Common dog training errors – Part 1

The biggest mistake people make in training dogs is that they think like a human and not like a dog. Most people just don’t know how to think like a dog. Some people may agree or disagree with this, but training dogs does have to do with who is alpha. First I’ll explain this. In the wild, wolves who are our dogs ancestors live in very social packs composed of two alphas, this is a male and female breeding pair who basically runs the whole pack, then there are the betas who are kind of second in command, they help keep some order with the lower ranked members and help with the hunt, no wolves but the aplha pair breed. The third rank is omega, these include weaker or usually younger pack members who are there to help with hunts and get to eat in return.

Now that that is explained a person training a dog must understand that they must be the alpha, all humans in this “pack” of a family must be “higher ranked” than the dog. Start out with one preferably adult human training the dog. Become alpha by not allowing the dog to do bad behaviors or alpha like behaviors such as standing over you, getting fed when begging, biting, stealing anything from you, etc. One of the most important things you can do to start training is to teach sit and stay and then from there have your dog sit and stay while you place his food a few feet away. Make him wait awhile then say ok and point to his bowl. This tells him that you are alpha as alphas in the pack eat then allow lower ranked members to eat. Also make him sit before petting him, when you walk in the door before he even recieves any attention at all.

If your dog bites, don’t hit him, instead you can grab the top of his muzzle and squeeze just a bit, he should release and this is like an alpha biting the muzzle and telling him “NO” in dog speak, also you should say “NO” in a firm loud voice. Pups that do a lot of nipping you can grab by the scruff, give a shake and say “NO”. This is like momma dog correcting the pup.Playing tug-o-war with your dog can encourage biting and grabbing at things as well as stealing food and objects and really can make them think they are higher ranked if you allow them to have the toy after this. In wolf packs pups often fight over bones, tugging to see who is stronger, when they are starting to establish a rank.

Also when walking out the door with your dog, go first, and even before that make him sit and then tell him ok as you are stepping out the door. Training “heel” is very important.

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