Show your dog whos the boss
Become the leader of your pack
In the wild, dogs live in packs, the same social structure as wolves. There is always one leader of the pack or ‘alpha male’. It is this leader who always has the best pick of the food, always is the first to mate with any females and is the dog who leads all the others. Dogs are happy with this social structure and those that are not the leader want and need to be led.
Your pet dog will naturally view you and your family as its pack as this social structure is deeply ingrained in the dogs most basic instincts. Your dog will therefore see himself as either the leader of the pack or as a follower, this will depend completely upon your actions towards your dog. In order to successfully train your dog you must let them know that you are the leader of the pack…. you are the boss, the ‘top dog’ or the leader and that is your dogs place to follow.
Most dogs in the pack don’t want to be the leader at all. It is much easier for them to be followers. They really want to be told what to do and where to go. They will welcome rules and conditions as it will make their place in your pack (family) more definite. If you don’t display certain leadership qualities towards your dog then they might feel that they have to assume the role of the ‘leader of the pack’ simply because there is a need for someone to be in charge.
It might have happened in your household that your dog has naturally assumed the position of leader of the pack. In this case you must become the leader in order to be able to train the dog efficiently. Being the leader of the pack does not imply harshness or punishment but simply consistency. This is something that all dogs like and even yearn for.
In training your dog you always should remember that you are the leader of your pack, not your dog.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you establish your role as leader of your pack.
– Whatever time your dog eats, it should always be after you. Let the dog see you dining, let the dog be aware that you are eating. Then after you have finished you can give the dog their dinner. This gain reinforces the pack mentality where the top dog feeds on the prey first, and then the other dogs are allowed to finish off what the main dog has not eaten.
This point is a very powerful one as it is one of the most defining qualities of a leader in the wild dog pack. Do not feed your dog before you eat simply so that the dog will not pester you to feed them whilst you are eating. In the wild the dogs that draw close to the leader as he is eating will be snapped at and maybe even attacked in a most ferocious way.
– Move your dog out of your way.
If your dog is lying in the way of where you want to walk, or on the couch or in front of your seat, don’t walk around them but nudge them out of the way and make them move for you. In the wild, the leader lies wherever he wants to. All the other dogs must walk around so as not to disturb him. If there is another dog in his way, that dog will get and move to let him past. In your household, you are the ‘top dog’ and should go where ever you want. Don’t step around or over your dog but make them move out of the your way. This once again will reinforce to the dog who is the leader and who is the follower.
– Always go through the door first. As the leader of the pack you should be first at everything. In a pack situation you will have to lead, lead through the door – If needs be you should push your dog out of the way to remind him that you are the leader and you go firs. After a relatively short time your dog will not even think of going through a door before you.
– Don’t let your dog sleep on your bed.
The dog should have his own space, it may be near your bed if you wish but having the dog sleep on your be at best put them at an equal with you. If the dog takes the dominant role then they will be constantly trying to push you out of bed so that you sleep on the floor. Obliging them to sleep in their own space will help establish your position as leader of the pack.
– Pet your dog and play with them when you want to not when they ask for it.
Asking for attention is a well known trait of top dogs. If your dog starts demanding attention just ignore them. When you are ready to play or to give them attention then get them or play with them on your terms not theirs and never run after your dog to pet them, always make them come to you to be petted.
The little tips given here should be used to reinforce you position as alpha dog in your own personal pack (your household). This will make your dog happier as your dog will be aware of the boundaries and limitations that your are setting, and it will relieve the dog of the ‘chore’ of having to act as a leader. Dogs really do prefer being told what to do and thrive on acting within clearly set boundaries. This will facilitate the training of your dog no end.