Clients frequently say to me, "I'm sorry, but we tend to let Sparky on the couch." I try not to laugh. Not at them, of course, but rather at the idea that Sparky, a member of the family, should somehow NOT be allowed on the couch!
You see, my dog training "manual" has a very short list of things dogs should absolutely NOT be allowed to do. In fact, I struggled to come up with the following list.
Below is a list of what I think dogs shouldn't be allowed to do. If you have anything else to add, I'd love to hear your comments!
Your dog should not be allowed to:
1. Eat grapes, onions, large amounts of garlic, mushrooms, chocolate (baker's is way worse than a candy bar from the impulse aisle in the grocery store), etc. etc. etc.
I know. They're eyes are just so adorable when they're begging for food. Here's a quick list to refer to that includes the effects of consumption.
2. Develop behaviors that are inappropriate for your lifestyle and theirs
Let me be specific. If you have small children, it is NOT wise to teach/allow your dog to jump on people. Conversely, if you do not have children and you don't mind that your dog jumps on people, then jumping is not a behavior you would work on fixing.
Be prepared to accept responsibility for any behaviors you allow your dog to practice that others might consider unacceptable. If you allow your dog to hump everyone he meets, then don't suddenly decide that's embarrassing, and therefore punishable, when he's humping your 80 year old grandmother's leg.
Notice I also mention your dog's lifestyle. That's so very important to consider and yet, it's commonly overlooked. Understand dog body language. Dog's do not find it socially acceptable for another dog to lunge at them in greeting. This is a doggy-greeting no-no. Therefore, if you allow your dog to practice this you are setting your dog up for a serious (and costly) reality check from another canine.
3. Go their entire life without any professional training
This isn't a marketing scheme or a plug for Kahuna's K9s (although, FYI, we're offering a discount this month for referrals!).
Dogs are learning every day:
- Trash can = really stinky, tasty stuff
- Tissues are fun to chew! and so are cardboard boxes, shoes, books, end tables and DVD cases...
- Barking makes the mailman go away
The advantage of professional training: you have control over what they learn!
If your dog is one of those braniacs that practically trained themselves, then consider professional training for a fun activity you both can participate in like agility or Nosework classes.
4. Live their lives in solitary confinement
I'll just say this: Dogs are social animals. Humans are social animals. Therefore, life is so much better when we spend it together. :)
5. Dominate you.
SIKE! Oh that made me LOL just typing it. I'm not getting lecturey and I'm not going to delve deep in to this highly controversial subject. Dogs do well with GOOD leadership - I love this quote from some guy named John Quincy Adams about what it is to be a leader:
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."