Building Respect Through House Rules
Your puppy/dog doesn’t come to you automatically trusting and respecting you just because you are “human”. To earn his trust and respect; you must set and enforce a consistent set of rules. Consistent means the same rules with the same consequences enforced by all members of the household.
Dogs need 4 things in order to be happy, obedient and mentally well balanced: essentials (food, water, shelter), exercise (structured), clearly defined and consistently reinforced rules and love
If there are no defined rules in your household, your puppy will either become confused due to the inconsistency of rules/consequences or become completely out of control, following perfectly normal behavior for the dog world that does not fit into the human world. This will lead to frustration and anger from you, creating frustration and/or aggression from your puppy.
When your puppy becomes frustrated, that frustration will manifest in one or more of the following:
Nipping Biting Chewing Barking Digging Aggression
Although all of these behaviors are natural and normal for your puppy, they can escalate very quickly into a frustrating and potentially dangerous situation for your family. Here are some tips to help him stay happy and well behaved.
- Setting the house rules: Make a list of rules for your puppy. Put this list together with every member of your family’s input. List everything he is not allowed to do (i.e. jumping on people, bolting through doors, nipping, pottying in the house and anything else your family decides on). After each rule, write down what consequence you will give him if he breaks that rule. Decide together, and then post it on the refrigerator where everyone can see it. This will help your family to be consistent and make your dog’s training progress at a faster rate. See example below.
- Walking: Dogs have an instinctual need for walking and this is one of the best ways to burn off some energy, add in some training, as well as give your puppy much needed mental stimulation and happiness. This is not a “potty” walk, it is an exercise walk. Using the proper equipment is very important; use a leather or nylon leash and either a buckle collar or no pull harness. There are many different equipment options on the market, so if a buckle collar or no pull harness doesn’t work for you and your puppy talk to a positive reinforcement trainer for additional suggestions. Walk your puppy at least once a day (preferably two times a day) for at least 20 minutes.
- Nothing in life is free: Your dog must work for everything he likes! Food, walks, attention and play all need to be controlled by you. Your dog must sit and wait or at least be calm before he gets to eat his food, before you put the leash on, before you pet him and before you begin play. If your puppy seems to be bossy, you should be the one to instigate all play. If he brings you a toy, ask him to sit first and then you can pick up the toy and engage him in play. Your puppy demanding that you play with or pet him may be cute at first, but it won’t be so cute when he is bigger and more demanding.
- Decide whether your puppy will be allowed on the furniture. If you don’t want your puppy on the furniture, NEVER allow him on it, don’t make exceptions – your puppy will not understand when it is ok and when it is not. If he is allowed on the furniture, attach the Nothing In Life Is Free program to it, he must sit before you give him the ok to jump up on the furniture. For pups that are having dominant, bossy or aggression related behaviors or if you just don’t want them on the furniture; they should not be allowed on the furniture at all – even when you are not there. If this is the case, you will need to block his access to the furniture when you are not home.
- Teach your puppy not to invade your space. He should not be allowed to jump on you. When he jumps on you, use as little physical contact as possible; ignore him completely until he calms down and then give affection.
- Stay calm and confident: Dogs read and feed off of our body language. If you show uncertainty, frustration, nervousness, confusion, anger or stress, your puppy will pick up on those feelings and become stressed, confused, aggressive and/or nervous. If you are calm and confident, he will be calmer, balanced, happy and more obedient.
I believe dog training should be fun, rewarding and exciting for both the dog and the human. I take a scientific approach to training and train through love, kindness and respect with clearly defined rules and boundaries and get fabulous results. I have been a trainer for 20 years, graduated from Animal Behavior College (ABCDT), I am certified through Association of Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA) and the International Association of Canine Professionals (CDT). I am the founder and president of HEARTland Positive Dog Training Alliance; a group of pet professionals and dog owners dedicated to positive reinforcement training.
Hey Allan Codling here,
When we get our dogs we often look for dog training advice but often in the wrong places. The primary focus that we need to have is on dog obedience training as it is a crucial aspect for dog owners. Dog obedience training methods are the basis for a getting your dog to be well behaved, responsive. With these methods your dog will be able to live in your home with your family, friends and other dogs comfortably.
A lot of dog owners want to just potty train their dogs and forget about the obedience factor. What they do not realize is it is much more difficult to get your dog potty trained without the regular practice of obedience training. It makes it even more difficult to correct behavior problems like chewing, biting, jumping and aggression. It all starts with dog obedience training.
