5 Surefire Ways to Show Your Dog You’re The BossWritten by Charlie Lafave
Do you have problems at your house with who’s in charge? By that I mean, does your dog think he’s boss? In your effort to form a stronger bond with your dog you may have inadvertently told him he’s Leader of Pack. Here are 5 simple and effective ways to correct that.
You Must Be The Alpha Dog First, let’s take a look at what a “pack mentality” means. Dogs are born into packs – in wild, packs are essential social order. Unlike humans, who use a variety of political processes to determine leadership and rank, dogs sort out their social order by dominance and power. In a wolf pack, there is a Top Dog – a clear leader who is dominant, Alpha male. He’s Big Dog, with pride of place at dinner table (well, if wolves had a dinner table!), first in mating, first in decision making for pack. Whether you realize it or not, your dog views your household as his own personal wolf pack. The pack mentality is so engrained in your dog’s psyche that he will either view you as a leader - or a follower - depending on your actions. If you are to have a well-trained dog, you must establish that you are leader, and he is follower. Your dog has to know in his heart that you are Alpha Dog, Head Honcho, Big Dog, Top Dog – call it whatever you want, but your dog needs to know you’re in charge. Dogs are a little like children in one respect – they’re looking for someone else to be leader – they want rules and regulations because that makes their role in pack more clear-cut and understandable. It’s scary being leader – if you’re not up to it, your dog may assume role – because someone has to be in charge! If that’s what’s happened at your house, you need to re-establish your position as Top Dog, or “Leader of Pack.” But here’s an important note: being leader of pack has absolutely nothing to do with harsh punishment. It has everything to do with consistency and setting limits. A simple rule to remember (and one people have great difficulty keeping in mind) is that you are leader, not your dog.
1. You Go Through The Door First Even something as straightforward as who walks through door first can reinforce your position as “dominant dog.” Leaders lead. Followers follow. If you allow your dog to charge through door ahead of you, he perceives that as asserting his dominance over you. Put your dog on leash, and make sure you’re first one through door.
2. You Eat Before Your Dog Who gets fed first in your house – you or your dog? In a wolf pack, leader eats first, and when he is done, rest of pack can dine. Do you feed your dog first because he pesters you when you’re cooking your dinner, and it’s simply more convenient to have him quiet and out of way when you’re eating? Food is a powerful motivator that can be used to clearly demonstrate who is ruler of roost at your house. In no way, shape or form am I suggesting that you withhold food from your dog – that’s cruel and unusual punishment any way you look at it. What I am suggesting is that you control timing of food – you should eat first, your dog second, after you’re done with your meal.
Why Your Puppy Nips - And 5 Ways To Get Him To StopWritten by Adam G. Katz
Here’s a news flash – puppies nip! Okay, I guess you already knew that. But here’s surprise – you may actually be encouraging your puppy to nip. Let’s talk about how to stop this behaviour before it grows up to be an adult-sized dog problem. Puppies are a lot like babies – they use their mouths in part to explore their world. Little kids are forever sticking things in their mouth – from your favourite house plant to bar of soap in tub. That’s one of ways they experience taste and texture, and figure out what’s good and what’s not. It’s all about experimentation. Puppies are same. They want to see just how soft your finger is, or what that leash tastes like. In addition, biting or nipping is an important part of learning social skills in their “wolf” pack – social structure that makes up your dog’s life. And with some breeds, such as Border Collies, biting or nipping is even more instinctive because of nature of breed – they’re born and bred to herd livestock, and that’s how a 50 or 60 pound dog will control a 1,000 pound cow – by biting at heels or nose. If your dog was allowed to remain with mom and his littermates for an appropriate amount of time (until at least 8 weeks of age), then mom should have taught him beginnings of bite inhibition. As pups began to grow and develop those needle-sharp little puppy teeth, mom would have disciplined him for being too rough, either with her or his littermates. Junior soon learns that all play will stop and he’ll get smacked down by mom if he gets carried away. But when you get that puppy home, and he becomes part of family, you may be encouraging him to nip by letting kids run away from him, squealing and giggling in an effort to play “chase” games. While this is cute at beginning, it can soon turn into a full-fledged problem when he’s no longer such a small, cute puppy, and views any child running away as fair game. You can also encourage this kind of bad behaviour by teasing him with toys – holding them just above his head and yanking them out of range when he jumps for toy or nips at it. (This also encourages another bad habit: jumping.)
Here’s 5 things you can do to stop your puppy from nipping.
1. When your puppy does nip – stop all play If your puppy nips too hard, say “Ouch!” in a loud-enough voice to surprise him (don’t start off by screaming!) and stop all play. Turn your back on him, and refuse to continue game. He should come around to face you and find out what’s wrong – tell him “bad dog – no bite” in a firm tone of voice. Do this every time he nips until he gets idea that nipping means no more fun.