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Training Quick Tips - Good Leadership

Why is leadership so important? It all goes back to the pack mentality.

Most of us are guilty of treating our dogs as humans at least once in a while or allowing them to make demands of us. What do we mean by demands? Think back to the puppy years with your dog. When you held your puppy and it squirmed, did you let it down? When your puppy jumped up on you did you pet it? Well, your puppy was making demands of you and in essence training you.

When a dog is allowed to make demands, you are no longer the pack leader. As hard as it may be, we must remember that dogs are animals not humans. And, specifically, that dogs are pack animals. Thus, they need a leader or they will claim leadership.

So what are some simple guidelines to ensure you are the pack leader? First, set your rules and stick to them, just as you would with your children. Through structure comes accountability and purpose. Second, if correction is required for an undesirable behavior, do so immediately and without emotion. Do not be a bully! Rather, you should be calm and assertive. Third, meet your dog's needs for food, water, shelter, and exercise on your terms. For example, your dog should look to you if it is hungry so do not leave food out for it all day long. According to Mr. Rick Smith, "good leadership inspires respect." And, "respectful dogs rarely need a correction because they trust in our judgment and leadership and have learned to "read" us, anticipating what's going to happen and respond accordingly" (Smith 2009).


Smith, R. 2009. Trainin' Dogs with Rick Smith: Being a Leader. The Pointing Dog Journal 17(2): 14-16.


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