As a dog owner it’s critical that from day one you show them who is boss. If you don’t work on this as early as you can, your dog is very prone to grow out of control. Being a good pack leader /parent, you should always be calm and consistent in setting boundaries for your furry friends.
Here are some very simple rules you will need to follow for showing your dog you’re the boss, or in their language the alpha or the pack leader. You need to repeatedly do those instructions, and teach the rest of your family members to do the same with your dog. In discipline, consistency is always key to an obedient dog!
- Humans walk ahead or enter doorways first. Never let them enter anywhere before you do. As loving parents, we do tend to be protective and want to let them in first. Work on training your dog to enter any doorway after you, and not before you. When they try to speed up to walk before you, hold them back by the collar or leash (but gently though, so as not to hurt them), go in first, then allow them to come in afterwards.
- Keep them off the furniture. Resist the temptation of taking your puppy on your lap or beside you on the couch/bed, especially when they are young. Establish the fact that the puppy is one of your pack, but not in the same rank as you or your family. When you’re on the couch, relaxed, watching TV, let them come sleep next to your foot. They love that & it makes them feel secure. If you want to cuddle with them, you sit on the floor next to them, but don’t allow them up on your furniture especially when they are young.
- Have them eat on command. Never let them jump on the food bowl. Train them to sit, and wait for your command to start eating. Whenever they try to run to the food bowl, take it away, and refuse to give it to them unless they sit and wait for your command. It takes several times, but you will be happy with the results when they are trained. Read more about dog nutrition and food.
- Never feed them while you are eating. During family meals, they give you those cute puppy eyes. Never fall for that! By giving them food while you’re eating your meal, you are teaching them to be beggars, in addition, you are not setting any boundaries. Dogs respect and follow leaders that force boundaries. Read more about dominance in some dog breeds.
- Affection should be earned. At early ages, be wise when it comes to giving affection. You want to establish with your dog that affection is earned, rather than given. This way they will do their best to please and obey you.
- Biting is never OK. Don’t allow them to bite you, even if playful. Those small puppy teeth will very soon become sharp and painful. You don’t want your dog out of control, biting you and your family. Use a calm, yet firm “No”. When they back off, reward them with a treat. Make toys available for them to bite on. Read more on puppy teething and biting.
- Keep them on leash during walks. When walking your dog, you should have them on leash in the puppy/junior phase (until 1.5 years old). Train them to walk next to you, and not to speed and pull away. Whenever they try to speed stop for a minute, then continue walking, and make sure they walk after you start walking. Keep repeating this until you have established that it’s not OK for them to walk in front of you, or pull away during a walk. There are 8 simple rules you need to know about walking your dog.
Check out our recommendations on puppy proofing your home. Click here to read more.