Why Teaching Dog Boundaries Saves Money?

Often when you see a dog stealing food or simply spotting a dog stealing things, it can be funny. But it can also be a costly incident. Yep! There can be a price to that behavior. Does your dog know about boundaries? Or does your pup snoop into purses, bags, and wherever he or she likes? I taught my dog, Henry boundaries in his first training class. It’s been a big asset! Today, let’s dig in and discover how teaching your dog boundaries saves money.

These tricks are mostly for establishing indoor dog boundaries. However, you can translate boundary training outside.

teaching dog boundaries is easy and saves on vet bills
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

While it’s not difficult to teach your dog not to steal things and set boundaries, it does take practice and consistency. Those are free actions. Plus, teaching your dog boundaries can prevent a pricey furture vet bill. That’s a HUGE Win-Win for you, your dog, and your budget expenses.

Why does my dog steal things?

There could be many reasons a dog would venture into becoming a thief and steal things. They include:

Not sure how to play with your dog since he doesn’t like dog toys? In this article, I share how your dog really wants to play (and it’s easy). 

Think your dog is bored and not sure how to solve the issue? In this article, I provide easy ways to engage a bored dog. 

Why is setting boundaries for my dog important?

Yes, setting boundaries for your dog is actually very important. It helps your dog with:

  • Establishing good behavior
  • Easier socialization
  • Allows your dog more freedom
  • Builds trust with your dog
  • Saves you money (more on this at the end of this article)

Looking for more ways to bond with your dog? In this article, I share FREE ways that will help strengthen your relationship with your pup.

How can I set boundaries with my dog? And how do I stop my dog from stealing things?

1. Basic obedience training. 

This may not surprise you, but it all starts with basic training. It’s the foundation of everything else you will teach your dog.

If you think you can’t afford or simply don’t have the time to teach your dog basic obedience, then this article will help. I share how you can train your dog for free and on your time.

2. Remove triggers.

Of course, you don’t want to entice your dog. 

For example, I am often in meetings or visiting people, when I see a dog steal food from a plate or dive head-first into a purse placed on the floor. 

The easy solution here is to not entice your dog to steal by making things easily accessible. Thus, put your purse up out of your dog’s reach. 

Besides, the old Feng Shui protocol is that you never place a purse on the floor because it’ll drain the money. That’s a good enough reason. 

As for me, I generally place my purse on a dresser or counter until I put it away at home. 

However, for food, even though Henry is very good about not touching human plates, I don’t tempt him either. I feel that wouldn’t be nice. Heck, I wouldn’t like a warm homemade pretzel (yep, my trigger or weakness) placed in front of me and someone saying “Don’t touch” or “Stay!” That’s a bit mean. 

As such, I put my plate out of his reach. 

3. Teach boundaries.

How do I teach my dog boundaries?

Honestly, it’s not as difficult to teach a dog boundaries as it may seem. It simply takes practice.

I taught Henry about boundaries with food in the first class we took together. Or you can use other triggers such as dog toys, purses, or a person. (You will know your dog’s trigger(s) the best.) This is what we learned:

  1. Leash your dog
  2. Have your dog sit or even better lay down (which is a more relaxed position)
  3. Tell your dog to “stay”
  4. Place the trigger (for Henry it was a yummy training cookie) in front of your dog. You may need to say “stay” again or even reposition your dog. 
  5. Once your dog is settled with the trigger in front of him/her. Take several steps back. You may need to say “stay” once more.
  6. Remain in the extended position from your dog for a few seconds (work up to several minutes).
  7. If your dog remains in the sit or down position and doesn’t touch the trigger, then reward with a cookie and pet.
  8. Continue practicing by extending your steps you take and the time you make your dog “stay”. 
  9. Add distractions to challenge your dog such as someone walking by or a noise.

NOTE: The difference between “stay” and “wait” is that stay tells your dog to settle down and stay put until you return. Meanwhile, a wait command puts your dog on alert that while he’s in waiting you will give further commands.

Henry learned about dog boundaries about a month after I adopted him.
I taught Henry about dog boundaries about a month after I adopted him. Now, it’s easy for him to know even a property boundary.

Other things to know about dog boundary training

Keep in mind this may take several weeks of practice for your dog to master this boundary. 

