Monday, June 4, 2007

I Go First - Method of Establishing the Pack Leader Role

These "firsts" that you will be showing your new pup will establish your role as the pack leader. Practice this "I'm first" behavior on a regular and consistant basis, and develop an excercise (such as the front door) that you can repeatedly practice. Spend at least 15 minutes at a time on the excercise, and then repeat it randomly throughout the day. But definitely remember to do things first. If he or she attempts to begin something first, before you, then correct the behavior and have him or her sit while you do the action first.

  • When it is mealtime, YOU should eat first, feeding the dog second.

  • Sleep time, if she sleeps with you, YOU should first find your comfortable spot on the bed, and then invite your dog to find his or her place after you.

  • Entering or exiting doors, YOU should walk through first, then your dog can enter or exit through the door. If you are opening the front door, the dog should be made to sit several feet from the door and wait. This is perhaps the most important excercise, and should be repeated over and over, even if you're not planning on actually going through the door.

  • When any treats or toys are given, make sure you have the dog either sit, lay down, or if your dog knows any tricks, have him or her do one before you give the treat or toy to your pup. Be sure to also eat (or at least pretent to eat) a snack first.

  • Regular walks (daily) would be best, and use the opportunity when you leave the house to go through the door first. While walking, switch directions unexpectedly and say "Come". The dog will see you in front (because you have changed directions) and hear you say "Come." This will put your dog in a following position, and puts you in the "I'm first" position again. After a short distance, turn around and say "Come" again, repeatedly putting him or her in the following position, letting you be seen in the "I'm first" position. This will help to enforce your role as the pack leader.