Taking charge

Dogs are pack animals, and a pack consists of followers and one leader. The leader is in charge and dictates what happens when.

From Buddy's perspective, a pack leader's Bill of Rights looks something like this:

i To eat first and to eat as much as he wants to i To stand, sit, or lie down wherever he wants to i To have access to the prime spots in the household, including the furniture and the beds i To control entry to or from any room in the house i To proceed through all narrow openings first i To demand attention from subordinate pack members any time he wants to i To ignore or actively discourage unwanted attention i To restrict the movements of lesser ranking members of the pack

In a multidog household, we often see the leader of the dog pack exercise these rights on a daily basis. Does Buddy exercise any of these rights with you?

You and your family are now Buddy's pack, and someone has to be in charge — so become the leader. The principles of democracy don't apply to pack animals. Your dog needs someone he can respect and look up to for direction and guidance. You may just want to be friends, partners, or peers with your dog. You can be all of those, but for your dog's well being, you must be in charge. In today's complicated world, you can't rely on him to make the decisions.

Few dogs actively seek leadership and most are perfectly content for you to assume the role, so long as you do. But you must do so, or even the meekest of dogs will take over. Remember, it's not a matter of choice. For his safety and your peace of mind, you have to be the one in charge.

How do you know which of you is in charge? Here are a few signs to watch for:

1 Does Buddy get on the furniture and then growl at you when you tell him to get off?

1 Does Buddy demand attention from you, which you then give?

1 Does Buddy ignore you when you want him to move out of the way, when he is in front of a door or cupboard?

1 Does Buddy dash through doorways ahead of you?

If the answer to two or more of these questions is "yes," you need to become pack leader, and we show how to do that in a positive and nonconfrontational way. The next section explains how.

Being in charge with Buddy

Debbie didn't think much about the "being in charge" theory. She wanted to be pals with Thor, her Labrador Retriever. After all, he had always listened to her before and had never given her any trouble. She changed her mind when one day Thor made the decision, "Now I

will chase the cat across the road," just as a car was coming. She realized that if she wanted Thor to be around for a while, he had to learn that she was in charge and that she made the decisions.

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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