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Tuesday Training Byte: Who's in charge?

First, let me be clear that I do not advocate the use of dominant rolls (or sometimes called an alpha roll), or methods that put dogs in fear or pain. In my opinion, these methods make it difficult for the dog to learn and do not build the bond and trust between owner and dog. However, there are many ways we let the dog take over as the leader and decision maker. In the wild or even in a domestic pack, the alpha establishes himself. The alpha will show teeth and growl a warning to another dog that tries to crowd in on his dinner, bone, or bed. If the offending dog doesn't get the message, the alpha may stand up and take a step toward the offender while growling, or even grab the scruff of the offenders neck. If my dog has a bone that has become sharp/unsafe, I command my dog to drop it. Should my pup does not immediately spit it out, I communicate like an alpha dog to make it clear. In other words, I stand up and take a step toward the dog, while growling with a scowling face. I do not try to grab the bone as I may get bitten. Once I safely remove the bone, I praise my dog and give him something else like a tasty treat that is safe. Years ago I bought a 6 month old male Rottweiler. He had clearly established himself as the head of the household when I brought him home. The first night as I was ready to set down his dinner in front of him, he turned his head and growled at me. I immediately stepped toward him and with a scowl shouted NO!. He backed up and I retrieved his bowl, and he was put in his crate with no dinner that night. The next morning I sternly commanded him to wait as I set down his dish. He took a step back and waited, then I released him to eat, praising him all the while. Teaching the wait command puts you in charge, whether is is waiting before charging through the door ahead of you or waiting while you get seated in your favorite chair before you invite your dog up to your lap. Your dog will a more willing companion once he understands the order of things. Happy training!



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