Your dog will be as obedient as you request of him, or her. We have all witnessed pet owners that must lounge for their dog when the door is opened, or thrust their knee out to block the dog when it see’s something it wants to go after. I won’t do that. Neither will I scream at the top of my lungs while my dog runs off anyways. We see this all the time with dog owners, all the time. It is not necessary.
Dogs are intelligent animals. They will do exactly what you allow them to do. They will go as far as you let them, just like a child. I Boundaries are rules your dog obeys without you physically imposing them. The dog knows such, and such, is not something he’s allowed to do, so he simply doesn’t do it. You do not have to physically intervene. Maybe you did when the boundary was first set, but not anymore. Every person that owns a dog has a set of boundaries. I can hear it now, “Oh, no, I don’t set boundaries for my dog” or “My dog ignores my boundaries”. Well, no, and no again. You DO set boundaries weather you are doing it intentionally, or not. You set them all the time.
Does your dog jump up on the dinner table while you are eating dinner, and lick off of the plates? No, because that is a boundary you have set. You will not jump on the dinner table. Or, you will not eat off my plate. These are boundaries you have set. You do not physically grab the dog every night at dinner and remove him from the dinner table, he knows he is not to get on the table, so he does not do it.
Every command you give your dog, can be a non-physical boundary, if you so choose. I have found that I have more trouble teaching the owner to keep their hands off the dog, then teaching the dog the boundary! Depending on a persons experience with dogs, they will have certain ingrained idea’s in their mind that are super hard for them to let go of.
For example, the most common physically enforced behavior is blocking the dog with a knee, or grabbing their collar, when the front door is opened. The dog has been taught, when I open this door, you are to push and shove, and try to get past me. I will block you with my knee’s, or body and take hold of your collar if I find I’m losing. That is what has been taught to the dog, seriously. Every time that door opens, do you block your dog with your knee? Do you block him by shutting the door? This is not necessary, but it is up to you to change your behavior in order to change the dogs response.
If you want your dog to stay in the house when you open the door, then teach him that. In your mind, the owner, make that a boundary just as off-limits as eating off of your plate at the dinner table. You need to put it in your mind, “My dog will not walk out that door when I open it AND I will not physically restrain him to accomplish this.” This is going to be the hardest part for you. I guarantee it.
Your must have verbal control of your dog first. When you tell your dog to sit, does he sit, or does he wait for you to say it louder, or repeatedly? When you tell him to sit and stay, can you walk 15 feet away and he won’t follow you? These are basic boundaries that must be learned before you can expect the dog to move further with training. When you want to set further boundaries if the dog doesn’t listen to sit, or stay, it will be difficult for you.
From day one, whether young, or old, when you first bring your dog home, set the boundaries that you want, along with the ones you think you don’t set. The first few times you open the front door, yeah, the dog is going to think its time to walk out the door, but if you first say, “No, stay” as you open the door, you’ll have a far better chance of him doing just that. If he stays for a second, then gets up to walk out the door, then you take him by the collar, while leaving the door open, pull him back to where he was and repeat, “No, stay” and let go of the collar (be ready to grab it again). Repeat this until the dog gets it in his mind, if I try to walk out that door, my owner isn’t going to let me, so I’ll just stay here. It won’t take forever, but it might take twenty minutes for a couple of days to get this boundary set, just like the boundary of stay off the dinner table, make stay back when I open the door, the same kind of boundary. How long did it take to teach him to stay off the dinner table? Maybe once, maybe twice, but then he got it and it doesn’t happen anymore.
Your boundaries are where you decide to set them.