You can also do this with a room you don’t want your dog to enter. Consider the entrance to the room the trigger, and proceed as described above. This will help you establish avoidance zones with your dog.

Also, if you work in a dog-friendly office these tricks will be very useful. 

Curious about how to take your dog to work? This article walks you through the process and what worked for Henry and me.

How does teaching boundaries to my dog save me money?

I admit, I love this part of my posts. Not saying that I don’t like the rest of it. But this part really helps bring everything together. I confess I’m a big numbers nerd. So, with that, consider the following possible expenses for a moment…

Laceration (think knives) $800-2,500
Intestinal blockage$2,000-10,000

Related articles:

Summary of Why Teaching Dog Boundaries Saves Money

While it may be cute or funny to see your dog dive into a purse or bag snooping around, it can actually be very costly. When a dog isn’t taught boundaries, then it sets the pup up for a lifetime of issues such as behavioral. However, when your dog learns there are boundaries in his/her world, you build more trust with your dog, ensure he/she’s safe from possible boundary injuries, and ultimately save you money from an emergency vet visit. Those are all good reasons to teach your dog boundaries. I know Henry is much better off for having learned about boundaries shortly after I adopted him. 

dog boundaries helps your dog and saves on vet costs

Have you taught your dog boundaries? Did you know it could save you money?

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

9 thoughts on “Why Teaching Dog Boundaries Saves Money?”

  1. It’s amazing how some lessons in training our pets to respect boundaries and others mirrors training children as humans. Well said; setting boundaries helps instill trust and behavior that requires discipline, which in turn makes for a happier home. Plus who knew setting boundaries saves you money too!

    • Yes, there is definitely a similarity between teaching your dog boundaries and teaching your kid boundaries (or right from wrong). Great analogy! And you’re right, it does make for a happier home. Thank you so much for your insights and continued support! I greatly appreciate it!

  2. Such a terrific article! You’re so right…it starts with training. With five Siberian Huskies, teaching them boundaries was so important! (Okay, and a lot of craziness and fun and mess when we were training the three puppies at once!) They learned so quickly, too, when consistent, that I was able to prepare their food, get out treats (including their love of ice cream) and they would all wait so patiently (verbal, but hey, that’s a Husky thing!) I could not imagine if they were all wild and crazy at those times! It also came in handy when hooking them all up to leashes and harnesses for walks. The budget savings is always so amazing to me. We don’t often think about how being proactive with our pets can save them anguish and us money in the long term. But wow…up to $10,000! And I know that is no exaggeration! Great tips as always! Sharing with my followers! Hope you and Henry have a lovely Christmas!

    • I think of training as the foundation and everything sprouts from that point.
      Oh I bet, your Five Sibes learned very quickly. They are so smart. Definitely critical to train all dogs, including the smart ones and stubborn ones.
      I love the cost savings segment as well. It really does kind of bring home my point.
      Thank you for your continued support! I hope you had a Merry Christmas as well, Dorothy!

  3. Great post and it so important to teach boundaries to your dog as your life is easier also, and what makes me angry is when people say he is just a dog after it has stolen food off the table or from your purse. I am blessed and have never had that problem with Layla but I watch others and cringe. Have shared of course for others to learn

    • Yes, you are absolutely correct, Ruth. It can be scary if your dog doesn’t know boundaries and steals or grabs something dangerous. Actually, it can be a pricey experience. I bet Layla is very good with boundaries. She’s a very sweet pup! Thank you for your continued support! I greatly appreciate it!

  4. People need to use boundaries and discipline. A dog can’t be allowed to run around stealing (and people thinking it’s funny when it’s not). I would be mad as heck!

    I did not think of poisoning! BUT if a dog doesn’t learn the ‘leave’ command or learn not to poke its nose it, it could swallow cosmetics, or someone’s medication and the expense could be huge!

    • Yes, a dog could easily grab medication or something sharp or ingest just about anything when he doesn’t know about boundaries. It really is a great thing to teach your pup.
      Thank you for your continued support and encouragement! I really appreciate it!

  5. So true! I look more at the safety aspect than the cost aspect, but both are important. My little one Jessie, is still learning boundaries. She recently stuck her head into my sister’s handbag when she visited us. I have to now tell everyone to keep purses Up and out of her reach. I try to be diligent about no tempting her, as her impulse control isn’t that great.


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