Steps to Establishing Your Role as Alpha
It’s basically a waste of time to try to train a dog without first establishing yourselves as alpha to the dog. If you have had your dog sometime, you may need to make very big changes in YOUR habits in order to accomplish this. Every dog needs a leader to listen to and adore. Without this leader, a dog will feel lost and unstructured. Here are some steps to establishing your role as the alpha. Notice that these involve both behavior and body language – two types of communication that your dog will understand.
1. Always praise your dog as if you own it. Put your hands firmly on the dog. Pat him so that your hands get warm from the contact. Do not praise him in a timid way. Pet your dog in a loving but dominant way – run your hand from the top of your dogs’ head all the way down his back – one smooth soothing motion. In dog talk, you are saying “I love you, but I own you”.
2. Praise warmly, well and quickly. Do not drag out your praise or fawn over the dog just because he did one command. He doesn’t expect it and will not understand what the excessive praise is for !
3. Reprimand fairly and quickly, then forgive. Don’t hold a grudge. When you put your hands on your dog, do it with confidence and authority. Hands on does NOT mean hitting. Hands on may mean a collar shake, a leash correction, or an abrupt assist into a sit or down. Do it quickly and with authority. Then when you’ve made the dog do exactly what you want – once – give him a pet.
4. Make the dog obey on the first command. Don’t get into the habit of repeating yourself. A dog’s hearing is significantly better than yours, and you can bet he heard you the first time. If you repeat commands, it’s equivalent to nagging, also you are training your dog to ignore you!
It goes like this : “sit, sit, sit,
… SIT ! ” Your dog is thinking, “well, when do I have to sit, the first time you say it or the seventh time you say it, or… do I have to do it at all?”
5. Never give a command you cannot enforce! If your dog is interested in something, lets say across the yard and you say come, and cannot back it up, you are lowering your status and teaching your dog that is ok to ignore you.
More to Come…