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Dogs are animals, not human beings. They are pack animals by nature. Every pack has a leader, known as the alpha animal, who dominates and leads the other members of the pack. The alpha is the boss who makes decisions for the entire pack. Usually the pack will have an alpha male and an alpha female. All the other members of the pack form a hierarchy of dominance and submission where everyone has a place.
In the wild, the alpha dog is the dog who has established itself as the leader of the pack by controlling the behavior of the other dogs. When you have a dog for a pet, it is important that you let your dog know that you are the alpha dog so that it will listen to you and respect you. The only way to do this is by training your dog.
In your home, you and your family become your dog's pack, as do any other dogs you may have. It is your responsibility to establish yourself in the alpha position. If you fail to do this, your dog will do it as a natural behavior. Many people assume that they are automatically in charge just because humans are superior to animals. But are you really the pack leader? Does your dog know it?
Being the pack leader does not mean you have to be big and aggressive. Nor does it mean that there has to be a battle of wills after which you are the victor. Anyone can be the pack leader. It is an attitude an air of authority. It is the basis for mutual respect, and provides the building blocks of communication between the two of you.
Puppy training basics during the first week the puppy is home is critical. It is obvious that you need certain physical items such as a dog bed or crate, food and water bowls, puppy chow, collar, lead, toys, etc. Equally as important, all family members must decide and agree on routine, responsibility and rules
The first few days are extremely important. Enthusiasm and emotions are up. Everyone wants to feed the puppy, play with the puppy and hold the puppy. Pre-established rules are easily broken. Everyone agreed that puppy will sleep in her crate but as soon as she's home, someone melts and insists that puppy will sleep in bed. Everyone previously agreed not to let puppy jump up on them, but in the excitement, no one even notices that puppy is jumping up. No one sleeps the first night. Puppy wins and gets to sleep in bed. The next morning we find puppy has eliminated all over the bed. So the following night puppy is banned to her crate and screams all night. No one sleeps tonight either.
Establish a routine. In the wild, the leader of the pack shows the other dogs when they should do things. To establish yourself as the alpha dog, you have to be the one who tells your dog when it should eat, sleep and play.
Teach your dog basic commands. Training your dog to perform commands shows it that you are in charge. These basic commands, such as sit, come and stay will also help your dog to be a good steward for its breed.
Maintain control during feedings. Make your dog sit and wait for you to tell it to eat. The pack leader in the wild always eats first. Out of respect, the other dogs have to eat the left overs. When you feed your dog, it should sit while you put the food in the dish and wait until you say that it is okay for the dog to eat.
Play follow the leader. Always make your dog follow you. Make sure that you are the first to go through the door. Also, when you walk your dog, it should be on the side of you with only its nose in front of your knee.
A well trained dog is a happy dog!
Child's first dog? New puppy in the house? Or perhaps you are thinking about entering competitions. There are many reasons dog owners seek professional advice,