Being the Boss

  1. Go through doors and passage ways before your dog. Practice stay and wait. Rite of passage is important to dogs, and the alpha has the right first.

  2. Eat first--then feed your dog.

  3. If your dog is blocking your path, make him move out of your way--do not go around or step over him. Subordinate animals move for the alpha ALWAYS.

  4. Call your dog to you for petting and attention. Don't go to him. Pet your dog only after they have worked for you. Exercise, dicipline and THEN affection.

  5. When coming home,if your dog does not come to greet you, ignore him. If you go running to your dog then you are treating him as the pack leader.

  6. When you play with your dog, be sure that you end up with possession of the toy, and then put it up.

  7. Don't allow your dog to sleep on the bed with you. At best you are making him equal with you. (Of course, we all let up on this one after our alphaness is firmly established.)

  8. Practice trust/dominance exercises. Gently put your dog down on his side or back and touch his ears, paws, etc. and give him a massage to make it all pleasant for him. Offer treats if he doesn't want his paws touched while you are touching his paws. (This helps later when you have to trim the toe nails.)

  9. Be your dogs leader. Prove to him that he can trust you in all situations, and that you will provide for his every need. Be consistent in enforcing all rules of the house. Establish regular routines that he can depend on.

  10. Practice "doggy" discipline, that is when your dog engages in undesirable behavior, discipline him in a way that he understands. Give him a scruff shake and a grunt or growl along with leash correction if possible. Low voice for correction always. No excitement from you allowed! You must catch him in the act for discipline to be effective, however, or he won't understand for what he is being corrected. Watch body language carefully, as the instant BEFORE the undesired behavior starts (level one) is the time to correct. If they have gotten out of hand (barking, lunging, growling, stealing etc) you are too late.

  11. Practice taking objects from him, toys, food, etc. Then give back the object back to him. Get him used to your hands around his food bowl. Use your body to slowly take over the space the food bowl is in. Your dog should move away with your presense. REWARD this behavior!

  12. MOST IMPORTANT is the walk! Dog should walk next to you or behind you. No sniffing, no barking, relieving themselves, unless YOU decide it’s ok! Use simply leash correction to pratice the walk. Always have a loose lead. No matter what tool you use, (choke collar, buckle collar, gentle leader, prong collar) it’s QUICK correction and immediate loose lead. Nothing speaks to your dog’s instinct like migrating with the pack. If you lead the way, he will naturally follow and LOVE you for it. Brisk pace always, minimum 45 minutes per day! Some folks use the dog park for exercise and we think this is great, AFTER the walk. You can almost never exercise a healthy dog too much.

Written by Melissa Smith