Over Structured?

brenda taulbee

New Member
Hello all! I just had a quick rant to throw down...

So recently my in-laws have been puppy-sitting Kenzii while we work three nights a week. Kenz is about 8 months old now and the only reactive dog I've ever owned, but we've been trying to work through her issues, and as far as I'm concerned she's drastically improved. She's stopped barking at everything that moves, saving her outbursts for the obviously scary things, like cardboard boxes and men with beards.

So I was a bit taken aback when I went to pick up the baby a few nights back and as soon as I walked through the door my mother-in-law was hurling accusations at me. She's saying that Kenzii has all this pent-up stress because her schedule is "over regimented" and her outbursts are a rebellion against her "structured and sheltered life".

Now, we live in Missoula Montana, which is known for its wide selection of hiking trails and recreational areas, so we rarely visit the same hike site twice. Kenzii is constantly being exposed to new scenery, new people and new dogs. We frequently visit the local Bark Park and she comes to the campus with me several times a week. Really the only structured, routine thing in her life is feeding times. And I suppose the fact that she's not allowed on furniture is over regimenting...

Sorry, guys. Not sure what I was trying to accomplish with this post other than to let off a little steam. Thanks for reading, anyone who made it through!


Experienced Member
I hear the rant and sympathize. One thing to consider--most of the time when people come up with things like that it's really about something else but that's a safer place for them to go. Like people with control issues fighting about money. Money is much less emotional and seemingly safer. I don't know if that helps but sometimes it helps me when I get lambasted like that to think it's probably not really about me but that was available at the time. Maybe your MIL feels to regimented herself??

Anyway I don't know if that helps or you'd rather just rant and get it out. Either way, you know your dog. You're doing right by her it sounds like. Working through reactive issues is difficult, that you made progress is monumental. Most people don't.

And MIL's, sigh!


Experienced Member
Your dog would be the first I know of that suffers from too much regime and structure. It is commonly accepted thinking that dogs thrive on the security of a patterened and structured regime.

In fact, I would readily argue that far more problems arise when a dog has little to no structure to its life. Dogs like to know what is coming, and what the boundaries are, in my view. It's far less fair to keep changing the boundaries and having the dog guessing when things are going to happen. One day it can sit on the furniture, the next day it can't. That is unfair. One day, it gets fed in the morning, the next day it has to wait until night. That is unfair. Etc. Etc.