Ever notice that myths are a big part of life?
Myths are installed in our little brains while we are kids. The tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa, and it goes on and on.
And the dog training world is loaded with myths, most of them harmful to the development and training of your dog.
Some of the biggies are:
Wait until six months old to train your dog.
Never play tug.
Using food to train is bribery.
Alpha roll your dog for bad behavior.
If you are new to dog training it can be difficult to know what to believe. And now the big argument is about dogs being dominant and submissive, about not being pack animals and far removed from their wolf ancestors.
The most dogs I’ve lived with under one roof were five. When I ran a kennel I had a Belgian Malinois, a German Shepherd and a Shetland Sheepdog. My then girlfriend Rachael moved in with her two dogs, a Pit Bull and a Great Dane.
Needless to say it was very interesting but the best of all was that it gave me an up close observation of multiple dogs living day to day in very close proximity to each other.
I know that it is no longer in vogue, but after living with and observing dogs interacting, I can tell you that there is absolutely dominant and submissive behavior. The Great Dane (Quinn) as the sweetest, gentlest dog wanted just two things:
1. A soft place to sleep.
2. His (human) mama.
My German Shepherd (Jimmy) that I rescued at 14 months old was a big push over and would walk around wanting to be friends and play with the other dogs.
My Malinois (Suede) and the Pit Bull (Izzi) were enemies on sight and required my skills as a dog trainer to keep them living under the same roof without killing each other.
As I said earlier, it was some of the best training I ever got about dogs.
My Malinois took what he wanted, when he wanted it and all the other dogs would back away except for Izzi.
To say there was no dominant or submissive behavior would be incorrect. If the Great Dane was sleeping on the couch, Suede (Malinois) would walk up to him and stare hard, often following his stare with a low growl.
Suede was communicating to the Dane that he wanted the soft, comfy spot. Quinn would grudgingly jump off the couch and Suede would take his spot.
So you can call it what you want. I call it self interest.
The dog sees a bone, a toy, a comfortable spot, attention from the owner and according to his or her genetic make up, the dog will take what he wants.
So after my astute and keen observation and study I can clearly tell you that dogs need leadership. You need to step up and teach your dog that you are in charge.
You can do this by controlling the resources. Some simple ways are to:
Have your dog do a sit stay for meals.
Tell your dog “Off” if they are on the couch when you walk into the room.
Use your dog's favorite toys during obedience training.
Understand that self interest is what drives your dog and use whatever your dog wants to your advantage.
I’ll wrap this up by saying that you do have to provide leadership. Your dog has to learn that you are in charge and has to respond to you.
And if you’d like to learn more about establishing leadership, The Dog Training Inner Circle can help.
For just $1.00 you can get started and teach your dog obedience, leadership and how to END behavior problems.
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