Prior to beginning your own dog training, there is a very basic premise that needs to be understood, or you will not have much success .

Our family has had dogs forever. You may know the kind. Our family dogs were never planned. They were normally a product of some friend’s unwanted and unplanned litter.

Don’t get me wrong, we loved all of them, and they were fun to have in the house, but dog training was not a part of their early years. We would teach them to beg for a treat and maybe even get them to play dead (one of them, anyway). But if there was no treat in sight, the dog had a mind of its own.

We really didn’t care as kids whether our dogs were well trained. Actually we didn’t even know it was possible except for seeing dog movies on TV. It was just a dog.

But all that changed the minute I got my first dog in my own home. It was the cutest little puppy. Sure, they are all cute… when they’re little. But after a couple of months, she was not so adorable anymore. She had grown into something quite different. All I can say is, “bad dog.” That’s what she had become.

You know the kind. They do everything the opposite of Lassie, the perfect canine. They bark incessantly, jump up on guests, chew up shoes, pillows, and all other household items, and, of course, they run away and won’t come when called.

This was a rude awakening for yours truly. I figured all I had to do was be a friend and give her treats, and she would be my loving, obedient companion. Not so.

I had to step back and assess the situation to figure out where I had messed up. So I hopped on the Internet and did a bit of reading about dog training and dog obedience.

It didn’t take long to find out that there is a common thread that ran through my findings. It had to do with how a dog owner can have a good relationship with his pet. (obviously, I was clueless):

You, too, can discover the Secret of The Alpha Dog

It occured to me that I had seen the term “Alpha dog” in books and movies about teams of huskies that pulled sleds in Alaska. The idea is that dogs have a natural tendency to travel in packs, and one dog will be #1, the Alpha Dog.

It is that top dog that gets the best of everything, from being able to eat first to having the prime spot of territory (like the center of your best carpet).

The dog owner needs to know this. You, the owner, need to claim the Alpha Dog position in your “pack.” You need to be in charge. If you leave it to your dog, they will make themselves the Alpha Dog in the absence of a stronger personality.

It’s a fairly simple concept, really. You need a role reversal.

Find out more about the Alpha Dog Syndrome and dog obedience at www.dogtrainingatlanta.org.

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