Dogs have what is called a pack mentality which means that they need a leader. It is your responsibility as the owner to build the relationship between you and your dog and get your dog to see you as the leader. Now many people either take this piece of dog training advice to lightly and spoil the dog and let it do whatever it wants and many take it to far and are way to militant with the dog and offer no real affection. Both of these habits are ill-advised. What you need to do is love your dog and shower him with affection, but always maintain your leader role in the relationship and the dog will become accustomed to this and recognize it quickly(dogs are smart, they know whats going on 😉 .
Dogs use their bodies and paws to express a variety of different things. Below are some examples and what they mean.
Dog crouches with front legs extended, rear up, and head near the ground: This is the classic play-bow and means simply “I want to play!”
Stiff-legged, upright posture or slow, stiff-legged movement forward: “I am in charge around here!” and “I challenge you.” A dominant dog will use this posture to indicate assertion of authority and a willingness to fight for it.
Body slightly sloped forward, feet braced: “I accept your challenge and am ready to fight!”
Dog rolls on side or exposes underside: “Let us not argue” or “I am not a threat to you” or “I accept that you are in charge here.” This is a submissive response to avert conflict. Many dogs adopt this posture in a fairly relaxed and contented manner when they are around their pack leader. When your dog rolls on his back for a belly rub, he is actually accepting you as leader of the pack.
Dog places head on another dog’s shoulder or places paw on the back of another dog: “I want you to know who is the boss around here.” These gestures are commonly used by dominant dogs, pack leaders, and dogs that have aspirations of becoming a pack leader.
Mouthing: This shows up in dog-human interactions as the dog taking the handler’s hand in his mouth or, while walking, taking the lead in the mouth. Mouthing can be a serious sign of dominance challenging and shows that the dog does not accept the human as pack leader.
Dog places paw on master’s knee: “Look, I am here” or “Pay attention to me.” This attention-seeking signal has many variations. They include pawing the air in front of their master or sliding the head under the master’s hand.
Hair bristles on back and shoulders: This is a sign of anticipated aggression. A ridge of hair bristling down the back is a sign that says “Do not push me, I am angry!” When the bristling extends to the shoulders it means “I have had it with you” and is a sign of an imminent attack.
Dog sits with one front paw slightly raised: This is another sign of stress but is combined with insecurity. It means “I am anxious, uneasy and concerned.”
Dog rolls on his back and rubs it on the ground: This is sometimes preceded by nose rubbing where the dog pushes his face, and possibly his chest against the ground in a rubbing motion or rubs the face with a forepaw, from eyes to nose. They often follow feeding or occur as the dog’s owner begins to prepare food. However they also can occur following or in anticipation of other pleasant activities.
Scraping the ground and ripping the turf with the paws: This is usually after the dog has defecated but may occur at other times. Dogs have glands on the bottom of their feet that provide each with a unique scent. What a dog is saying here is ” I was here and I am leaving my calling card!”
Many a dog has been described as the “perfect pet,” except that they become constant, good-natured pests when guests visit or the owners’ attentions are diverted, such as during telephone calls, reading or watching television.
If scolded or punished, these dogs react by coming back for more. Though their dog does not develop problems of aggression, submissive wetting or self-mutilation, the owners would like to curtail the pestering while preserving the pet’s generally pleasant personality and behavior.
The following 2-step process usually meets these objectives. It does not use punishment or scolding, yet curtails the pestering behavior.
1. Command the dog to Sit (praise). Down (praise). Sit (praise) and Down (praise), then release it after 4 commands. Do this until all 4 responses are performed quickly (within 5 seconds for small and medium-sized breeds, 7-8 seconds for large breeds).
2. Whenever the dog begins pestering, the target person initiates the sequence of 4 commands, as outlined. If a set of 4 commands does not calm the pet, the commands should be continued until the dog noticeably slows down in executing them, then it may be released.
Last year, Angela, a single mother of three teenage boys, had been in contact with the Greyhound Pets of America (a rescue group that finds homes for retired racing greyhounds). She asked the group if they had an adult dog that would get along well with cats, as Angela also loved cats and had several of them.
A lovely greyhound named Bronze fit the bill. Just several days later Bronze was welcomed with loving arms in his new home.
