While we are all at home observing the Covid-19 rules and being good citizens, your dogs routine has changed and they are getting unlimited access to you. If you want to make good use of this time, you want to make sure that your relationship is the very best that it can be and that your dog knows how to behave in this strange human world.
As humans, we want to be our dogs best friend and shower them with love and affection and provide everything that we can. Unfortunately, this is not what your dog wants and they actually want rules and discipline first, so that they know what is expected of them.
Picture the scene, you're running round the house chasing the dog, throwing balls and playing tug and having a wild old time. Later on, you're trying to sit and watch the T.V. or eat dinner and the dog is haring around, jumping on the sofa, stealing things and trying to get you to chase them. But unlike earlier, now you are shouting at him/her and telling them off and the dog is confused. What changed? Why is this different to earlier? If we look at it from the dogs point of view, the house is a big playground and you are his playmates so why can't they run around and be wild?
If we just look at it from a rules and discipline angle, the dog needs to always know what are the rules, what can I do and what can't I do. Once the rules are in place, the dog can let go and play freely because there is no negative to the activity and it is all acceptable behaviour. Using our example above, the house to me is not a playground and certainly the lounge and I would suggest kitchen, are out of bounds for any high energy activity. The lounge because this is where the family will spend time together relaxing and watching T.V. etc. The dog is a member of the family so they should always be allowed to do so in a calm and relaxed manner, lying on their bed or being near the family without demanding anything.
The kitchen is a dangerous place with boiling water, knives and such like, so even if the dog has there bed or crate there, they should stay on them and not be excited and running around. Also, they may sleep over night here so we don't want to encourage excited behaviour in this area.
My suggestion for excited behaviour, the garden, or if you don't have access to a garden, an outdoor play area, or one room that is set aside in the house for play. Now we can induldge in all these activities and have as much fun as you want with who you want and the dog can relax and have a ball. When the game finishes, the dog comes into the house and knows that the play has stopped and relaxation is the only acceptable behaviour.
You can extend this to waiting for their food, sitting at the door to get their lead or harness on, waiting for people to enter the home before calmly greeting them and many more examples, all of which will help your dog to understand what the rules are and how they should behave. Then, when you go to play, you can have a great time and let the dog have fun, but even then, biting, nipping, over zealous play, means that the game ends temporarily, so that they know that there are rules and consequences for bad play and this coupled with praise and reward for good play and behaviour, will mean that you dog will always act within your rules and be a great, fun companion.
How do I know that this is the best you can do for your dog? Because in the course of my 10 years home boarding dogs I have practiced this with hundreds of dogs that I didn't know or own until they stayed at my home and without exception, the dogs all understood this rule after a short period staying with me. The beauty is that by having clear rules, I could see them relax and let go of a lot of stress as they understood completely what the rules were and that knowledge enables them to understand how to live in your world.
I hope this helps and remember, a tired dog is a happy dog, so make sure that you use your exercise period wisely and you allow your dog off lead if possible to burn as much energy as they can and to allow them to come home in a relaxed state so they can practice your house rules.
Any questions, issues or problems, please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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