Manners Matter!

If there’s one thing I dislike just as much as kids with no manners, it’s dogs with no manners! Manners MATTER! So this week I thought I’d help out with a few, very simple ways to get your dog to mind his or her manners…I’ve picked out a few so we’ll go over them one at a time…

First, though, we need to clarify a few things. Dogs are pack animals. You and your family are their leaders. They are at the BOTTOM of the pack and you, as humans, are at the top.

Second, dogs see us leaders as things to be pleased. We, as higher-ups, are in charge of them, so they will do anything to please us.

These two thoughts are good and pertinent IF we’ve established our leadership roles. If we, as owners, have not, it needs to be done!!

Who’s the Leader? When I come down stairs or go in or out a door, I want to be first!

I am the leader of this group. I am the Alpha and as such, get to go first. So… When ever you go out or in the door, YOU go first. This actually establishes dominance with your pooch. It shows Fido who’s boss – If YOU get to go in or out first, YOU must be in charge! Same applies for stairs. There is nothing worse than holding a basket of laundry, etc., and trying to fight with the dog about who goes down the stairs first. Practice this every time you go in or out, up or down. Enlist the help of a leash or other family member and hold that dog. Only when you say “ok” should the dog be allowed to continue.

Wait a Second! The one, perhaps MOST important command you can teach your dog is to WAIT. This will help under SO many circumstances! I make my dogs “wait” for food until I put it down. Nothing worse than battling with a dog over the food bowl before it hits the ground. Start this practice and you’ll be able to get Fido to wait so you can go out the door first, wait so you can put the bowl down without issue, wait so you can do just about anything! It’s a great command!!!

Off vs Down: Ok, get OFF the furniture, and LAY DOWN. Don’t confuse Fido with one command for two requests. Get OFF Aunt Sophie… LAY DOWN in your bed… And while we’re on the subject of “off” the furniture…… Dogs feel that if they’re allowed on the furniture, they MUST be top dog. They’re not… NEVER allow a dog on the furniture unless YOU INVITE him. If Fido growls when you try to get him or her off the furniture, Fido thinks Fido’s top dog – above you. It’s time to keep Fido OFF the furniture! Put a leash on Fido. If Fido gets on the furniture WITHOUT your permission, take the LEASH and pull him off – don’t’ reach for his collar as you might end up with a hand full of teeth instead! If you’re on the couch and want Fido there, invite him. But ONLY do this after you’ve established that YOU’RE the boss…

Eat First! Going back to that chain of command thing,… In a pack (in the wild), the Alpha dog (or wolf, if you will) always eats first. When he’s (or she’s) done, THEN the rest of the pack, according to position, can eat. So, while it’s tempting to feed Fido and then sit down, make sure YOU eat first and THEN Fido eats. If Fido can see you eating (and doesn’t drool all over your shoes!), he’ll recognize further that you and the rest of the family are the Alphas and he or she is a subordinate. And make sure Fido doesn’t get fed while you eat! This puts him or her on YOUR level and he or she is NOT! After everyone at the table is done, THEN it’s ok to feed Fido.

So that’s a few of the ways you can get your dog to have better manners. They’re very basic and don’t require hours of training – Just when the situation arises! It will take a bit, but Fido will catch on.

The most important thing to remember is that YOU’RE the boss…. Not Fido. YOU need to be able to be first. Once Fido learns this simple rule, obedience training will go great!

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One Response

  1. I usually eat well AFTER my dog — at least an hour. Partly because the dog gets fed as soon sa I’m home from work, and I don’t! Also, my dinner takes a little more preparation than kibble from a bag (thank goodness!)
    I’ll have to try that going out the door thing though.

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