How to Set Boundaries for Dogs

Boundaries will help your dog adjust to his new home.
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Dogs can bring great joy and a sense of companionship into your life. Animals who are trained and learn their boundaries early in life become well-adjusted members of the household because they understand their owners’ expectations. For best results, train a puppy or a rescue dog as soon as he enters your home and correct inappropriate behaviors before they become regular hard-to-break habits.

Prepare your home before bringing a new dog into it. If you have had pets previously, steam clean carpets and clean furniture surfaces and disinfect them to remove all traces of a previous pet’s scent. This will help eliminate territorial marking by the new dog.

Install a safety fence if you will allow your dog to be in your yard. This can be a dog-proof picket fence or chain-link fence. Regardless of which method of containment you choose, make sure it is installed and in good working order before your pet arrives at your home. This will help you begin your boundary training from day one.

Leash your dog during his initial introduction to your home. This will help the dog feel secure and will help him begin to understand boundaries.

Walk your dog around his new home and introduce him to his new environment. Take the dog through areas of the home he will be allowed to go into, and walk him around the perimeter of outside areas or fenced areas in which he can play.

Block off inaccessible areas. If you do not want your dog to go into specific rooms, initially block them off with baby gates or other suitable barriers.

Guide your dog gently away from areas he is not allowed to enter and praise him and reward him when he avoids these areas on his own. Firmly say "no" and hold the leash firmly when the dog enters a restricted area.

Apply the same approach to setting boundaries when it comes to furniture in your home. For example, if a dog is not allowed on your couch or bed, never place him on this furniture or allow other family members to do so. If the dog jumps onto either of these surfaces, gently guide him off by his leash, firmly say "no," and redirect him to his own area, such as a floor mat or dog bed.

Use a spray bottle and a firm voice to reinforce your boundaries once your dog is accustomed to his surroundings and is off-leash while in the house. Crate or contain your pup to a small area when you are away from the house. This will allow you to fully establish boundaries.


  • Use gentleness and kindness in setting boundaries and don't yell, scare or hit your pet in the process.


  • Use gentleness and kindness in setting boundaries and don't yell, scare or hit your pet in the process.

Items You Will Need

  • Leash
  • Crate
  • Dog fence