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The Fur-Child (Or, putting it into technical terms, "anthropomorphising the canine companion")

We humans have this really weird thing going on. We have children (or god-children, step-children, neices/nephews, etc) and we're generally pretty good at picking up on when we (or the actual parents) are doing a bad job. We want these children to be confident but polite, outgoing but respectful, loving but independent, and that is our goal as the 'elders' (leaders) - to guide. To put it into a basic chronological order, our/the children (being babies) are initially closely supervised, contained (crib, play pen, etc) or supervised (by us, day care, nanny/baby-sitter, etc). As they get older we progressively give them more freedom (playing with other children, doing their own thing in their room or outside) with less and less supervision - we trust our 'modelling' and expect a certain level of responsibility from them. And we also allow, or even encourage, that they become more and more independent. And this allows them to develop strength of character, problem solving abilities and confidence in themselves.

Yet we do the exact opposite with our dogs! We get our pup or rescue dog (or older non-rescue dog) and... we give them absolute free reign. Full access to house and yard - no exceptions. If Fido wants to get on the furniture - sure - we love cuddles! On our bed? Why not? - we can always make room, no matter how much room a dog can take up (and they really do take up space - if we let them...). On the couch, on our lap, in the kitchen, in the bathroom (that scratching on the door really isn't good for the door, after all, and doesn't it mean he loves us?!). And then we start taking it away - we want to go out and Fido, our new God - sorry, dog - isn't quite so ok with that. Or we have friends over and they want to sit 'in Fido's spot' - and maybe he grumbles, maybe he growls "but he's a rescue dog" we say... or, even worse, we smack him! We give him the world, with no structure and no guidance - why would he know how to behave in a human world? We need to teach him that. But we also need to set the same sorts boundaries as we do for our kids - he's a dog, not a child, so we need to do this differently, but it still need to be done. Why? Because it makes him feel secure. It gives him confidence in us and in our decisions. So when we then ask something of him (like to come, or to walk at heel or side, or to simply trust us when we say that it's ok) then he can have confidence in us... 

Dogs and children (or even adults humans) really aren't that different - we all need to know where we stand, what the rules and

consequences are, and that we belong. And this doesn't happen by being spoilt, it happens by having clear boundaries and expectations.

Read more about boundaries in our E-book "Ruling The Roost", for help with a problem dog or rescue (or even a young dog before he becomes a problem) look at "How To Massively Improve Your Dog's Behaviour In 7 Days" or guiding a pup (up to 4 months old) in "Raising Fido".


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