Pack Leadership Do’s and Don’ts
Want to be the leader of your pack?
Follow these simple rules.
- Eat before you feed your dog.
- Restrict access to your bedrooms and furniture.
- Take the shortest route to your destination and make your dog move out of the way.
- Proceed first through narrow passages.
- Run the opposite direction if your dog “takes off” on a walk.
- Take your dog’s “kills” (stolen articles or food) away.
- Call your dog to you to give affection.
- Ignore or discourage pawing, nudging, and whining.
- Ignore your dog first thing in the morning, when you get home, or when you come in.
- Restrict your dog’s movements with the “long down” exercise.
- Initiate games with your dog, make sure you win them and end up with possession of the toy.
- Reward your dog for completing an exercise well.
- Feed your dog first.
- Let your dog sleep in or on your bed.
- Let your dog restrict your access to anything in the house or take up residence in a doorway.
- Let your dog bound out ahead of you.
- Chase your dog yelling “Come!”
- Allow your dog to keep or play with the “kill.”
- Go over to your dog to give affection.
- Give attention when your dog demands it.
- Make a large fuss over your dog whenever he demands that you do so.
- Give more than one command, or give up.
- Play games, especially tug of war, if you can’t win, or give the toy to your dog after the game is over.
- Give any command if you are not prepared to enforce it.
From: Cranbourne Dog Training School
The Pack Leader’s Bill of Rights
As pack leader, these are your rights. Giving these rights away to your dog sends the wrong message, and if you have an assertive dog, it can set the stage for behavior and obedience problems.
The pack leader’s rights are as follows:
- To eat first, gorge themselves, and own any pickings left over.
- To stand, sit, or lie down where ever they want – when ever they want.
- To have access to the “prime” spots in the household.
- To control entry to and from any room in the house.
- To proceed through all narrow openings first.
- To initiate the hunt, and dictate where to hunt.
- To make the kill at the end of the hunt.
- To demand attention from subordinate pack members.
- To ignore or actively discourage unwanted attention.
- To restrict the movements of lesser ranking pack members.
- To win all games.
From: CranbourneDog Training School
How to handle your bossy, dominant, or aggressive puppy.
It is important to develop a good relationship with your puppy based on mutual trust and respect. The following techniques will help to foster this relationship. Different techniques should be used if your dog is older than 6 months.
Establish trust and a desire to please.
- Take long walks with your puppy (on leash).
- Spend 10 minutes every day brushing (grooming) your puppy.
- Attach your puppy’s leash to your waist and make your puppy go with you every where you go when you are home.
- If someone else is regularly feeding your puppy, assume that responsibility yourself.
- All the good things that happen to your puppy should come from you – not forever – but for now.
Establish respect and a willingness to obey using dominance techniques.
- Displace your puppy from a resting place.
- Restrain your puppy for a few minutes.
- Place hands and arms over your puppy’s neck and back, and exert pressure.
- Hold your puppy’s muzzle closed for a few minutes.
- Stare at your puppy until your puppy looks away.
- Pick up your puppy, either partially or completely.
- Push your puppy over on his side and hold him there.
- Roll your puppy over on his back.
Lots of praise when your puppy cooperates. Firm persistence if your puppy resists.
Assert your leadership in a firm and friendly way.
- Reward and/or praise submissive behavior.
- Hold training sessions several times a week.
- Always insist that your puppy obey all the rules.
- Make your puppy earn affection, food, and freedom.
- Firmly correct dominant and/or bossy behavior.
- Wild and unruly behavior is rewarded with a prolonged time-out.
Learn to recognize and discourage dominant body language:
- Tall stiff stance
- Tail held high
- Flagging, or wagging tail in a taut stiff way.
- Ears up and forward.
- Growling, snarling, etc.
- Direct stare.
- Paws on or over person.
- Standing over someone or something.
Pack leaders are aloof, they are calm, and they are self confident.
- Attention should be earned.
- Too much attention and coddling will give your puppy an inflated opinion of his place in the family.
- Everything you do with your puppy should radiate confidence and serenity.
- The pack leader is a fair dictator who enforces a well defined set of rules that members know, understand and are expected to live by.
Read and adhere to the Pack Leader’s Bill of Rights. Remember, you are the pack leader, not your puppy!
Written by: Shirley Gibson
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