Is Your Dog a Rule Follower or a Rebel?


Mr. N is a dog that likes being good. I swear he preens when another dog is being “bad” and he is
“good.” If one of his friends has to go back on leash and he is still off-leash, he prances about expressively and flouts his freedom.
He very rarely loses his off-leash privileges but I had to leash him one time on the beach because he was obsessed with trying to play with this one dog on a flexi-leash. After he disregarded his second warning, he went on the leash. After a decent amount of distance away from the dog, I un-leashed him. He kept looking back at me and checking to see if it was OK to walk ahead. He does not enjoy being “bad.”
I think part of it is he likes law and order and the other part that he is a total mama’s boy and wants to stay in my good graces. This isn’t to say he is never naughty but he does try very hard to be good.
When canine visitors enter our kitchen, he disapproves. He is not allowed in there unless expressly invited. Β Even if other dogs are in the kitchen looking for crumbs or sniffing the treat bin, he never joins them. If I drop a treat by mistake, he’ll wait to see if I really meant to give it to him.
He also believes that good behavior should be rewarded and appropriately. Sometimes after reactivity training (which is probably the hardest for him), we’ll pass by a dog and I’ll dole out a treat for not reacting. And he’ll look at me as if to say, that was really, really hard. That dog was talking smack about me and I didn’t even say anything back! I think I deserve more treats. Most of the time, I’ll agree with him and treat him to his satisfaction.
Whereas our foster pup could care less about human approval or rules if it conflicted with what he wanted. He was always trying to sneak into the kitchen. And he stole food out of Mr. N’s mouth. Literally. Mr. N was aghast at his behavior and would run and tattle. We used to call them Goofus and Gallant.
Is your dog a rule follower or a rebel?
Mr. N says he has done his part. Treat now please?




25 Responses

  1. Lauren Miller

    October 19, 2015 8:12 am

    LOL! You've met my dogs, right? I think it goes without saying they are naughty. πŸ˜€ They try to be good but… squirrels, rabbits, moles galore! The girls are very similar to Mr. N in that they think that canine guests should behave themselves and also that rewards should be given promptly, though! πŸ˜€

  2. Kelsie McKenzie

    October 19, 2015 5:36 pm

    This is such a cute post! I have one of each; Mauja is a rebel and Atka is a rule-follower. I think Atka's behavior is partly due to him being a mama's boy as well πŸ˜‰

  3. Jackie Bouchard

    October 19, 2015 10:28 pm

    Mr. N is Gallant indeed! So cute. Rita is the first dog I've had who seemed to really care about pleasing us and being a rule follower, which she mostly is. Our first two dogs couldn't have seemed to care any less whether I was happy or annoyed with them! Of course, the first one was a beagle, so that's probably the answer there!

  4. Kari Neumeyer

    October 19, 2015 11:03 pm

    I think of Leo as a rebel and Mia as the good one, but I think the truth is, she's pretty shifty. Leo gets compliments every time we go to the vet. Recently we were told that he is one of the nicest German shepherds the vet has ever met.

  5. Elizabeth Keene

    October 20, 2015 2:17 am

    I had a hard time concentrating on this post because of that picture of Mr. N. πŸ™‚ Oh. My. Gosh! He is so cute! And so GOOD, too!
    NO, my dogs do not care if they are "bad." I mean, they DO listen sometimes, but if another dog went rogue in their presence, they'd toss me to the curb. I still love them, though.

  6. Emma

    October 20, 2015 9:40 pm

    Mr. N is a good boy. At our house no one is a real rule follower, including Mom. She is a firm believer in "rules were made to be broken" and she holds to that herself. My sisters and I are all independent breeds, so we like to please ourselves. We are all obedient enough, but there is a lot of slacking, and Mom kind of likes it that way. She says always being obedient would be way too boring and no challenge for her.

  7. Janet Keefe

    October 20, 2015 10:14 pm

    Luke wants to be a rule follower, but if his sisters do something he knows he's not supposed to, he'll sometimes follow them. He also has certain things that he's a total rebel about…like eating poop in the yard when I'm yelling "leave it". I'd say our beagle Cricket is the biggest rebel of all of them though…she has that hound dog independent streak like Emma and her siblings!
    Jan, Wag n Woof Pets

  8. Beth

    October 21, 2015 12:54 am

    I always joke that Barley's full name is Barley the Enforcer. She is all about making sure everyone follows the rules, from her kitty brother to other dogs. If Soth tries to scratch the furniture, she chases him away. If another dog runs wild in class, she gets very anxious (although she doesn't mind being the one to run wild). If other dogs bark in class, she looks at them like "What is your problem? You should be paying attention"–but if I'm not quick enough to reward her for not reacting to the barking, she'll let out a quick bark, too–she's totally with Mr. N on hard things being deserving of lots of snacks. She doesn't understand why other dogs we walk with don't heel nicely beside their people and she will break her heel to try to herd them back where they belong. In Barley's world, rules are meant to be followed unless she's the one trying to break them.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.