If you live with more than one dog, do the same rules apply to both?
I suppose in most homes, the dogs have the same rules. But in our house, different dogs have different rules.
Ike, the service pup in training, has the most rules to follow. His life is relatively structured, as he's going to have an important job – helping a disabled veteran lead a full life.
The other three dogs in the house have pretty relaxed rules. They're pet dogs, they don't have the same expectations placed on them as Ike.
That must be confusing, right? Ike's rules are different — more strict even — than the rest of the dogs in the house.
Not really. Ike's rules have been in place since the day he crossed the threshold. And they've never varied. They're the same every day, no matter what.
What rules are different for Ike? It would probably be easier to list what isn't different!
- Ike is crated when we're not home. The other dogs are not.
- Ike eats all of his meals out of a food-stuffed toy. The other dogs eat out of a bowl.
- Ike eats in his crate. The other dogs eat in the kitchen.
- Ike has to wait for his release signal ("at ease") before going outside. The other dogs just have to wait for the door to be opened.
- Ike has to sit before I pet him. The other dogs get pets for free.
- Ike's not allowed on the furniture. The other dogs live on our furniture.
You get the picture: Ike's day-to-day life is different than his housemates. But this doesn't cause him any confusion. His rules never vary, they're the same every single day.
So don't be afraid to have different rules for different dogs — but only if you're consistent enough to remember the rules and apply them to the appropriate dog(s)!
P.S. Don't think that because Ike lives with a lot of rules, he's miserable. This guy loves his rules! (As I think most dogs do, if those rules are consistent.) His life is still pretty good: He still gets to rip it up in the backyard with his housemates. He still gets lots of love and attention from us humans. He gets just as many goodies (if not more) as his doggie housemates. Heck, he gets to go out in public with me on my errands!
Yay! I think Ike (and other dog’s with consistent rules) learn to love their rules: they understand what is expected of them, perform the behavior and reap the rewards! Rules do not equal misery! 🙂
Laurie Luck says
It’s true, it’s true. It’s a whole lot easier on me AND the dogs when the rules are clear and consistent. No guessing for the dogs means a happy day for them!
Jana Rade says
Our guys actually have some rules that are common and some that are individual. Works with their “position in the pack” and they personalities.
amy amster says
Wonderful post. Service Dogs may have to be treated a little differently than other pets, but loved just the same (if not a little more).
Laurie Luck says
Thanks for all the comments! If you notice your comment has been edited, please know I only edit your comment if you’re blatantly advertising something… Otherwise, feel free to comment as much and as often as you like!