FREE Dog Training Tips: Easy Steps to YOU Leading the Pack part 3

[This article is the third in a 3-part series about changing dog behavior using positive dog training methods.]

Be a leader, a dog will follow.

From the last two articles, remember King and his dominant dog behavior? King was the leader of his pack -- Mom, Dad, 2 kids. King set the rules in the house and didn?t hesitate to enforce them, with growling, snapping, and even biting. I introduced 3 simple dog training steps to help you begin to take the leadership role back from King.

Then there was Queenie and her family (especially Mom), who gently took the leadership position. Queenie learned dog manners and wonderful dog behavior through Mom?s gentle but firm positive dog training methods and her consistency in teaching Queenie house rules. Queenie was eager to learn and to please and received lots of praise and tons of treats. With humans as pack leaders and dogs as pack members (preferably at the bottom of the hierarchy!), the whole household is calm and happy.

Let?s talk about your household. Your angel might not be as dominant or aggressive as King, and you may have worked with her some but not quite enough to have a dog similar to Queenie. Time is sometimes a factor -- with our lives as busy as they are, sometimes it?s difficult to make time to for even short periods of dog training. But if you?ll give it a little effort, the payoff will be tremendous. You can change your dog's behavior in no time at all.

I want to give you a few more new recommendations for regaining leadership in your pack. But first, I want to review some of the ones found in the first two articles. For the complete list, go to


Get their attention first -- say Fido?s name before you say the command.

Be kind -- Use a gentle voice, give commands and direction calmly and lovingly.

Let?s play -- YOU start and end all games. Keep them wanting more.

Let?s EAT -- YOU eat before feeding the dog.

Praise, praise, praise -- Pour on the praise for good dog behavior and good manners.


1. Are you sick?!

One of the first concerns with new or unwanted behaviors (e.g., excessive urination) is a health concern. Get a vet check to address any health concerns that might cause behaviors your dog has no control over.

2. Down every day!

Put your dog in a "down" position for 5-10 minutes every day. This reinforces for your dog that you are the leader. Beginning this program may involve many jump-ups. Just gently and firmly put the dog back down. (No need to restart time.) You will notice that the breaks of command quickly fall away. It?s fine for your dog to sleep through this one!

3. Do that AGAIN!

Dogs love routine. They have incredible internal clocks. One activity that dogs love and that routine is important is mealtime. I suggest feeding dogs two times a day (no running buffet) within an hour window each time (e.g., 7-8AM and 5-6PM). Watch your dog -- if you do something regularly, they come to expect it and act appropriately. Other activities that can become routine are morning or evening walks, Saturday errands, the time you come home from work. If it?s a regular thing, your dog knows it?s going to happen.

4. Brush, brush, brush the coat!

One activity you both can enjoy is grooming. Daily gentle grooming reinforces a loving relationship with your dog. This can become prized private time for both of you.

5. Through the paces-- Every day!

Obedience training is very important to do every day, even for 5 minutes at a time. Try to avoid the military commando approach. Be consistent and kind, get your dog?s attention first, praise, praise, praise for his willingness and compliance to your commands. Practicing obedience reinforces that you are the leader.


That?s it! You now have the arsenal for regaining the leadership position in your pack and getting some good dog behavior practices in place. Emphasizing the positive in your dog training efforts pays off exponentially -- your dog will be your friend for life and won?t be scared of you. When you establish yourself as leader, dogs respect you and will work so hard to please you. Take the time to get these easy steps into your daily routine and watch the changes magically occur.

Wishing you a calm and happy adventure with your canine companions.

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O?Neal Hendrix is a premier professional dog trainer in Atlanta, GA. For many years, she has "worked miracles" with dogs and their owners. Check out her dog toy recommendations for all dog breeds and temperaments!