Setting boundaries/ guideline/ expectations/ rules, however you want to look at it can help dogs, adults, kids, animals thrive with knowing what is expected of them. Knowing that there are rules, keeps pure and utter chaos from ensuing. Boundaries/ guidelines/ expectations/ rules takes the guess work out of what needs to happen in various situations and in order to get attention. For example, I have found training your dog to ‘sit’ to get attention instead of them jumping can be life changing for both the dog and their owner. The best part of that? It’s not that hard as long as your consistent and follow through.
In my son’s Taekwondo dog class their Black Belt Success Cycle is something I have always followed and implement with my students. I feel these are the 3 keys to successful training, setting boundaries, and obtaining goals in life. The key steps are:
Know what you want
Have a plan
Take consistent action
Simple concept, yes. Hard to implement, possibly. However, that is why I and other professionals are here to help. Do not go through things trying to figure it out on your own. There is power in the masses. Especially in the masses whom have experience. It can be worth every minute of you taking your time out of your busy day to meet with a friend, accountability partner, coach. It can be worth every penny when you hire a dog trainer or groomer to help guide you through the steps of setting boundaries/ guideline/ expectations/ rules for your dog.
I see it all the time with our Boarding School dogs. Many times these dogs come to me without the knowing that they can communicate with us or us with them. They jump to get attention, they bolt out the door to go for a walk, they counter/ table surf to steel things in hopes to get your attention or to grab a tasty treat.
In my experience once I create a successful environment by not leaving things lying around (I’m not perfect, a dog just ate a $65 pair of shoes in 2 chomps the other day). I also create a successful environment by crate training dogs, by giving them ample amounts of toys and chewies. I also make sure my counters and tables are clear of food to prevent dogs from steeling it off the table. Dogs that steel food off the table have hit the JACKPOT and by golly you can bet they are going to go for it again! Heck, when working for other companies I worked my tail feathers off to receive that bonus at the end of the year.
In addition to setting the dogs environment up for success I then make sure they are receiving enough exercise. Enough physical, mental, sensory exercise! I do this by allowing them to play and wrestle with other dogs. By training. By taking them for walks and allowing them to smell every mailbox and fire hydrant. By taking them on hikes along various terrain. By taking them to the park on a long leash and follow them where they want to go. Depending on the breed (more for sporting and working breeds, less for toy breeds) my goal is for them to receive at least 1 ½ hours of exercise a day. Preferably broken up into 2 sessions for example, 2, 45 minute walks/ adventures a day. That’s my perfect day, it doesn’t always happen but that is my goal.
Here comes the training part… To add to setting your dogs environment up for success and exercise I add training. The first thing I implement is ‘sit’ for everything! E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.! When a boarding school dog comes to the house they hear the word ‘sit’ at least 30 times a day, no, I’m not exaggerating! I do this so they understand ‘sitting’ is the first way to receive attention. It’s not jumping, it’s not counter surfing, it’s not barking, it’s ‘sitting’. I’ll walk around my house and randomly ask the dog to ‘sit’, I’ll be in the bathroom (dogs always seem to follow us in the bathroom don’t they?) and ask the dog to ‘sit’, I’ll be out on walks and while I’m still walking I’ll ask the dog to ‘sit’ (yes, I’m still moving but they must stop and ‘sit’), I’ll be playing fetch or tug and I’ll ask the dog to ‘sit’, I’ll be preparing meals and ask the dogs to ‘sit’, I’ll give a treat but guess what? The dog must be ‘sitting’ first. I hope you see what I’m saying. ‘Sit’ for E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.!
There are many other well-mannered behaviors to work on with your dog such as ‘down’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, ‘leash walking’ but for the point of this article and keeping it short I’m starting with ‘sit’ as I find that is the magic spice to the sauce.
With these 3 simples tips you and your dogs world will change for the better. For the WOW I love my dog even more! For the WOW it’s that easy to set boundaries. YES, it is. It really really is.
Now for the possible hard part. BE CONSISTENT! My training philosophy is:
‘Have Fun and Be Consistent’
I feel consistency is so important it’s in my philosophy! That means when you are tired, follow through, that means if you do not know how to handle the situation ask your dog to do something such as sit, that means if your dog flops on the floor in their form of a tantrum ‘I’m not gonna do it!’ you make sure you follow through with what you asked. Even if it’s decreasing your expectation for that behavior, that is ok. It’s that simple but yet can be hard for so many different reasons.
If you set clear realistic boundaries and follow through you will notice a difference on average in 5 – 7 days. It’s worth it and your life will change dramatically with your dog.
3 Keys to Successful Dog Training: Know what you want Have a plan Take consistent action