Not a lot of people realise this but dogs need rules, boundaries and discipline, just like humans! If they are allowed to do what they please at home, this will also be the case for the outside world…
It is up to us to train and socialise our dogs to prevent them from acting upon behaviour which is seen as acceptable in their world, e.g biting. If a dog has no leader to look up to they will take it upon themselves to become the leader. This will eventually cause all kinds of problems! Believe it or not, dogs are much happier and relaxed being followers!
In order to be a good leader to your dog you need to be calm but also assertive. As an animal they are much better at reading body language than we are! If your dog senses you are stressed or afraid it won’t see you as their leader.
Below are some simple rules you should have in your household to make your experience with your friend for life a pleasant one;
- If you have a few dogs make sure they are all treated equally. The only dominant one should be YOU!
- Always walk through a door ahead of your dog, you are the boss!
- If you allow your dog on the sofa do not allow them up without being invited first.
- Don’t let your dog jump all over you for attention, wait until they are calm and then reward them with attention.
- Your dog should wait for his/her food. Don’t give them their food if they are begging, you don’t want to reward unwanted behaviour.
- Walk over your dog if it is lying on the floor, not around it.
- Stop unwanted behaviour at the first signs, don’t wait for it to escalate into something worse!
- Use your eyes to show disapproval, DON”T hit or shout at your dog.
- DO give affection to your dog once they are calm/have done what you requested.
- When your dog is scared/nervous they need to be able to look up to you and see a calm, confident leader.
- If you are out walking and you feel your dog start to tense or eye up another dog, use a sound or touch to interrupt the behavior. The Pet Corrector is a great way to do this. It is a can of inert gas which emits a hissing sound that will most definitely distract your pooch!
- When you meet new people, explain to them that your dog needs to smell them first as it is their way of getting to know you.
- When you come home and your dog is jumping up and down with excitement to see you, do not reward the excitement. Wait until they are calm and then reward their actions.
Walking and Exercise are EXTREMELY important.
No matter what breed of dog you have, big or small, they need to be walked. This helps to get rid of energy and is great therapy for your dog. If your dog is bored and frustrated they will try to take their energy out on something else such as digging holes in the garden or chewing the skirting boards!
The type of food you feed your Dog is also extremely important.
You need to choose a product that doesn’t have tons of protein or additives in it i.e James Wellbeloved, Science Plan etc.
If you are leaving your dog alone for a period of time it is wise to make sure they have a toy of some sort to chew on and play with. Kong Dog toys are a great way to keep your dog entertained as you can fill them with many yummy things. Nylabone Dog treats are also a great way to keep your dog amused, especially those aggressive chewers!
If you follow these simple yet effective steps, it is sure to lead to a healthier, happier life for you and your dog. Just always remember, you are the leader of the pack!