Draco and rules

Like the plumber who does great work on site but fails miserably to maintain his home's waterworks, I am often critisized for being the animal trainer at work who has badly behaved animals at home.   I have some justification here:-)
Draco is a very bright dog.  One of five dogs with whom we share our home.  He is enormously agile and jumps over gates and fences to get where he wants to go.  He also fits in very well to the social hierachy of people and dogs.  He is not the dominant dog, yet he has aligned himself perfectly with her, so does not end up at the mercy of any of the pack.  Draco taught me that it is much better when you are sharing a space with others to come to a working plan for everyone, rather than spend your life trying to control the situation.  That is work.  Rather have some ground rules that enable an effective living arrangement.  Forst question.  Why do we have dogs?  Because we love their company.  On this premose we build our relationship.

I considered training my dogs formally, and have taught them a few tricks.  With regard to their general management, however, we have reached some common ground which works for all of us.  I understand natural dog behavior which has enabled me to keep some semblance of order that works for me - and yes, this does not always work for my guests.  Will explain shortly.
The basic rules which we humans in our family apply are as follows
-don't ask the dogs to do something unless you are prepared to insist that they listen.  Empty asking creates bad manners. 
-we are the leaders in the home.  We always enter through doorways first.  When we ask you to move of a chair in which we wish to sit, you will listen.
-if the dogs create a barking fuss or rush out of the gate or get involved in an altercation, we will not raise our voices and charge around joining in the "frenzied party".  We will remain the leaders and calmly take charge of the situation.

These rules are in place to keep the dogs feeling secure in relationship with us.  So they know their "place". So they know they are looked after.  They are not their for domination purposes.

But yes, if you visit, you will experience them as unruly.  Because they are allowed on the couches.  They have free rein of the house.  They sleep on our beds cuddled up to us.  They are as much at home in our home as we are.  So if you are going to visit, come prepared.  don't wear white.  They will want to say hello and this will entail a muddy or dusty snout sniffing your legs.  When you are in our lounge, they will want to be a part of the conversation so will probably hop onto your lap at some point and ask for an ear rub.  And if you are staying overnight, be prepared for a cold snout to lift your duvet and snuggle up to you.

We don't really like the word 'pet'.  We prefer - 'family member' or at the very least, 'friend'.  And it is their home too that you will be visiting.  Also shared with some cats, horses, geese, ducks and a pig.


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