Become The Alpha In Your Pack

In order to eliminate bad behavior and make sure your dog always listens to you, as well as putting an end to embarrassing incidents in front of your friends, the best thing you can do is to make yourself the leader of your “Pack.”

For lots of dog owners, however, this is hard to do.  It means they have to be firm and that their dog understands the owner is in charge at all times.  If you’re one of those big, soft-hearted people who finds this hard to do or if you don’t know how to become the Alpha leader in your home, here are some tips you can follow.

*Give Correct Praise.

There are right and wrong ways to praise your dog.  Praising your dog the right way means placing your hands firmly on your dog, giving him a hug, putting your hands on your dog firmly and keeping them there.  Don’t be stingy with your praise.

When you touch your dog you should do so firmly so your dog knows that you’re in charge.  But you should never use physical contact to punish or hit your dog. In addition, don’t draw out the praise.  Give your dog praise, be affectionate and then stop.

*Give Correct Reprimands.

When your dog does the wrong thing you should not hit him or shout at him over and over.  This is confusing to your dog and it can cause fear issues that can lead to even worse problems with aggression.

Use gestures that are calm and assertive, instead.  You can take hold of the leash and give a correction, with a firm verbal correction. Be fast and authoritative.  Show your dog you are in control of their movements.  This works very well.

*Only Give A Command You Can Enforce.

If your dog is some distance away from you, such as 200 feet, there’s nothing to prevent him from doing what he wants to do.  Only give a command that you can enforce as the pack leader.

Once you have set up your position as leader this will be easier to do but in the beginning you need to be close to your dog to adjust his behaviors if he decides he doesn’t want to do what you ask.

*Boundaries and Permission.

Just like your children, dogs have to have boundaries about where they can go and when.  If you make the sofa off limits or the kitchen, you need to make sure the dog can’t change his behavior at will.

It’s important that your dog should always seek permission from you before he tries to change his boundaries.  If you want your dog to stay on the floor this doesn’t mean he can’t ever get on the sofa.  It means your dog has to have your permission before he can get off the floor and get on the sofa.

*The Long Sit-Stay.

One of the basic obedience commands your dog must learn is the “sit-stay.”  This command is considered very dominant.  If your dog is very dominant or aggressive you should give them this command to make them lie down and stay in position.  The longer you make your dog stay in this position, the more you are asserting your leadership role.

*Be Dignified and Consistent.

Dogs mirror their owners’ personalities.  If you lose your temper easily, give in on commands sometimes and are inconsistent with your commands, your dog will also be erratic.

You must be consistent with the commands you give to your dog and in how you follow through on them.  This is the only way your dog will respect what you require of him.

Dogs are very smart, adaptable animals.  This has allowed them to survive in the wild.  However, unless you teach your dog to follow your commands and respect you, he will think of himself as the alpha in the pack and your work will be useless.

Take time, teach your dog the chain of command and be consistent about enforcing it.  Very quickly you should find that your dog is behaving better than you ever imagined possible.

Mark Mansfield

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