Is There Such Thing as Too Much Freedom?
A major cause of issue in the home is due to owners giving their dogs too much freedom before they have earned it. When a dog has been raised with little to no structure but allowed unlimited freedom… it’s a recipe for disaster. Typically you end up with a dog that has multiple behavior issues such as chewing inappropriate items, house training issues, reacting at other dogs or people, jumping, nipping… the list goes on and on.
When we get dogs into training the first thing we do is take away that unearned freedom and replace it with structure.
For example on walks the dog is next to our side and not pulling ahead, or peeing on every object we pass, or barking at other dogs or squirrels. When we are in the house the dog is in the same room as us in a place command and as we move room to room we call the dog to follow and again put the dog in another down stay or place command. If the dog is not yet house training we will keep the dog on leash in the house and have the dog tethered to us so they can’t sneak off and have an accident. When going outside or inside we have the dog wait at the threshold until we invite them in or out. When the dog is not able to be supervised they are in a crate.
At first we make every decision for the dog.
“What this does is shift the relationship to where the dog is now looking to us for direction instead of running the house and doing whatever they please whenever they please.”
Now this high level of structure is not a forever thing. Once your dog gets into a routine and chaotic behaviors have melted away we can slowly start allowing the dog more freedom.
Baby steps are key! We don’t want to throw the whole playbook out the window. Instead we want to slowly start allowing a little bit of freedom at a time. If at any point the dog starts taking advantage of the freedom again then we tighten up and put the structure back in place for a while before trying again.
Each dog is different and some dogs require more structure on a daily basis than others. There are some dogs that are allowed all the freedom in the world and they exhibit no behavior issues and then there are some dogs where you give them an inch of freedom and they take a mile. Those are the dogs that require a more structured routine.
If you have a dog that is in need of some structure, click the button below to schedule and evaluation with us and view the training programs we offer.