Free Dog Training Tips: Easy Steps to You Becoming Leader of the Pack

Free Dog Training Tips: Easy Steps to You Becoming Leader of the Pack

By ONeal Hendrix

[This article is the second in a 3-part series about changing dog behavior using positive dog training methods.]

Be a leader, a dog will follow.

From the last article, remember King and his dominant dog behavior? King was the leader of his pack — Mom, Dad, 2 kids. King set the rules in the house and didn’t hesitate to enforce them, with growling, posturing, biting and other scary dog behaviors.

In that article, I introduced 3 simple dog training steps to help you begin to take the leadership role back from your dominant and furry leader-of-the-pack.

Let’s look at another family, where Mom is the leader and Queenie is at the bottom of the pack hierarchy (where dogs should be) and her obedient dog behavior was praised and applauded by the whole family.

One day, Billy brought a dog home. The family decided to take her in and make her part of the family. They named her Queenie. Queenie was a terrier mix, feisty and pushy, with an inquisitive mind. Mom Jackie quickly began helping Queenie fit in with the family with positive dog training techniques. She taught Queenie where her sleeping places/beds were, how to make requests with a polite sit, how to communicate in a positive way, how good manners result in good things. Jackie patiently reinforced each good dog behavior until Queenie got it, and then she would review and reward to keep the good behaviors in place. Queenie quickly became a wonderful member of the family. Yes, she pushed and sought out trouble wherever she could, but Jackie was there to help redirect her and teach her new ways of using her curiosity in fun games and activities with her family. There was no concern about biting or bad dog behavior. Queenie and the rest of her pack were calm and happy.

If you want your household to be more like Queenie’s, here are a few more simple dog training suggestions to help you take back your leadership position and create an orderly and calm household. (Review article #1 for the first set of suggestions).

1. First, get their attention!

Begin all communication with your dog’s name first. “Blah, blah, blah Benji” gets their attention at Benji. “Benji! Come!” sets Benji up for success.

2. Leader first!

You, the leader, always go first through doorways, gateways, car doors, etc. The leader goes first and the dog follows. Praise, praise, praise for honoring the leader.

3. Be kind!

This is so, so important. Use a gentle voice for most things. When you need to use a more stern approach, that’s fine. Just remember, your dog is looking to you for direction and guidance. Give it calmly and lovingly and you will see the difference. Your dog will love you and want to be with you and please you.

4. Let’s play! — on MY terms.

Games and toys are great fun for dogs — and you. Begin and end games as a leader does. YOU are in control, not Skipper. End the game before he gets bored and leaves. Keep him wanting more.

5. Let’s EAT!

Being a leader means eating first at mealtime. If you typically eat at about the same time your dog eats, you eat first and then feed your dog. (This suggestions points to another strong recommendation – no running buffet!)

Don’t let Fifi run your household. No matter how large or small the dog, or how cute and cuddly, if you do not step into the leadership role, your dog will. Take leadership of your pack back and begin to change that bad dog behavior. You CAN have Queenie in your household. Just start putting these dog training suggestions in place and you’ll notice the difference right away.

Be the leader–your dog will love you for it and work hard to please you!

O’Neal Hendrix is a premier professional dog trainer in Atlanta, GA. For many years, she has “worked miracles” with dogs and their owners. Check out her dog training blog for her advice about everything dog!

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