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One mistake that a lot of dog owners make is focusing on specific tasks and actions when they’re training their dog. Yes, you can train your dog to do extremely specific tasks, but ultimately, it’s easiest to train a dog when they feel naturally submissive towards you, and when they respect you as their de-facto leader.

It’s like the old adage: “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Give a man a fishing rod, he eats for the rest of his life.” In other words, by establishing a fundamental hierarchy between you and your dog which he naturally respects, it becomes inherently easier to train your dog, and they will better understand the context of why they’re being trained, causing behaviors to stick better. This is often referred to as “functional obedience.”

Here are some tips on how to be your dog’s pack leader:

  • Be Calm, Confident, and Steady: Dogs have a near-supernatural ability to detect anxious energy. If you’re feeling nervous, anxious, or flustered, you can bet that your dog probably knows. And if you haven’t established yourself as their leader, it may cause them to see you as weak. That’s not to say they won’t love you! But you may be opening up a window for them to believe that they’re the alpha dog of the house. Always be calm, assertive, and steady with your dogs. Even if they don’t like it sometimes, they will respect it.

  • Get Them Used to Waiting: Consider a puppy that’s raised in the wild by their parent. Do you think that they can just eat whenever they want or wander wherever they please? Absolutely not! The parent is protective, and they know best how to care for their pups. The parent will dictate when their puppies eat, and when they’re allowed to roam around and travel. You should do this too. Don’t bend to the whims of your dog — if you feed them whenever they whine and take them out whenever they want, you’re sending the message that they’re in charge of you, not the other way around.

  • Set Proper Boundaries: Aggressive behavior from dogs is often symptomatic of where they feel they are in the hierarchy. When dogs jump up on people to greet them, or constantly nip when they’re handled, this is a sign of dominance, and they’re doing it because they feel like they’re allowed. Do not encourage these behaviors, and strive to teach your dog the meaning of the word “no.” When they feel discouraged to exhibit aggressive behaviors, you’ll find that they will look up to you more and more as their leader.

Unfortunately, a lot of this advice is easier said than done. I can say “teach your dog what no means,” but to many dog owners, that’s as cryptic as a quantum physics equation — and that’s okay! Not everyone naturally knows how to train dogs, and that’s why trainers like me exist!

At Lupa K9, I am happy to help dog owners all over San Diego with aggressive dog behavior training — or even just basic training in general. Sometimes, your dog just needs a session with a professional, and you, the dog owner, can learn a lot from observing. My holistic dog solutions have brought relief to countless dog owners in the area. Contact Lupa K9 today for quality dog training classes!