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Leading the Pack

Posted by The SportDOG Staff

Spring time is upon us (at least that’s what the weather people are telling us) which often means new puppies to train. As you begin working with your new little hunting buddy, it’s important to remember that dogs are pack animals, and as such look for a leader. If it’s not you, it’s him and that’s going to make for a difficult training situation. As we’ve pointed out multiple times before, you should be training your dog, not the other way around. Establishing yourself as the alpha dog early on will help make for a smoother training experience. This doesn’t involve winning battles for food, conquering an enemy, or screaming “I AM ALPHA DOG” into your puppy’s face (but let us know how that goes if you choose to try those methods). Establishing yourself as alpha dog is a simple task if you stick to these guidelines:

Be Strong- Let’s face it, puppies are cute. The term “puppy-dog eyes” exists for a reason. They’re small, cute and all innocent looking. It can be very tempting to want to be soft on them at this stage, but that’s setting you up for failure later. Be solid whenever you are issuing a command to your puppy. That’s not to say to be mean, or scream, but use an authoritative tone and help you pup complete the desired action.

Involve Everyone- Your pup needs a consistent relationship with everyone in his family. All the good can be undone if he knows he can get away with certain inappropriate behaviors around different members of the family. Make sure your entire family understands the importance of training and communicating with your new addition. Sending mixed signals will confuse your dog and ultimately make training much more difficult.

Be Consistent- No matter how long the day has been, how tired you are or how much there is going on, consistently correct your dog for inappropriate behavior and reward her for good behavior. This sets the expectation that you are boss and good behavior will warrant positive results. If your dog is allowed to get away with misbehavior they will begin challenging your authority.

These 3 simple steps will help you and your dog establish a good working relationship to make training smoother.

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