Rules for Dogs

What are the ‘rules’ your dog should have in your household?

There is no black and white ‘rule book’ on the rules every dog should have.
The rules you instil really depend on your lifestyle, needs and what you want to achieve with your dog.

Consider the following questions:

 What and where are the boundaries for my dog in the home and in public?

For example, it’s not likely that you would want your dog to be the volunteer, taste tester of your cooking or a trip hazard while prepping food in the kitchen. An ideal boundary set up in this situation is to teach your dog sitting on their mat (watching you with drooling eyes).

How do I want my dog interacting with familiar and unfamiliar people and dogs?

For example, most socially accepted behaviours allow the dog to greet unfamiliar people and/or dogs in a calm and confident manner. If you are one to take your dog into public areas, or have visitors in the home regularly, then a bouncing, out of control dog can turn a fun and enjoyable experience into a stressful and embarrassing event.

What are my dog’s acceptable behaviours to replace the unwanted behaviours?

Dogs will perform certain behaviours based on what they have learned, whether it was a negative or positive experience.

For example, if your dog is nervous when the postie comes by, and barks at them until they go away, your dog has (unintentionally) learnt that barking at the postie makes them move away.  In this instance, you will need to think of  an achievable behaviour you can teach your dog to do instead of barking at the postie. Alternative behaviours include quietly watching from afar, display willingness and excitement behaviours, go find mum/dad the postie is coming so you can distract your dog etc.

Learn and teach what works for you and your dog; but be wary of the advice given.

There is an abundance of information available to you via:

the internet family friends
neighbours plumbers lawyers
gardeners pet store staff electricians
delivery drivers bank tellers uber drivers
just to name a few!

Advice is readily available and given by anyone and everyone. It is wonderful to have access to a variety of contacts that we can turn to for help. However, although some of your contacts “have done this with their dog” or “had dogs 10 years ago”, you are still encouraged to speak with a Dog Behavioural Trainer, simply because you will not be lead astray by out of date information, you will not be implementing boundaries and rules that are not relevant to the actual issue of your dog and you will be supported and accountable to finish the behavioural modification process required.

Here is a quick reference for Professionals you need to contact:

Advice Needed

Who to Contact
First time puppy/dog owners Dog Behavioural Trainer
General Training Dog Behavioural Trainer
Complex Behavioural Issues Veterinary Behaviourist and an experienced Dog Behavioural Trainer
Leaking Toilet Plumber
Puppy/Dog Health Veterinarian
Neighbourhood Disputes Local Police and/or Lawyer and/or Councillor
Puppy/Dog Diet Veterinarian and/or Canine Nutritionist
Animal Local Laws

Local Animal Management Team

So how do you know if you are doing the right thing?

What you need to decide is what type of relationship or arrangement do you want with your dog.

Do you want:

a dog that is happy to approach you no matter the situation?
a dog that cowers in your, or others, presence?
a dog that is willing to overcome life obstacles for you?
a dog that is not willing to initiate a relationship with you?
a dog that respects you and your family without losing their flare in personality?
a dog that is a robot?

The type of dog you want will be determined by your interaction and how others interact with your dog. A happy, obedient and trustworthy dog is one that has had a positive experience in life lessons, learning, teaching and trust. A submissive, fearful, cowering  and low confident dog is one that has had a negative experience in most life lessons, learning’s and trust.

Your dog’s welfare is priority and it is the base of a happy and trusting relationship with you, your family and society.

We all follow a set of rules and guidelines based on ethical choices and values, that society adheres to, known as Social Ethics. Most of these rules are often unspoken and instead expected to be followed.

The RSPCA also has provided the Five Freedom for Animals to use as a guideline for animal welfare:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  2. Freedom from discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease: by prevention through rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Additionally, in the book “The Dog Rules: 14 Secrets To Developing The Dog You Want” written by Kyra Sundance, points out a simple list of what dog owners owe to their dog:

  • Adequate food and medical care
  • A life that goes beyond mere survival
  • Grooming, ear and teeth cleaning, nail trimming, skin and coat conditioning
  • Exercise – not only the option for exercise, but also the encouragement
  • Twenty minutes of your undivided attention each day
  • Three enrichment activities a day (a walk, a game of fetch, a training session, a car ride etc.)
  • Exposure to the world beyond your fence
  • Socialization with people and dogs outside the family
  • The right to give and receive unconditional love
  • Training, so that your dog does not become a prisoner of his/her own misbehaviour
  • Fresh air and green grass
  • Respect for your dog’s needs and wants
  • Responsible breeding, or none at all
  • Time and space all his/her own
  • The freedom to be foolish and silly, and to make you laugh
  • The right to earn your trust and to be trusted in return
  • Forgiveness
  • The right to die with dignity
  • The honour of being remembered well

Setting up dog rules that are suited to you, your family’s and dog’s lifestyle is the main ingredient of a loving and long lasting relationship between all.  Gather as much information as you can on any advise you seek, as ‘one size doesn’t fit all’. To avoid unwanted experiences and negative learned behaviours, contact your Dog Behavioural Trainer to guide you towards your goals with your dog.

If you require further assistance in implementing dog rules in your household, contact our experienced and professional dog behavioural trainer, Christine on 0409 636 117 or email

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