Bronze didn’t know a lot of small things right away, such as how to climb up steps or comprehend a see-through glass door and windows, etc. He did not know how to play and was very weary of people, particularly very tall, thin males. And something also peculiar – he was literally afraid of his own shadow!
Any of these things caused fear in Bronze, and the resulting behavior was aggression, snarling and growling. Angelica was worried that his behavior would go beyond this reaction, leading into biting or attacking.
Soon Bronze showed fear towards another specific occurrence: Anytime Angela’s brother would come to visit, and wearing his usual leather jacket and ball cap, Bronze would again start his aggressive stance and snarling. The same thing happened when Angela’s sons would come home with their noisy friends.
The Cause Of Bronze’s Fear
As you know, Bronze was an ex-race dog, so once Angela was able to contact a canine psychologist, the doctor was able to identify the problem right away. He had asked Angela to obtain a picture of the dog’s ex-trainer, which turned out to be a very tall, skinny man that wore a long black coat, along with a specific hat that resembled a baseball cap.
Add to this evidence the obvious experiences of the dog having raced at the track: lots of noisy people, confinement, guns firing, running, more confinement, lots of harsh training commands from his trainer – it was no wonder why Bronze reacted the way he did when he was adopted.
Managing these issues was not going to be an easy task. It required Angela to have constant vigilance. The doctor instructed her to remove the noisy teenagers from his presence, teaching Angela to be cautious of how she gave commands to Bronze, as well as have her brother remove his black leather jacket and ball cap when visiting.
In time, Bronze was able to calm down and within 12 months was less afraid of noise and the appearance of any man that resembled his past trainer became less of a threat. Bronze lived to be thirteen years old and because of his new owner’s love and care to learn to communicate, he was a lucky dog – one that enjoyed the right that every canine has – to be loved and included in a real family.
What You Can Learn From This Story
If you are also considering bringing home an adult dog that has had a history of competing in sports, such as a racing dog, for example, then prepare yourself by taking lessons from the above story. It will not only teach you how to communicate with your problem dog, but could also save him or her from being sentenced to a lonely life inside of the pound.
History and origin of The Bouvier des Flandres:
The Bouvier des Flandres was developed in Belgium in the 19th century. This working breed was used for herding, herd-guarding, and cart pulling. He has also been used for tracking by the police and military.
The Bouvier des Flandres stands 23.5 to 27.5 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 65 and 95 pounds. His body is large, powerful, and thick-boned. The tail is docked. The shedding coat is weather-resistant, shaggy, and somewhat harsh, with a soft undercoat. The dog has a beard, a mustache, and bushy eyebrows. He needs daily brushing to prevent matting, and should be clipped every three or four months. Show dogs must be hand-stripped to preserve the texture and luster of the coat. However, the coat can be kept in a shorter clip to reduce maintenance. The color may be black, salt-and-pepper, gray, brindle, or fawn.
About The Bouvier des Flandres:
This Belgian cattle dog is strong, alert, trustworthy, easygoing but aloof, and tends to be moody and serious. Though affectionate with his owners, the Bouvier is very suspicious of strangers and will serve well as a watchdog for your home and property. Training can be difficult due to his stubborn, dominant nature. Passive resistance is common, and aggression is possible when the dog is annoyed or threatened. Training should be patient and firm but not overbearing. The Bouvier learns slowly and can be defiant. The “Down” and the “Come” can be the hardest commands to teach this controlling breed. The Bouvier has a high prey drive and may be very dog-aggressive. He may want to chase cars, joggers, and bikes. Though good with his own family’s children, he may be intolerant of visiting children, especially if they are running around. No roughhousing or chasing should be tolerated. Spoiling can encourage dominant, controlling, nippy behavior in this breed and may promote timidity. Overbearing training techniques may elicit fear-biting. Confident, firm leadership and early socialization are crucial to successfully owning a Bouvier. He needs daily exercise and tends to bark and may be destructive and noisy if left alone too long. He is susceptible to hip dysplasia and bloat.
Recommended feeding for this breed is 1 ½ – 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of a high-quality meaty product with biscuit added or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.
A house with a fenced yard is important. The owner of a Bouvier des Flandres should be a firm, strong, active leader who desires a reserved, protective dog. Mild or nervous owners as well as the elderly and the disabled may have trouble establishing dominance over this breed. The Bouvier needs daily exercise, but should not be jogged with over long distances because of his heavy structure and predisposition to hip problems. Time to train, socialize, exercise, and groom the Bouvier des Flandres must be made available.