9 Reasons to Let Your Dog Break the Rules!

How stupendously, eye-poppingly exciting is getting a new dog?

On a scale of one to ten, it comes in at 11. So much to look forward to! And you’re determined to do things right and be the best pet parent ever. You’ll even start as you mean to go on and set some ground rules. After all, a dog needs rules because knowing where the boundaries are helps them feel secure and makes them a better pet.

But just like New Year resolutions, rules are easily broken. The trouble is sometimes it feels wrong to enforce them under all circumstances, but to do otherwise raises the spectre of guilt.

But bending the odd canine ground-rule doesn’t make you a bad pet parent, it just makes you human. So for those times when Max snacks on some popcorn whilst sitting beside you on the couch, here is your guilt-free guide to rule breaking.

#1 No Dog on the Couch

A “no dogs on the furniture” rule makes sense. A dog on the chair is physically raised off the ground, and the danger is they mistakes your kindness for an elevation in their social status. By keeping your dog confined to the floor, it stops them literally “getting above themselves”.

However, a snuggle with your four-legged lap warmer, whilst sipping coffee, and relaxing with a book is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Interestingly, medics report that people with pets have lower blood pressure and fewer health problems than non-dog owners, so that cuddle is actually doing you good.

Reason #1: A cuddle a day keeps the doctor away.

#2 No Sleeping on the Bed

There are so many reasons not to let a four-legger on the bed: from dirty to paws to parasites, from lack of respect to encouraging them to be top dog, a no sleeping on the bed rule is obvious.

However, after 10 nights of howling in the kitchen and you are desperate for a good night’s sleep, how much easier to open the door and let your dog in? And if their presence happens to be comforting then that’s an awesome happy coincidence. Of course when Max claims the warm patch by your side, he’s not actually breaking any rules, so having an excuse ready is not strictly necessary.

Reason #2: A technicality, actually no rules are broken because your dog’s IN the bed.

#3 No Begging

We all know begging is bad behaviour. The dog asks and you give. The dog is training you to do what they want. Not good karma. However, this is one situation where if you are caught in the act, it’s OK to relinquish responsibility and tell the truth, after all this truly isn’t your fault.

Reason #3: My dog hypnotized me with those big brown eyes.

#4 No Eating Human Food

This rule has a modicum of common sense about it. Did you know many human foods are harmful to dogs? There are the obvious ones like chocolate, which can causes an upset tummy and more worryingly can overstimulate the heart, cause fits and may even in extreme cases be life-threatening.

Another no-no doggy snack is dried fruit such as raisins and sultanas, which for some can bring about kidney failure. Less well-known are things like the artificial sweetener xylitol, found in low sugar cookies and sweets. This has the alarming effect in some dogs of sending their blood glucose levels down into their paws with frightening consequences.

However, a timely treat such as clearing up table scraps or sharing the odd bit of steak, has its place. Which is where reason #4 comes in.

Reason #4: Waste is never a good thing.

#5 No Eating from the Table

Eating human food is one thing, but being fed from the table quite another. The dog is a subordinate part of your pack, with you as pack leader. Humans eat first and the dog waits for his meal. To do otherwise blurs the boundaries and gives your furry friend mixed messages. Of course the weakness of this argument is that in reality the dog rules the roost, in which case reason #5 is applicable.

Reason #5 is: Would you turn a member of the family away from the table?

#6 No Kisses Allowed

Yewh, a slobbery slurp! A canine kiss. Definitely something you warned the kids not to do. All those bugs, not to mention the risk of catching something from your dog. Plus there’s the whole “danger” thing about putting your face close to a dog. But heck, they are only being friendly and licking is a sign of affection.

Reason #6: Life’s too short to worry about bad breath

#7 No Spoiling the Dog with Treats

Again, this rule is founded on good sense. Just like us, eating between meals messes up his appetite and piles on the pounds. Treats contain those party-poopers called calories and at least if giving treats cut back on his diner. Better still is the no treats rule which keeps them a fit and healthy pup. Or selecting healthier treat alternatives. Does your dog know the difference between a pupcake and a liver treat in terms of their excitement for the treat?

Reason #7: Heck, a few treats means more inches to love

#8 Only One Dog

Before you got the dog, you were worried it was thin end of the wedge. Get one pet and where will it end? You have to be sensible and think of the expense. There’s the cost of feeding, vaccinations, worming, not to mention unexpected vet bills if the dog gets sick. So you make it clear in your own mind that getting one dog, doesn’t mean you’ll get others, but…

Reason #8: If one dog gives this much joy, how much more can two give!

#9 The Only Rule is There is No Rules

Of course, you may decide the only rule is there is no rules. Your furry friend has free run and anything goes. If you are lucky, you raise a poppet rather than a prima donna. But there is a risk that a dog without set boundaries can run out of control.

Remember, dogs like knowing where the limits are. It means they don’t have to challenge to find out what they can and can’t get away with because they already know. So in truth, it’s OK to set a rule or two because it makes for a happier life all round, but equally some rules are meant to be broken so don’t feel too guilty about bending the odd one or two.

Reason #9: The only rule never to break is to love your dog and never abandon them.

How guilty do you feel about breaking the rules? Do you secretly indulge your dog when your other half isn’t looking, or are you both as bad as each other! Perhaps some rules are there to be broken. Leave us a comment and share your thoughts!

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Kerry Martin

Kerry is 'Top Dog' here at Puppy Tales. With her own adored dogs, she completely gets that your four legged furry buddy is absolutely part of the family. That they sleep on the bed, that you want to take them everywhere, that you plan holidays so they’re included & that their presence makes your life incredible.