Who’s the Pack Leader in Your House?
You or Your Dog?
He barks and scratches at the door, you make eye contact and let him in.
He jumps on the bed, and you move over!
5 pm and he is wanting to know why you aren’t preparing his dinner!
6 am he is barking and cavorting at the front door waiting to go for a walk!
Lifting his leg on furniture and furnishings is ongoing.
No respect, your dog is the ‘pack leader’. Aggression and possibly re-homing will follow.
Your dog, is calling the shots, he dictates what and when things happen in your home.
Take the leadership back by controlling the resources that are important to him. Attention, food, play and exercise. Think of it as tough love, you MUST re-establish yourself as ‘pack leader’.
Message to our Puppy clients, don’t allow these behaviours to creep in, use positive reinforcement for good behaviour, address negative behaviours with a verbal no or a ‘prod’.
If he is whining and barking for attention, go about your business and ignore him until he is quiet [this may be a nanosecond in time, don’t be tempted to give him attention, be prepared and wait] when you find that window of opportunity, when he is not attention-seeking, bonus rewards should be delivered. Follow up with a sit-stay-ok command and reward again.
If it’s food he is seeking, while you are at the dinner table, send him to his mat and reward him for staying on the mat. Keep your focus on him whilst he is on the mat, don’t forget to enjoy your dinner!
Taking the Pack Leadership back.
- Don’t allow your dog to have access to bedrooms, chairs, or laps without your permission. Give him a sit/stay/ok then tap the couch for him to be up with you. The decision is yours, not his.
- Entering and exiting your home, he must ‘wait’ until family members move through the doorway. He is NOT to go outside or come back inside before family members.
- Never allow your dog to start or finish a game. Picking up a toy and dropping it at your feet, is not only attention-seeking, your dog is calling the shots! Give him a sit/stay/ok command, then pick the toy up for a game. His game, has now turned into your game. By giving him direction with a couple of basic commands, you take control.
- Your quiet time is constantly interrupted, by your dog pawing you for pats and attention. Give him a drop stay command, extend the time he ‘stays’, don’t allow him up, until you say he can!
- The phone rings, your attention is re-directed to the caller, not your dog! Some dogs react to the ring tone, give him a drop/stay.
- No free grazing [ leaving food out all day ]. When mealtime comes around, give him, sit / stay / ok to start eating. YOU are in charge.
- Barking and demanding to go for a walk, is yet another area, that you can work on with his basic commands. If you don’t feel like a walk, have him go find one of his favourite toys. All toys in the toy box should have a name!
- The dog wants to go outside and chase the possum, don’t give in to the dog. Give the dog a leave command, followed by several drop / stay commands.
- Snapping, snarling, growling has no place in your family home, a minimum of 20 drop/stay commands per day, should be part of your daily training program, vary the length of time he is in the stay position.
Dogs are highly intelligent animals, they know exactly how to take control of you, your family and your home. Don’t let it happen, don’t let it continue.
Consistency is the key to change negative behaviours.
written by Lee Hettiger