Assuming Your Role as Pack Leader

Remaining in place, in either the Sit or Down position, is one of the most important exercises you can teach your dog. Aside from its practical value, this exercise has important psychological implications.

One way a dog exerts his leadership over a subordinate dog is by restricting the movement of the subordinate, or keeping him in his place. We remember an amusing incident involving our Yorkshire Terrier, Angus. Friends had come to visit and brought their 6-month-old Doberman, Blue. Things went fine with the two dogs until we noticed that Blue was sitting in a corner with Angus lying in front of him a few feet away. Every time Blue tried to move, Angus would lift his lip, and Blue shrank back into the corner. It seems Angus had exploited the "home-field advantage" and convinced Blue that he was in charge.

Teaching your dog to stay still at your command is at the top of the list of critical exercises. Not only can you keep Buddy out from underfoot, but you also reinforce in his mind that you are the one in charge — you are the pack leader.

Using the same principle, we have successfully taught countless dog owners to become pack leader in a nonviolent and nonconfrontational way. Start the leadership exercises as soon as you get your dog. If your dog is a puppy, your job will be that much easier than if you acquired an older dog — a puppy is more readily physically handled than a grown dog. To accomplish this task, you need to learn to place your dog into a Sit and a Down. The technical term for placing your dog in the Sit or Down position is called modeling — you show the dog what you want him to do.

Dog Care Duty

Dog Care Duty

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