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Leader of the Pack: Dominance-Reduction Techniques for Your Dog
This article is written by the Co-Owner of AllBreed North Dog Training & Handling.
Dominant hold- If while holding your dog, he struggles, don't let him go. Wait until he is quiet and stops squirming. This will let him know you're in control.
Go through the door first- Always lead the way through the door. If you must, physically hold him back until you go through, then let him follow.
Initiate/ End playtime- As the leader, you choose when it's time to play and when it's not. If you respond to him begging for play, he knows that he can get you to do what he wants.
Keep him on the floor- As hard as it is, puppies do not belong on the furniture or in your bed, at least not at this stage. The leader gets the best place to sleep and rest. If you allow them up, you are telling them that he and you are equal.
Do not free feed them- Your dog should see that you provide and share the food. (This also helps with housebreaking!)
Leaders eat First- If your schedule allows, you should eat before your dog. In a pack, the leader eats first while the others wait for their turn. You can kennel them until then.
Groom your dog- Grooming is a social exercise that your dog understands. Do this daily by brushing, checking teeth and paws, and doing his nails.
Biting/ Growling- The leader never accepts being growled at or bit at. If your dog does this, end it abruptly with the proper correction.
Resource guarding- As the leader, you should be able to take anything away from your dog. When in case you do, you should swap something for it. Food bowls can be a big issue; Let them know it's OK for you to be around their bowl and you won't take their food. Try giving them a really good treat in their bowl, pick it up and put it back down, they'll know having humans around their bowl means better food.