How to Be the Leader of a Pack of Three Dogs

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: August 11, 2017

Bear is a one-year-old Black Labrador Retriever who lives in Carson, Iowa with one-year-old Blue Heeler Duke and a ten-month-old puppy Harvey. Their guardians contacted us to set up a dog behavior training session to help the dogs start listening to commands and gain leadership in the house.

When I first arrived at the dog behavior session they were all excited dogs; jumping-up on me and barking. To get your dogs to stop jumping up, don’t pet them because it reinforces that behavior. You can try turning away, ignoring them or simply walking back out the door. By doing this you are teaching them that jumping up does not get them what they want.

The primary dog behavior concern was the lack of structure and leadership in the house. The guardians told me that the dogs didn’t have a lot of rules, which can lead to dogs attempting to take on the leadership position themselves. I suggested a few rules to implement and our positive dog training technique, Petting with a Purpose. Petting with a Purpose means only petting your dog for good behavior and using our Escalating Consequences to disagree with your dog for unwanted behavior. To help change the dynamics in the home I taught the guardians our Leadership Exercise, which you can watch in the video below.

As you saw in the video above, Duke is not allowed to take the treat reward until he is given permission. However, he anticipated that I would give him permission when I turned sideways, but did not wait until I gave him permission before he took the treat. In the future, you will want to make sure that you are ready to pop-up quickly to disagree with your dogs if they attempt to take the treat before you give them permission, by tapping your fingers on the floor.

By the end of the session the dogs were starting to listen to commands and adopt a follower’s mindset. To keep up this good behavior the guardians will want to practice the exercises that we went over during our behavior session and continue using the structured feeding ritual for breakfast and dinner. We wrapped up this session with Duke, Bear and Harvey’s Roadmap to Success, which you can watch below.

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This post was written by: Sam Kanouse

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