Let me ask you something. Do you lead your dog? Or does your dog lead you when you go out for a walk? The answer to this question is quite important for your dog training. Every dog trainer will tell you that you should lead.
But most of them might not tell you how to establish that leadership role. Today, we will talk about a simple game you can use to establish yourself as the leader.
There are many more ways, and this is just one neat trick you can use.
Why should you lead?
First, let’s talk about why you should lead your dog. Well, for starters, safety reasons. If you live in an urban area, there are traffic lights, cars, pedestrian crossing, and what more. Your dog is not aware of everything happening around. And let’s be honest, most city dogs do not know how to cross a street with stoplights. I can tell you mine will go just straight to cross it.
Another reason why you should lead. You do not want your dog meddling between your legs. It can lead to a hazard easily.
The reality is that you should be the one giving directions to your dog. You know where you are going, your does not. If you let your puppy run in front of you, he’d have no direction. Now that is quite OK when you are out in the mountains and on a trail, where you let your puppy run free and roam free with a proper recall.
But when you are in the city, if your dog doesn’t follow you, it might wander. And you have to be careful of reactive dogs around you. Yes, your pup might be fine and great with other dogs. But you cannot guarantee about other dogs in the park, right?
As a responsible dog owner, you should always make sure that your dog follows you and you provide leadership and directions. You definitely do not want your puppy pulling on a leash, right?
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about a game you can try.
You First Game
What does this game do? Well, for starters, it sets boundaries for your dog and establishes yourself as the leader and alpha.
What you do is simply make the dog wait for the good stuff. You can prevent many behaviors by making your dog wait for something good. The goal is to make your puppy calm and patient.
For most dogs, going outside is the biggest reward you can give them. It is like a jackpot. Going outside where your pup can play with other dogs, sniff around, and enjoy everything the outside world has to offer is a big reward. Many dogs will storm through the door the moment you put their leash on.
And that is where owners make a crucial mistake. Allowing your puppy to come out first out of the door just sets a bad example. It tells your dog he/she is the leader. And he can go wherever he wants.
Dogs have been bred for millions of years to be followers. But there are some dog breeds that like to be alpha pack leaders. You do not want that.
You do not want your dog to run out of the door and jump at another person. Or jumping out of the car and getting hit by another car.
This game prevents many of these accidents. Ideally, you should play it when your dog is calm and sitting peacefully in your home. Here is how to play it.
- Put your dog’s leash on and move to the front door
- Make sure you have a long line on your puppy
- Put your dog close to you and get ready for going outside
- Tell your puppy to wait and open the front door
- If your puppy races to get first to the door, just close it but be careful not to hurt your puppy
- Have your pet in a sit position
- Open the door again, and wait to see a reaction
- Ideally, you want you to move out of the door first, and your puppy to follow you
That is the result you want to accomplish. It is the same as when you hand feed. You open your fist with kibble. If the dog starts biting or nipping, you close the fist and prevent it from eating. Here, you open the door, and if the dog waits for you to come out first and then follows you, GREAT. If not, simply close the door and do not let your puppy outside.
You should never allow your puppy to go out of the door without your permission. Once you master the game, you can have your dog sit in front of the door and wait for you to come out and then follow you.