Establishing Household Rules

Household rules are the guidelines you teach your dog about living with you and your family in your house and yard. When you decide on the household rules you wish to teach your dog, think about the future. How do you want this dog to behave three or four years from now? You may be willing to put up with some things now while she's a puppy because she's very cute, but are those things still going to be okay in the future, or will they bug you to no end later? So, in your mind, picture your dog as an adult. What would you like her to do (or not do) in the house?

♦ Housetraining is, of course, the first household rule Lady (to use a generic name) must learn. She is to relieve herself outside in a specified area, or on leash when you ask her to go, and she must never relieve herself in the house. Chapters 2 and 7 discuss housetraining in more detail.

♦ Lady should never dash out doors, either to the front yard, the garage, or even the backyard. Instead, she should wait for your permission to go through doors. Dashing out front

Relieving Herself Outside
Do you want your dog on the furniture? It's not a problem with some dog owners, while others would prefer to cut down on the dirt and hair. Pointers.

is particularly dangerous, as she could continue running into the street where she could get hit by a car. Or, if Lady is a protective breed by nature, she could frighten or potentially even bite someone coming to the front door. Chapter 6 discusses basic obedience training that will teach Lady to sit and stay at doors rather than dash out.

♦ Is she allowed on the furniture? Some people don't mind if their dog is up on the sofa, and they use throws or blankets to protect the furniture. Others prefer to keep the dog and the resulting hair and dirt off the furniture. It's totally up to you, but you need to make that decision now. You can't let her up on the furniture now and change your mind later. If Lady jumps up on the furniture, pull her off as you tell her, "Lady, off!"

♦ Is Lady allowed in the kitchen? Some dog owners use the kitchen as an exercise pen and have the dog spend time there, primarily because the floor is easy to clean. Others prefer to keep the dog out of the kitchen so she's not underfoot when cooking is going on. It's harder for her to get into cupboards or raid the kitchen trash can if she's not allowed in the kitchen at all.

♦ Which rooms will be off-limits? Do you want to keep Lady out of the dining room or formal living room? Would you prefer that she not go into the kids' bedrooms? Her freedom in the house should be restricted anyway, so making a few rooms off-limits is absolutely fine. Close doors or put up baby gates.

♦ The dog should not be allowed on your bed. She has her own bed and should sleep there. There are too many problems associated with sleeping with the owner to allow this. After all, your bed is where the important people sleep, and if she sleeps with you, that elevates herself in her own mind. Not good!

What else is important to you? Look at your house, walk through it, and look at your new dog. Is there anything that would bother you significantly if your dog did it over and over again? It is so much easier to teach the dog now, when she is new to your household, than to change habits later.

Once you have established some household rules, the entire family must agree on the rules. Then everyone needs to enforce them consistently. If one person doesn't agree and refuses to enforce the rules or, worse yet, encourages the dog to do the wrong thing, the dog will be confused and inconsistent in her behavior. After you decide on the rules, have a family meeting and explain the importance of both the rules and enforcing them. Encourage family members to help Lady by working together to teach her.

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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