Changing the Rules

I've changed the rules at my house. I've done something that I never thought I would do. I've decided that I no longer want to share my bed with four dogs.

I've also decided that the cats in my house need some space that belongs to just them. For the past three days I have had a baby gate at the end of the hall leading to my bedroom. When I go to bed I leave my dogs in the living room where they have their choice of furniture or dog beds. There has been some confusion and even some complaining, but everyone is adjusting.

I've also converted the spare bedroom (which is bed-less) into a cat sanctuary. There are scratching posts, kitty condos, a litter box and food. The cat room is also beyond the baby gate, therefore beyond the reach of any dogs. This was inspired by my newly adopted dog who hasn't yet figured out the rules about dealing with cats.

This all got me thinking about the rightness and wrongness of household pet rules. It seems to me that the rules for pets in any home are as individual as the rules for children or spouses. In my home, my husband does all the shopping and cooking. I work, he stays home to care for the farm. My children were allowed to swear, but they weren't allowed to holler for someone from another room.

As long as our pets are well loved, well cared for and living enriched, happy lives, the general household rules can be as different as our home decor. There is no more right way to structure those rules than there is a right way to organize your kitchen. We all have to do what works for us.

I know people who LOVE, I mean seriously LOVE it when their dog jumps up on them. They wouldn't dream of training their dog to sit for greetings. I know people who don't mind if their dog pulls on leash. Some of us don't allow dogs on the furniture. Others of us, like myself, can't watch TV or a movie without at least on dog next to us. I'm wondering how many of us have arranged our pet rules to fit what we think is right.

What are your rules? Are they any you would like to change? Why haven't you?