Monday, 2 April 2012


We have had a series of dogs staying with us since our return from our ski trip in February.  We had a friend's small dog, another Vizsla puppy and currently Sam (Riley's littermate) is visiting.   They are all wonderful dogs that are welcome to visit or stay with us anytime but having other people's dogs stay with me brought up a few thoughts to me about what behaviours that I think are important to live with.  Behaviours that are super important to me might not bother other people at all and vice-versa.

Each new fur member of our family seems to relax more rules more than the one before.  Kinda like families with lots of kids that wear down the parents :o).  Bud was my first cat and Lucy was our first dog.  Cats aren't easy animals to have rules with but it was understood that cats were not welcome on tables or countertops.  Bud is no longer with us and we now have two other cats that frequent the tables and countertops of our home pretty much whenever they want.  I don't want them surfing the counters to help "clean" any dirty dishes and they definately aren't allowed there when we are cooking but otherwise they pretty much do what they want.  We can directly blame that one on puppy Riley as the cats would often jump up onto tables or countertops to escape a huge puppy that wanted to chase or play with them. 

When Lucy first joined us we had lots of rules.  Real life happened and that smart little monster seemed to figure out lots of ways to bend us to her set of rules instead.  I also learned so much more about natural health and positive dog training so by the time Riley came along a lot of things just weren't important anymore.  Stella has successfully eliminated our no dogs on the couch rule although thankfully Riley shows zero interest in claiming his spot.  I don't allow free reign on the couch and expect her to sit and wait for permission before jumping up but she is rarely denied permission.

So that brings up the question as to what are the important rules I expect for my dogs?  The main rules are no jumping up on people, polite food behaviours and barking only in context.  I don't mind dogs that are barking for a reason (squirrel in yard etc.) but hate it when dogs bark at every little thing or just to hear themselves.  Stella barks more than I would like but we are working on it gradually.  She is much more environmentally aware than Riley and has been more naturally barky since she was a young puppy but she is learning to turn it off when asked.

What rules are important to you?


  1. I've recently given up the no sofa rule too, but same as you, they need to sit and ask permission. Since we only have one 3-seat sofa, and two people, only one dog can join us during tv time anyway. It's usually Toby, and sometimes Meadow. Leah doesn't like the sofa for whatever reason.

    Besides the rules you already listed - I strictly enforce the no dogs on the bed rule and I still enforce no cats on the counter with my two...although I do occasionally catch them up there anyway. LOL!

  2. Oops forgot about the bed rule. Ours is if there are two people in the bed then no dogs but if one spot is empty then the dog is welcome to claim it. Stella is crated at night still because she would definately weasel her vizsla butt out of that rule!