Dog Obedience Training: Being the Boss
Dogs are naturally pack animals. This means they need an alpha to lead them in their everyday lives, and this also means the owner must act alpha; that the dog should consider you as the boss for the training training to proceed smoothly. Individual dogs vary in submissiveness, and to establish and maintain dominance over your dog, there are a number of exercises you can establish. Do not worry; most dogs are happy to be submissive. Just be sure to show approval at the occasional signs of submission, and assert dominance if it tries to test you.
There are two components of dog training, one that solves behavioral problems, and there is that one that creates a command-response pattern. The latter type is called “Obedience Training”. However, both need one factor: A good Alpha.
In most cases, people misinterpret adolescent behavior as “dominance” when they are not. Comparing it to a human child testing her parents; she is trying to find out what the limits are rather than actually putting her parents in the little game called “Challenge Me” for leadership, a playful act. Young dogs and puppies do exactly the same. Which is, the trainer must correct them firmly, however don’t go into an all out dominating battle.
It would be very inappropriate for the dog to distrust you, which, in this case can result some sort of “rebellion”. For the toddler analogy, the most one can do is a sharp word, or a small spank on the rear end. You would not pick the child up, and hold her against the wall, then scream at her for the misdeed. Most dogs are still young until they are 2 or 3 years old (in human terms, they are still in the angst, teenage years). In Layman’s terms, do not confuse physical maturity with mental maturity.
As for punishments are concerned, never mistake it with being alpha. An alpha is fair, according to Cindy Moore, author of Behavior: Modifying and Understanding. An alpha leader is fair, and deserves its position. He/She does not use fear, punishment or brute force to achieve, and maintain its position. Instead, it makes it clear what behavior approves of and which it does not. An alpha leader expects its subordinates to follow its lead; it does not force them to do whatever it is. Meaning, the owner or trainer, in order for it to be a good leader, should be calm, focused, and rational.
Just like any other training, praising your pet boosts a lot of good egos. Always show approval at signs of submission. This helps strengthen your place as the ultimate alpha. Praise your dog when it drops its eyes first. Praise it when he licks your chin. Give it an enthusiastic tummy rub, when it rolls over in its back –as how Cindy placed it. It might sound corny, but it is corny because it works. Life is simple; you just need a bit of loving.
But to be an alpha at your best is to be consistent, and fair in your corrections. One must demonstrate to your pet that it can trust your orders. Do not correct your dog after the fact; such corrections to be arbitrary and unfair to the dog, since it has no associative memory the way people do.
Socializing with your puppy is a good way to gain its trust.