My 3 golden rules in everyday dog life
The alarm clock is ringing. Brunhilde gets up. Your dog Bobby also heard the alarm clock.
He jumps on the bed and licks Mrs. Brunhilde’s face. “Now you are clean. Get up! I have some business to attend to. Brunhilde would actually like to have some breakfast first, but since Bobby is in a hurry, she goes out with him first. At the front door Bobby presses his thick, wet nose against the door and barks. “Come on now, old woman! I want out.” Brunhilde yawns, grabs the leash and rakes the carabiner sleepily and stomach growling at Bobby’s harness. No sooner did she press the door handle down than Bobby had pushed his whole body through the door slit, opened the front door with full force and dashed out. Brunhilde literally flew after him.
She’s doing a lot of things wrong, don’t you think?
I am of the opinion – no matter how much you love your dog – the dog should always orientate itself towards its master and mistress. Never the other way round. Sure, for me too, my three chaotic people are my whole life. They mean indescribably much to me and I would do everything for them. Nevertheless, it is very unhealthy for a dog-human relationship if dog owners tend to orientate their whole life according to the dog.
In this article I told you about our 3 golden rules in everyday life, which (for us) are really worth gold.
Golden rule number one:
“If you’re nice and wait, you’ll get some.”
You must have heard that sentence as a child. I think it can be used quite well with our four-legged friends. It’s just a pity that dogs don’t speak our language. And although Mojo, Rana and Mateo don’t understand my language, they know to wait when they want something (delicious).
And how do they do that?
By eye contact and command.
A small example from our everyday life:
It’s 4:00. Time to go for a walk. Dogs packed, leashes packed, thrown into the car and off we go. Arrived in the forest the dogs are already excited. “At last, running, fighting and playing.” The three of them would like to jet off immediately. But they’ll have to wait, and they know it. Like every day, all three of them are doing an excellent job of sitting down. I release the carabiners of the leashes from the collars. Theoretically Mojo, Rana and Mateo could start running now – but they are waiting. I get an overview of the situation, while the dogs learn to control their excitement.
No bikes, no joggers and no leashed dogs in sight. So: Fire free.
The dogs look at me. (Eye contact) I dissolve the ritual (let’s call it that) with an “Okay” (command).
Free running is only possible after approval from the owner and after eye contact from the dog.
I do not only apply this rule for outdoor leashing.
My dogs also have to wait when they get something to nibble on or get their daily food. They have to wait outside the door before we go for a walk. As long as all three are not sitting on their fluffy butts, the door stays locked. The same applies to food. As long as all three are not sitting, the bowls remain untouched and are not distributed.
So what’s the point?
It brings peace to the daily routine. Especially in multi-dog keeping – where chaos is pre-programmed – very valuable. Dogs mean action. Many dogs mean even more action. So it is quite practical if the dogs know “how to behave”.
If you let your dog jump around excitedly and bark before the daily gas round, you have already lost. Your dog will not pay attention to you at all and will throw himself into nature full of euphoria. He will be unresponsive and completely overexcited. After all, he has never learned to communicate with his master or mistress.
Sure, dogs can and should be happy, but what is the use for me as a dog owner of an excited dog who does not pay attention to me? For me the daily walk is the highlight of the day. I always look forward to discovering nature together with the dogs. So that this remains so, I have integrated this golden rule into our daily routine. So I am no air for my dog, because he knows that his free run depends on me.
I don’t have to be afraid that one of my dogs will snatch something from my hand while I’m eating or in the course of eating will snap IN my finger or even snap off my finger 😉
My three chaotic dogs know that such a behaviour only leads to a “sending-off” and not to the desired result – namely to get something to eat.
Golden rule number two:
“I’ll go first!”
No matter which entrance or exit it is, as a dog owner I always go first. I go through the front door first. I enter the shop first, I go through my host’s doorstep first. This rule has nothing to do with the typical “I boss – you nix!” I’m busy. I would like to create and convey security for my dogs.
Recently I was inconsistent and sent the dogs out for a quick pee, this time I let Mojo, Rana and Mateo go first. Logically I did not know that a stranger was waiting for someone just around the corner at our house wall. The dogs got scared, barked and growled. Of course I apologized immediately. I would have loved to bite my own ass – this situation could have been easily avoided if I had followed my own rule!
If you take over the leadership in the pack in everyday life, you firstly have a better overview of the surroundings as well as possible dangers and secondly you signal security to the dog, for which you as dog owner/dog mom/pack boss are also responsible.
Golden rule number three:
“What I say is law.”
Maybe not quite so crass.
The last rule for our pack: If a command leaves my lips, it’s executed. Absolutely. Proverb of consequence.
That commands work reliably is important to me personally in three things:
Say the commands “Hiiiiiieeeer”, “Off!” and “Stop” must work in our pack. Always! Why?
Because – especially in the keeping of several dogs – this way the safety of my pack and my surroundings can be guaranteed. It is much more dangerous if a cyclist or a jogger comes towards you and you have not only one but three dogs in free run. That means for the cyclist (or jogger) to watch out three times that nothing happens. Depending on the situation, I either call the dogs to me with “Here” or let them wait on the spot with the command “Stop” until our counterpart has moved on.
The command “Off” is almost even more important to me than the two commands mentioned before. Unfortunately, poisoned bait is no longer a rarity nowadays. Knowing that my dogs can give the command in case of doubt makes me, as a dog owner, go for a relaxed walk. Therefore we practice “Off” more regularly and more intensively. You can integrate the recall or the waiting into your daily walks anyway and thus rarely fall into oblivion with your four-legged friend.
My three golden rules provide some structure in the daily life of a dog.
For dogs, fixed rules and a consistent enforcement of these rules are important. If I as the owner take responsibility and act sovereign with my dogs, my dogs perceive me as pack leader and trust me. This I succeed best with the three golden rules. If I didn’t have any and chaos broke out at home because nobody knows what to do, I would not act as sovereign as I do with rules.