The following procedure is designed to convince the dog that it is the person, not the dog, who is pack leader by going through a training and behavior modification program. Since people are ill - equipped to deal with a physical challenge on the dog’s level, our recommendations for convincing your dog that he is no longer pack leader are subtle and non-physical, but they work.
THE FOLLOWING RULES MUST BE ADHERD TO BY THE DOG’S OWNERS AT ALL TIMES!
1) Train on a regular basis. This teaches the dog in a positive manner that the owner is in control.
2) Absolutely, NO FOOD TREATS unless the dog has worked for it. To perform a function or obey a command such as SIT or DOWN. The dog is given no between meal snacks except those he earns.
3) When the dog nudges his owner’s arm to be petted, he is given a command such as SIT and, if already sitting, a DOWN. If he refuses count 2 – 3 seconds and quietly walk away until later. This can be carried over to include such requests as walk, car rides, playing games, opening doors, and mealtime, ect.
4) The dog is never petted for more than three seconds at a time. He should not be mindlessly stroked for minutes on end.
5) At the end of three seconds, the owner says “NO MORE” or “ENOUGH” or some other command word used consistently, fold your arms and ignore the dog, NEVER resume petting once you have said the command until ten minutes or more has lapsed.
6) The dog is not permitted to proceed the owner/handler through doorways or up and down stairs. Use the door to stop the dog’s rushing through. This exercise is also called a safety exercise.
7) Give the dog ONLY THREE toys to play with. Everything else belongs to the owner/handler.
8) THE ONLY GAME PLAYED WITH THE DOG IS FETCH! NO tug-of-war, wrestling, or chase games. Physical games encourage the dog to pit his strength against the owner/handler. Additionally, games such as tug-of-war encourage growling, and usually end with the owner getting tired of the game and giving up the rag, towel, sock, etc. This teaches the dog to persevere until he wins. Fetch, on the other hand, teaches the dog to work for the owner/handler. The dog is, however, made to bring the object back to the owner/handler, and release it on command. Initially this may mean playing with the dog on a long line. DO NOT LET THIS REGRESS into a game of chase, where you throw the object out, the dog goes and gets it, then turns and looks at you as if to say, “AH HA, now I’ve got it, get it if you can!” That will defeat the whole purpose. REMEMBER: REMAIN IN CONTROL OF THE SITUATION AT ALL TIMES.
9) Once the training program is completed, the owner must continue to work with the dog on a regular daily basis. The sessions need not be long – five or ten minutes is sufficient to put the dog through his paces.
10) Initially, you must do five long downs with your dog, each week. After you have gained moderate control of the situation and your dog, you may drop it to three times a week. This will continue for the rest of the dog’s life, or you will risk the dog regressing back to his previous dominant, alpha state. Try to incorporate the long down into your schedule, dinnertime, lunch time, and getting ready for work in the morning. Just so you are in a position to watch your dog and place him back into the down if he should move.
11) The dog is required to stand, sit or lay still during grooming. Initially, you as the owner may have to work for short periods to enforce this. REMEMBER – DON’T LET IT TURN INTO A CONTEST OF WILLS –go for short periods of time and work your way up – 30 seconds the first day, 45 seconds the second day, 1 minute the third day, take your time – be patient, but once you have started, don’t stop until you have gotten that days time allotment of grooming done.
12) When you vacuum or sweep the floor, or if the dog is lying in front of the cabinet door or doorway to which you need access, or if the dog is sleeping in the owner’s direct line of travel across the room, the dog is made to move. The owner does not work around the dog. As pack leader, the owner has the right to go anywhere in the territory. The other pack members must get out of the way.
13) Never allow the dog to sleep on your bed. This belongs solely to you, as pack leader. You may on occasion, give the dog permission to lie beside you for awhile, but you say how long and when the time is up, the dog must get off. Do not allow your dog to be on the bed at any time when you are initially starting these exercises. When you have determined that you are the pack leader, then you can attempt to allow the dog up for five minutes – no more, extend the time if you continue to have no problems.
14) NEUTER OR SPAY THE DOG! This is very important. In a real pack, only the ALPHA MALE AND FEMALE ARE ALLOWED TO PROCREATE. If you have a dog that is aggressive, he/she will pass these traits onto their offspring. Not to mention the problems involved with an intact male dog once he realizes what a female in season is all about. Both male and female will be much better pets if they are neutered or spayed. Male dogs won’t wander away every time there is a dog within five miles in season and females won’t go through the weirdies involved with being in season. Both male and female will be more stable and more focused on you. Remember – you are responsible for every puppy you allow to be born into this world because you have an intact male or female dog!
This approach to curing aggression by taking over pack leadership, does not involve the owner confronting his dog in any physical battles or using force to show him who’s boss. Dogs are willing to relinquish pack leadership to another pack member who deserves it.