Dog Training Tips Establishing A Pack Hierarchy Within Your Home

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Dog Training Tips Establishing A Pack Hierarchy Within Your Home

by Matt Jackson

Why Dogs Need To Be Part Of A Pack

In the wild, dogs are part of an active, hierarchical pack. Even domestic dogs still crave this structure in their lives and if they feel that you aren?t providing a suitable pack atmosphere or that you aren?t an adequate pack leader then they will take over that mantle. When this occurs most dogs will begin to misbehave purely because they are confused or feel they need to run the pack. In the worst-case scenario they can become aggressive and dominant over everyone they come into contact with. The key is to prevent the need for this behaviour in the first place and instil the appropriate feelings in your dog; however, it?s never too late to start reconditioning your pet.

When You Should Start Training Your Dog

Sooner is always better than later in terms of training any animal. Puppies are much more receptive to any thoughts or ideas that you try to encourage and are also keener to please. As the saying goes, ?you can?t teach an old dog new tricks.? While this isn?t entirely true it is certainly true that starting as early as possible in your dog?s life will give a much greater chance of success in the long run.

A Full Regime Of Training

In many ways, behavioural training is as much about training you the owner as it is about training your dog. The first and most important aspect to remember is that you are the leader of the pack. If you demand something then it must be done or negative reinforcement should be issued (although not in the shape of physical punishment). Similarly, when you dog does something you approve of or that you have asked it to do then positive affirmation is needed. This can be in the shape of a tasty treat, plenty of love, or the use of clicker training but it must be dealt quickly and at exactly the right moment.

Ground Rules ? Sitting On Furniture

Bearing in mind that you need to be the dominant force in your pack, it is important to remember that this is about much more than simply reprimanding and congratulating. You need to set very clear ground rules and always stick to them. You are encouraged to stop your dog from sitting on furniture because, in there eyes, this makes them at least equal to you. Sitting on the floor is a sign of subservience and is usually indicative of a dog that knows its place.

Ground Rules ? Walking Through Doors

Also be wary of your dog walking through doors before you do. Believe it or not, by walking through first they are indicating that they are above you. If this happens then turn around and walk away from that door as though you had no intention of going in that direction. Wait a minute and then try again. If your dog repeats its attempt to beat you through the door then use your negative reinforcement command. When your dog does well and you are able to walk through the doorway first without her barging past then you should reward them with plenty of love or a treat.

These are only two indications that your dog believes it has a higher stature within your pack than you do but both are clear tells. You should attempt to prevent them both as soon as possible and do not stray from your new guidelines.

More Information

Initiating a pack hierarchy is only part of obedience training your dog but it is an important part. By combining several different varieties of training any dog can be taught to behave well and know its place. Visit the Dog Obedience Training Tips website where you can find plenty more information on various techniques. The site also provides details of effective training books and has a free dog training newsletter delivered to your Inbox every fortnight.

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