How a Pack Dog Thinks - ALPHA DOG

Dogs are actually descendants of their wilder, scarier ancestors - wolves. And while dogs are obviously more docile and responsive to human command, they have retained some wolfish characteristics, including their sharp eyes, their keen sense of smell, and most importantly, their need to be in a pack. To your dog, you and everyone else in your household are in his pack, for lack of a better pack. So pack-think: understand it, learn it, use it. A pack includes one leader - someone who bosses everyone else around and is respected by all the other members. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of dogs don't want to be the pack leader; it makes them feel safe to have someone else in charge. But if your dog sees that you are a directionless wimp in need of some authority, he'll happily step into the leader position to whip you into shape. Dogs are all about hierarchies and as far as they're concerned, somebody's got to uphold that top dog position in case you guys get attacked by another pack. It's a dog eat dog world, after all.

Be the Alpha Dog: To successfully train your dog, you must be the leader of your pack, or at least rank above him. Always be firm and consistent with your dog, as this will show him that he can't get away with everything, even if he really is the cutest thing alive. If you fear that you may already be underneath your dog in rank, don't concede to defeat and continue to let your dog hog the blankets at night - toss him off the bed. While it may seem mean, it's a good idea to show your dog who's boss by pulling rank on him occasionally. Make him get up from the couch so you could sit in his place, and eat your meal before feeding him his, even if he's drooling a lake by your feet. Don't act scared if your dog growls at you when you ask him to do things - just snarl back without touching him and stand your ground. Continue prodding him to obey you until he does.

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