Every now and then I run across dog training advice that confuses me, from people whom I generally agree with. These are always tossed in as “of course, you want to do this…” Inquisitive mind wants to know why I should do that.
One of the most common occurrences of this involves the dog “asking permission” to do things. I am absolutely in favor of having rules. Dogs like clarity, and they pick up on situational cues very quickly. I’m willing to bet, in fact, that you never had to explicitly train any of your most basic household rules.
I’ve never really followed, though, the idea that every house with a dog needed the same rules.
This post is prompted by a discussion with someone whose training philosophy is pretty similar to mine. Offhandedly, she said, “You’ll want to have your dog ask permission before he gets on the bed…”
Do I? Do I really?
I mean, I can imagine scenarios wherein I would care if and when my dog jumped off and on the bed or the sofa. If your dog guards the sofa, for instance. Or, if the dog trying to share your bed weighs enough to hurt you if he lands on your leg. If the dog is injured, or if you had a fancy bedspread that you wanted to preserve. It’s not a rule that makes no sense, ever. I can see why some people like it.
It is, however, a rule that’s pretty irrelevant for me. We don’t have a multiple-dog hierarchy that needs to be managed. Silas knows to jump on the bed at the foot, so he doesn’t land on anybody’s head. He will happily move over and let me in, even if he’s on my comfiest pillow. When he’s having an anxious time and I’m away, he’ll sometimes go upstairs to sleep in the “safe space.” The only effects I can see from trying to enforce this “universal rule” are bad–me having to manage a behavior that I don’t care about, and Silas losing access to his safe haven while I’m not home.
Bottom line: your dog training time is limited. Use it on things that you care about, not some “everybody should do this” rule that doesn’t have any value in your life.
What about you? Do you break “The Rules?”