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Leading the Pack

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Six Tips for Letting Your Dog Know You’re the Alpha

I recently came across this article from www.mymagazine.us in a City Market magazine. I think you will find it as helpful as I did.

Have you ever found yourself standing in the yard calling for your dog, only to have your so-called best friend stare back at you blankly? Or maybe you’ve asked your pup to drop something or stop begging, and it simply didn’t happen. While its well known that dogs are pack animals, what might not be so clear is how to establish yourself as the alpha. Here are six easy to implement tips to help make it happen.

  • Avoid Free Feeding – rather than constantly refilling your dogs bowl whenever its empty, establish a set feeding routine. This way, your dog knows that you control when they get fed versus assuming the food will always be there when they feel like chowing down.
  • Set Boundaries – This one can be tough, but try to set healthy boundaries with your dog. Maybe you don’t allow them on any of the furniture, or perhaps you let your furry friend join you on the couch but not on the bed. These sorts of rules and limitations are simple ways to let your dog know you’re in charge.
  • Reward Positive Behavior – Anytime you see your dog doing something good, whether its sitting patiently when a guest arrives or perhaps quietly walking by another pup on your daily walk, reward them with a little treat or an ear scratch and “good dog”. Its the definition of positive reinforcement.
  • Make Eye Contact – Whether its praise or a stern reprimand, look into your dog’s eyes as you talk and hod their gaze. By looking your dog in the eye, you demonstrate the sincerity of your words.
  • Avoid “Just Because” Treats – Try to tie an action to a reward. For example, before giving doggy ice cream, tell him to “Sit” or “Stay”. Not only does this routine help dogs understand you control the rewards, it also prevents barking or begging for treats.
  • Be Consistent – However you choose to lead the pack, it’s important to be consistent with your training. When you only apply certain rules or behaviors some of the time, your pup could end up just plain confused.
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