If you are cooking while on the phone; a dog will look for the opportunity to be in the kitchen when you are distracted. In order to effectively train your dog, you need to stop your conversation and enforce this rule or your dog will come to believe you are not serious about your rules.

According to Ryan Matthews, it is crucial to keep consistency in mind when establishing boundaries. For example, it can be confusing to your dog if it is sometimes allowed to be in the kitchen while you cook and other times you aren’t in a mood to tolerate much and demand it to be out of your kitchen. Established consistent rules and boundaries make the expectations understood by everyone in the household, including your pet, and should be maintained as thoroughly as possible.

When creating the boundaries you keep in your home, you should ask yourself Is this reasonable for everyone in the home to uphold? Also, is it fair to my pet? Using the example of a kitchen boundary, I recommend first setting a clear boundary, such as allowing your dog to watch you in the kitchen, but only on the carpet; it is not allowed to be on the tile kitchen floor. I would never allow any dog to be under my feet or hovering around while cooking. Not only is it unsafe, that pushy begging behavior should not be allowed. A problem with allowing a behavior that you really don’t want your pet to display is it will likely push the limits of what you will be willing to tolerate. Again, that’s why you must remain consistent.

If your dog is anything like mine, it may try to help with cleaning your eating utensils with its slobbery tongue. Just imagine opening the dishwasher door and then tending to the dirty dishes in your sink. While your attention is on putting the dirty dishes into the washer, you may find your pet creeping up to get a lick of some leftover food on a spoon. If I let my guard down, even my dog will consider or even attempt to put his nose in the dishwasher. I recommend giving a verbal correction “No” or “Off.” If that doesn’t cease the undesired behavior, then with one foot on the ground, gently slide your other foot into your dog’s paw. The strategy is to get into your pet’s personal space bubble and claim that space as yours, with the expectation that it will back up. Remember that with dog training there is always more than one way to get your end result achieved. So another tactic is to put your dog on the “place” command when you are in the kitchen, or any other time you want to instill a boundary. I will show you how to teach “place” in World Of Dog Training eCourse “Door Manners”.

It’s also important to think about what you may be allowing, which is especially true with puppies. You may let the puppy do something that wouldn’t be a good idea with an 80 pound dog. For example, you may enjoy having the puppy sleep in your bed, but wouldn’t want that when the dog is as big as you are. If you allow the puppy to sleep there and then try to kick the dog out later when it’s full grown, that is unfair and confusing to the dog.

Everyone needs to be on the same page, using the same commands (words) consistently. Be consistent with the boundaries as well, such as no dogs in the bed, on the furniture or in the kitchen when cooking. Some members of your family will allow certain behavior(s) when others don’t. If your dog is left in a constant state of confusion because of different rules, it can never relax or rest. I often hear that people will use different commands when the dog jumps up. Some say “down” when others say “no.” The word “down” is actually most often used to command a dog to lie down, and not to stop jumping. As long as your household agrees what the commands are, they can be anything. “Sit” can be “one,” “lay down” can be “two” and so forth.

Here you can find some of the common rules set for your dog by Ryan Mathews, the professional dog trainer at World of Dog Training.

Common Rules to Set

  • The dog must be invited on furniture.
  • The human goes through a doorway first.
  • The dog doesn’t decide when it eats or drinks. For example, if a dog is pushing its food bowl, I take the cue but wait until the dog has stopped that behavior and then feed it. Otherwise, your dog will learn to become more demanding for food.
  • They should wait for food without begging or jumping up.
  • Visitors or company need to ignore the dog for the first 15 minutes of arrival.
  • The dog can’t pull you on the leash. The leash should be loose.
  • The dog can’t jump on you when you come home.
  • No excessive barking

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