A lot of people want to become dog owners without thinking about everything that comes along with it. Not only do they not usually think about everything but many people don’t realize that their behavior can potentially rub off onto their dog.
Here are some things every dog owner should know:
Be a good pack leader: It’s the rule number one. Regardless of the dog’s size, being a confident pack leader is highly important. Most dog behaviour problems occur because the owners allow their “babies” do what they want, which results in the dog’s being the leader and wrapping the owner around its tail. Have you ever watched a snappish Chihuahua that barks when it wants to and no one in the household can manage it? A classic example of dog dominant behaviour. Dogs respond best to clear leadership. You don’t have to be harsh or brutal in order to establish the limitations and rules of your home. You just have to be consistent and firm.
Don’t treat your dog like a human or child: Every dog owner loves his dog. It’s natural. But often our love, expressed in a wrong moment, causes lots of problems. We should clearly realize that a dog is an animal with pack instincts but not a human baby covered with fur. For example, if the dog’s scared and you’re trying to comfort it like you’d do it for a child saying “It’s okay”, this will most probably enforce the wrong behaviour because the dog will take it as an approval of its actions. In other words, if the mind is fearful (aggressive, possessive, etc) and you say “It’s okay”, it means it’s okay to be fearful (aggressive, possessive, etc).
Body language is the key: When you communicate with your dog, it is very important to use language clear to you both. As we’ve figured out above, dogs do not understand our phrases and words (unless it’s a command such as sit, lay, heel, etc). But dogs do understand body language – their natural way to communicate with other dogs. If your spirit is not strong enough, in most cases your movements and walk will lack confidence, your shoulders may be hunched, etc. Dogs clearly perceive this, and they will quickly try to take over the leading position.
Every dog needs physical exercises, mental exercises, and love: If you want your dog to be happy, respect its natural needs. Physical exercises such as daily walks, jogging, active games such as fetching are very important to help your companion burn its energy, especially if you have a large dog. Mental exercises are also necessary (including discipline and limitations). If you don’t give your dog enough mental work, if the dog has no mission or purpose, it may develop various obsessions trying to keep its mind busy.
Proper socialization is vital: Without it, dogs can become really aggressive to other animals and people. At worst, a poorly socialized dog can be put down because it becomes too dangerous to the society, and it isn’t the dog’s fault. Remember about that.
Being the pack leader or setting limitations is not mean, it is necessary. Dogs are pack animals and will actually bond with you more if you treat them like part of your pack but don’t let them lead. It is easier for them to fall in line and it makes them much happier to have a leader to look up to and depend on.
Can you point out other reasons why this type of lead behavior is beneficial?