Dog Blog: Two Types of Dog People
There are two types of dog people: those whose dogs are trained to spend all of their indoor time on their dog beds and those whose dogs consider all indoor space to belong to them. I bet I could tell which side of the divide you're on within seconds of entering your home.
Dogs tend to be hard on home furnishings. The larger and hairier they are, the bigger the impact. I know; I'm a big dog person married to a Chinese Crested person. A multiple dog owner married to a single dog owner. My wife and her little white hairless Crested, Su, live in their own house next door to me and my obstreperous bunch of hounds. They visit, looking down their noses at the mess. I visit their house far less frequently, and without my pack. I wipe my feet at the door. Yep, it's an unusual way to structure a marriage, but absolutely necessary.
It's not that my own dogs are so bad, although I admit that in the early days I neglected to set boundaries. But there's a revolving door of foster dogs and boarders coming through my door, all accustomed to different rules, some never having heard of rules before. My wife says they should live in the kennel, but we don't listen to her.
J's boundaries are simple: only hairless animals allowed. Mine are in evolution. The more she nags, the more evolved I get.
I'm clear that dogs don't belong on countertops. Only cats are allowed there. No dog paws, no dog noses. Sniffing toward the counter is okay as long as there's no contact with food items and no pushing me out of the way. Dogs are allowed on furniture, but not if I'm there first. Nudging of arms holding coffee cups will result in a wet dog.
There is finally a gate at the top of the stairs leading to the bedroom. This is where it gets fuzzy. Su, the Chinese Crested, is always allowed in the bed. Tom, my 60-pound mixed breed, is allowed on the bed but not on J's pillow. Tom is supposed to get off when we're ready to go to sleep, but sometimes I curl up into a ball so that she can stay. Also, she's not supposed to be on the bed when she's "too wet or dirty." That's not a very clear-cut distinction.
Tom and Su are the only bedroom dogs. Except when some other dog is feeling needy, or demanding, or they're used to sleeping on the bed at their own home, or...if I just happen to particularly like that dog. J sorely misses the chiropractor she used to see in Vancouver.
As far as I'm concerned, there's no one right way when it comes to setting boundaries for your dog. The important thing is that you are happy with the rules you make, others in the household know about and agree with them, and everyone is consistent in enforcing them.
Yes, consistency...need to work on that.
Shane Windatt, CTC, CPDT
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