I recently had a caller who called to inquire about my classes and training philosophy. He had spoken to another trainer and was told that he was doing everything wrong and that his puppy was going to grow up to dominate him and his home. He informed me that he allows his puppy to sleep in his bed and be on the couch and had been told this was wrong, dogs belong on the floor. So I told him my philosophy and I will share that philosophy with you.
My business motto is “Where Pets are Family”. I believe that if you make a commitment to bring an animal into your home that, that creature deserves to be part of your family. If that means you want your new family member on the couch, so be it. If that means you want them on a dog bed on the floor, so be it. This is your home and you get to decide what occurs in your home. If you allow your puppy to sleep with you and sit on the couch will they become dominant and control you? Absolutely not! Could they growl at you when you sit on the couch? In some cases yes. Is it because they are trying to be dominant over you? No. If your dog growls at you and you move off the couch or bed you dog has learned that this works. So they will do it again simply because it works. This is the same reason your dog barks at the people walking by your home, because they keep walking and the dog thinks that barking made them leave. Dogs do what works. They are not looking to control you. My simple solution for avoiding the growl in the first place is to let your dog know when you want them up with you and when you do not. Because lets face it not all guests like a 100lb dog sitting in their lap on the couch. So you invite them up and you tell them when to get down. In this way you are setting the boundaries and letting your dog know what works. My family members 2 legged and 4 legged enjoy the freedoms of living in our home but when I say “off” my pups respond immediately and therefore our guests do not have to sit face to face with a Coon Hound, Shep/Husky or a Husky in their lap.
Enjoy your four legged family members, their time here is so brief. Remember they don’t want to dominate you, but they will always do what works so it is up to you to create rules and boundaries that everyone can live with.