Does your dog jump on guests, climb on the furniture, or whimper under the kitchen table for scraps? Plenty of dogs exhibit these behaviors and the good news is that they’re generally easy to fix.

Setting boundaries with your dog is a key part of developing a well-behaved dog. Dogs are a lot like toddlers, they will test you to see what behavior is and isn’t acceptable. It’s your job as the owner to set clear and understandable guidelines that reinforce obedience and safety.

To build healthy boundaries with your dog, use these tips:

Leash inside the home
It may seem weird to have your dog on a leash inside the house, but this simple step yields tremendous results. First, only leash a dog when he is supervised – there are safety risks of keeping them leashed when not under supervision.

By wearing a leash in the house, you can quickly correct unwanted behavior. This is especially useful for dogs that charge the door/guests and do a lot of jumping. A quick, sharp (but gentle) correction on the leash can redirect his behavior and establish you as the dominant “pack leader”.  It’s also convenient for quickly relocating the dog to a safe without any added struggle.

Use your body and space
Dogs use their bodies to say a lot of things. We can take their cue and do the same. Use your body to manipulate space. For example, cut off your dog when he runs for the door or find ways to block him from sitting under the table to bed.

Similarly, space is your friend – in all sorts of ways. A dog should not enter your personal space without being invited. If he does, use your body to push into his space and back him up several feet then move back to your original position. Repeat this as many times as necessary until he remains at a further distance. This allows you both to have a safe comfort zone.

Practice consistency
Setting boundaries is just like obedience and trick training. It requires practice with plenty of repetition and without consistency, it all falls apart. Be prepared to work on boundary setting daily for at least two 15-minute sessions.

If you are struggling with the process, reach out to a trainer. Professionals are well-versed in establishing limits with dogs and can offer a variety of methods tailored to your dog.

Though it may be draining at times, your dog will learn and be much better off for it. Plus, guests will love not being bombarded at the door and the bond you have with your dog will only strengthen.