Anyone Can Train Their Dog

By Art Hess
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Breaking News!! There is no Alpha Dog


That’s right fellow “dog people.” There is no Alpha dog nor is there a Beta dog. Your responsibility as a loving, caring, dog person is to be a Dog Manager 100% of the time. That’s right you and only you are responsible for providing the dog leadership 24/7.

Every dog environment, just like every family, must live with rules, regulations, and limitations and it is your job to enforce these rules full time. This does not mean you are a bully or a nag or that you are punishing or disciplining your dog. You are simply doing your job and enforcing the rules of the house. If your dog is doing something you don’t want him to do, look in the mirror where it says “Boss” across your forehead. If you don’t like what he is doing it is your job to change it or accept it.

Just as when you raise a family you cannot be a part time parent. There’s no such thing as telling your three-year- old son and five- year- old daughter that you are too busy to be their Mom or Dad because you are watching TV or texting or watching your favorite show on your tablet, so for the time being they can be boss of the house and do whatever they want until you decide to resume your responsibilities. It doesn’t and can’t work that way.

It’s the same with your dog(s). You don’t get to be boss in one instance and then put them in charge for awhile and then a little later come back and expect them to hand the responsibility back to you. Every time you put the dog in charge and he makes his own decisions, whether you approve of them or not, you are simply teaching him that he doesn’t have to pay any attention to you in certain instances.

The more you ignore your job of providing leadership the more you are confirming in the dog’s mind that what he is doing and the way he is doing it is entirely acceptable.

Consider the picture we see of a pack of wolves crossing an open space all lined out single file, what do we call the one in front? That’s right, Leader. And when we see the beauty of 8 or 12 husky dogs pulling a sled, what do we call the dog in the front? Right again, he’s the Leader. So when you repeatedly allow your dog to go through doors and gates ahead of you and then pull you down the street while the dog is 4 feet ahead of you on the leash, what is he? Right again, he is the Leader.

Now if this is okay with you, then live with it and don’t expect him to not steal off the counter, get on the furniture when you don’t want him to, ignore you when you call, etc., etc. Remember you have repeatedly put him in a leadership position so he doesn’t make judgment calls, he just continues to be the leader. You cannot continue to allow him to do those things which you do not want him to do because by doing so, you are repeatedly re-affirming to him that what he is doing is acceptable. I repeat: if he is doing that which you do not want him to do, it is your job as Leader to change






Column: Anyone Can Train Their Dog




Raised and educated in Alberta and pursued a mixed career of business, livestock and real estate. Had a life-long passion for working with dogs and horses. Next came 12 years near Victoria on Vancouver Island where we had several more business’ and then the “Dear, let’s sell everything and move to Mexico phase.”
“Aging is easy. Follow your passion and remember that Attitude is Everything. Strive to live a balanced life in harmony with your environment. Practice compassion, walk a mile in the other person’s moccasins or sandals before passing judgement and remember that trust and respect are earned not mandated.”

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