House Rules For Dogs

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

House Rules For Dogs

by Kathryn Burns

Whether you have just got a new puppy or an adult dog, its important that your new dog gets to know the house rules. And it up to you to let him know what your house rules are.

Its also important that other members of the family know what the dogs house rules are, so that everybody can stick to them. Dogs are creatures of habit and if they are allowed something today, they will expect to be allowed tomorrow and forever!

At the very least, your Dog House Rules should include:

  • Toileting
Basic house training must include teaching you dog or puppy to go to the toilet in the correct place, that is definitely outside! or perhaps on some paper in an emergency!

  • Sleeping
You must also teach your dog the correct place to sleep.

When your puppy is small and adorable, its easy to be tempted to bring him to bed with you. Particularly if he cries when you leave him alone. But this could be setting up problems for the future, as he will expect to sleep there every night, which might not be practical when he's fully grown.

Also from a training point of view, your dog needs to know you are his master and letting in sleep in your bed gives him equal rights - dogs operate on a hierarchical pack system, not a democracy.

Its probably best for the dog to have his own bed (or some people prefer to use a crate), perhaps in the kitchen, or could be your bedroom. Again, this establishes pack hierarchy (your family is now his pack) and helps with obedience and training.

Your dog will enjoy having his own bed. It is a space to call his own, somewhere to retreat to if he wants a bit of peace! But by the same token, remember to keep other animals or small children out of his bed or crate, its HIS.

  • Eating
Your dog must learn to get his food from you when, and only when, you give it to him. Many trainers recommend an eating 'pecking order' with the dog in last position;so make sure you (head of the pack) eat first, before the dog (bottom of the pack). Your dog must also be taught not to steal food - out of a child's hands, off the table, out of the bin etc

Quite quickly your dog will get used to these basic house training rules and be a happy member of your pack!

Kathryn Burns has a very keen interest in dog training, dog health and safety of dogs, and has a West Highland Terrier herself. There?s lots of useful dog information at Or Add your views to the blog at

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