Rule #1 – You Own The Dog

The Instinctive Obedience® three golden rules are simple. Rule #1 – Dogs do not own anything.

It sounds simple enough. We often ask people, “Does your dog pay the mortgage or electric bills? Does the dog buy its own food?” Of course, the answer is always no.

You bought or adopted your dog. You pay the vet bills. You provide the food and water. You provide the home and bed. You own your dog’s eyes, ear, mouth, paws, tail, everything. This is important because dogs are spatial creatures. When they view something as being “theirs”, i.e. – bedding, bowls, toys, food, even the spot on the bed — they will stand guard over whatever it is they think they own. This is something a lot of predatory animals do, simply watch any wolf documentary. Domesticated dogs do the same things with us in our households, especially when they first join a new home/pack. When a dog is first brought into our home, they are trying to understand our family/pack hierarchy and where they fit into the structure. When we allow dogs to own things – toys, food, whatever – we are allowing them to make decisions, be in control, and to be the leader. They can become protective and guard items they should not if this type of behavior is encouraged.

Examine each body part on your dog carefully every day. Each time you do this you are reinforcing that you own the dog and are looking out for its well-being security, and safety. You need to own your personal space as well. You do not go out into the world and allow people to jump on you or lick your face- neither should your dog, unless you invite it. You own your space with people; you need to own your space with your dog also consistently, and daily.

A good physical and mental exercise to establish and reinforce a dog owning nothing is by having your dog on leash and walking circles into your dog. When you are walking *into* your dog you are constantly taking space away from the dog. Where you walk, your dog should move out of your way. This is good manners, in dog body language. Most people are used to walking around or over their dogs. However, this feeds the idea that the dog might own that space. It shows good leadership to a dog when you nudge it gently out of the middle of the hallway so you can pass.

Instinctive Obedience® helps you master the dog, and teach them who owns who.