Determining who is the “pack leader” in your family is essential to raising a well mannered dog.
At PAWS, we teach our volunteers these six tips to help them in working with their PAWS Puppies and Dogs. You can think of them as a “Pack Leader Bill of Rights”, and use them to be successful in becoming your dog’s pack leader!
Feed yourself before you feed your dog
In a pack, the leader always eats first and controls the food. Never feed your dog from the table, this only encourages begging. You dog must learn that you have your place to eat and the puppy has its own eating area.
Control entry or exit from any doorway
Teach your dog to wait before it goes outside or comes inside. You are controlling its environment and access to pleasure. This is also a great safety measure to prevent your dog from bolting out of the house when visitors arrive.
Initiate where your dog goes
You do not want your dog to lead you, do not allow your dog to pull you on a leash. If your dog tries leading while leash walking, immediately change direction so you are once again the lead. Frequent changes in direction cause your puppy to look to you, its leader, for where to go next.
Be the keeper of the toys
Use your dog’s toys as a reward for good behavior. You want your dog to think everything good in life comes from you.
Watch your posture and body cues
Dogs can pick up on signals such as posture and other body cues. By paying attention to your posture, standing up straight and portraying an air of confidence, you can establish your leadership with your dog.
Reward for good behavior, instead of constantly correcting
Focus on the good behaviors your dog is doing, instead of what they are doing wrong. Catch your dog doing something right and reward that correct behavior, instead of waiting for them to do something wrong and correcting it.