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Obedience Training: Becoming the Alpha

In their days in the wild dogs lived in packs. Even though they have been living with humans for thousands of years, dogs still carry their pack mentality to their adoptive families. Showing that you are the pack leader is essential especially in obedience training.

Living in packs means that there is a social structure which is often a hierarchy. Each member has a specific duty to perform. Coherence and unity are often the prime characteristics of any social grouping. However, this does not mean that all members are equal. The alpha dog or the pack leader enjoys a privileged position but one that carries a lot of responsibilities.

Despite coming off from the wild and into people's homes, dogs still carry this pack mentality to this day. Instead of other dogs, the family he lives with substitutes as his pack. It is therefore important to establish a pecking order with you on top and him at the bottom.

Without a pack leader, a dog will automatically assume the role. It is in your best interest then to establish yourself as the leader as quickly as possible. The best time to do this is during the early stages of your dog's life. Most puppies will become pushy and try to advance through the rankings early on.

Lucky for you, dogs are willing to cooperate but only when you have made your authority clear. Due to thousands of years of domestication, dogs readily accept this influence without restriction. Take advantage of this fact by taking charge of your dog through obedience training.

Being the pack leader does not mean you have to be aggressive. It most certainly does not involve open conflict between you and your dog. You just have to make him realize that rules and commands have to be followed because these are set by you. Be forceful and in control but calm and kind at the same time.

Fortunately, there are many ways to be the boss. For instance, never tolerate bad behavior from your dog. Be quick and consistent at scolding your dog every time you see him do something bad. Always give commands with an air of authority. That means be loud and clear and speak in a normal tone.

Food is an important factor in showing your leadership abilities to your dog. Make him wait a while and do not give his bowl right away. Feed him only after every member of the family is done eating. Never share food scraps from the table with your dog.

Even when you have established your dominant position your job is still not done. Like in the wild, your dog might challenge your position in the hierarchy once he sees his opportunity. Do yourself a favor and never show any sign of weakness to your dog.

Setting yourself up as the leader can be quite difficult. This is much easier if you do it as soon as possible. Once you are sure that your dog understands his place, you are well on your way towards obedience training.

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