Be in Control – Assert yourself
Sometimes, the biggest problems with dog behavior stems from the dog’s owners themselves. Not knowing how to react in certain situations, and overreacting in others just piles on to the problem. Maintaining equanimity while you are training and interacting with your dog is key, if not mission critical, in establishing and maintaining a good working relationship.
It’s often easy to lose control of a situation and overreact and on the flip side, it’s even easier to spoil your dog rotten, letting them walk all over you, claim the furniture, get on your bed, beg for food, and eat whenever they feel like. And that’s all well and good, but when it comes down to correcting a bad behavior you dog must understand that you’re the boss. And in order for you to do that, you must assert yourself. It’s very easy when you’re training a puppy, as they haven’t had time to adjust themselves to you, but it becomes harder and harder (but not impossible) to do when they get older. So the earlier you can establish a dominant role, the better. Finally, giving your dog a proper place in the pack will give them comfort, and keep them from acting out.
Dogs who misbehave often do not know their place in the pack. It is your job to teach them.
Here are a few ways to establish a dominant role in the pack:
Treat Denial & Food Assertion
This is a very easy, and quick technique to supplement other strategies in establishing a dominant role in the pack. If you’re not already the Alpha in the pack, your dog likely believes that it can do anything it wants in the house, including accessing their toys, old bones, and food whenever it wants. The toys and bones are your, just like your house, the food, the furniture, and even the doggy bed. Reassert yourself by selectively denying and allowing access to her favorite toy, food, or bone. Letting them know that only you can give them access to those things, but only as a reward for the desired behavior.
Stance, Body Language, and Tone of Voice
This is and incredibly important technique, if not the most important. Dogs can read body language better than most other animals can. They can tell when you’re angry, anxious, upset, or happy simply by observing how you stand, walk and talk. As you assert your dominance over the pack, it is incredibly important to not make your dog anxious or nervous, but simply calm and collected.
Your new mantra should be: “I am in charge, and nothing will phase me”.
There’s no better opportunity than taking your dog out for a walk to reinforce your position as the pack leader with your dog. Walk them on a short leash, and if they try to lead, use the “Turn in Front” technique to reassert control. Always walk with a straight posture, confidently, and always look straight ahead. If your dog tries to go off course, or stops for a sniff, gently remind them who’s in charge. Pull them in the right direction, and don’t even bother looking down at them. Exude confidence in what you’re doing. And if you really believe it, your dog will follow suit.
Be Assertive, Not Aggressive
Also, never, ever talk to them in a high pitched voice, like you would a baby. This will show them weakness. When you talk to your dog, talk strongly, and confidently, and in an calm even tone.
Finally, before you leave. Don’t forget to comment with your thoughts below.