5 Ways to Be a Good Dog Owner

May 8th, 2016

275475075_85a50a311dYour dog looks to you for social cues, on when to eat, how to behave, and what energy level is appropriate. If your dog isn’t doing that, you haven’t established yourself as the pack leader, yet! In order to be a good dog owner, you need to set rules, limitations, and boundaries…and stick to them!

Here’s how you can set yourself up to be a good dog owner:

1. Be the enforcer
In the wild, a pack leader uses alpha energy to influence how other dogs interact with their surroundings. Be calm but assertive when enforcing your expectations around the house.

2. Set boundaries
If you don’t want your dog on the couch, be clear about that expectation and stick to that boundary every time. Dogs assert their dominance by claiming space, so if your dog is getting a little full of himself, re-establish yourself as the alpha by reclaiming the couch or bed as your own. If he sees that you own the space, he will respect your asserted authority.

3. Make them wait

You can assert your leadership by making your dog wait to eat. Let him watch you eat first, or feed another, more submissive pet first.

4. Make them work
Asking your dog to perform tasks before getting things he wants can establish you as the leader. Make him go for a walk before he eats, make him calm down before letting him out of his crate, make sure he’s in a full down before offering praise. An added bonus: a tired dog is a well behaved dog!

5. Know your dogs
A real sign of leadership is knowing your dog(s) inside and out. When you know their quirks, habits, triggers, and setbacks, you can create a training plan, and an environment at home that helps keep your dog on the hierarchical ladder rung you want him on. When you really know your dog, you can set the right rules, boundaries, and limitations to set your dog up for a relaxed and happy life.