Rules and Boundaries Lessen Stress and Improve RelationshipsSep 26, 2022
Setting rules and boundaries isn't always easy. Knowing where to start can also be a challenge. Today, we discuss how to create rules and boundaries, how to teach your pup what you want, and how time and discipline play in a role in getting results.
One of my favorite books that is a blue print for creating rules and boundaries is a written by Trainer extraordinaire, Susan Garrett, it is called Ruff Love and can be found on Amazon. In this book Susan discusses relationship building games along with very black and white "rules" to set with your pup. In the back of the book is a chart and there are 4 different levels. You start with level 1 which gives your pup the least amount of freedom and over time, you work your way through the levels with the final goal being that your pup has all the freedoms in the world and they make amazing choices! No matter what you decide on for rules and boundaries be sure to decide on consequences ahead of time and always follow-through. Please know that consequences don't have to be harsh, they are never intended to be mean, and should in no way hurt or harm your pup. Often times we think of consequences as just being bad and I encourage you to shape your mind to also include good consequences such as using reinforcement when your pup makes good decisions.
Another aspect of setting rules and boundaries is identifying what you want your pup to do instead. Often times we focus on what we don't want our pups to do but forget to build a repertoire of behaviors that teach your pup what you want them to do instead. Once a behavior is identified, then create and execute a training plan. As you build your pups repertoire of acceptable behaviors you will find that they begin to choose alternative responses to what once was considered a bad behavior. If you need help working through this process and don't know how to teach your pup acceptable skills reach out to our team and we'd be happy to help through a variety of services, including classes, private trainings, and through online education.
No matter the problem behavior that needs to be resolved, when a training plan is put into place consistency plays a key role in the success or failure of the plan. Often times it is easy to fall back into what is easy instead of following through with what your dog needs for optimal learning. Additionally, make sure you give your plan the time needed to see results. With long lasting results there is an ebb and flow in the progress and giving your plan adequate time to get results is key. Often times people tend to constantly change their expectations, or modify the plan and doing this too frequently can cause confusion and hinder results. Making adjustments to the larger plan is good, however, making sure to give adequate time to the initial plan is a must. Make sure to collect data and make any changes or pivots based on data, not on how you feel.