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When you are trying to train your dog, it is important to understand what your dog thinks. First of all, dogs are social animals, and this is what you need to know in order to establish the best relationship with your pet. If you understand this basic concept, training your dog will be easier.

Dog running and jumping an obstacle

Dogs are happy to be with humans and become good companions when puppies and adults. They naturally like people and families, because their instinct for backpacks makes it easy for them to find a place in the group. Social animals divide their communities into different levels, with the leader of the community at the top. This leader sets the direction for the team.

Woman with her happy dog

The next level is like the second in command. Before you reach the bottom, everyone's dominance in the group will decrease. When in groups, dogs understand where each animal in the group is on the pyramid, and they naturally enter these roles. Because this is their instinct, dogs naturally want to be part of a group or group, which is why they are so easy to integrate into a family group.

Happy family with dog

When you bring a puppy or even an adult dog home, it automatically views everyone in the household as part of a pack. And by instinct it needs to immediately determine where it falls into the family pack; it needs to understand what level it belongs in. Your dog will need to understand who leads and who follows. 

Illustration of a family on a ladder with the dog thinking "where do I fit in?"

The problem arises when no one seems to be a clear leader. If you do not immediately establish your leadership position, your dog will feel uncomfortable because there is no leader. Your dog's instinct will be to be a leader to ensure that the pack is strong. Even a puppy will try to play a leadership role because it knows there must be one.

Dog dressed as king

However, if you immediately establish yourself as a leader, your dog will fall into the group pyramid and will happily see you as the person in charge. There are several important things you can do to make sure your dog knows that you are the boss.

Dog sitting

Physical contact. 

It’s important to take care of your pet and groom your dog.  Even if your pet doesn’t like being brushed or having his nails clipped, don’t show that you’ll defer to his wishes. 

Puppy cutting his nails

Ground rules.  

Don’t let your pet chew on your shoes because you think it’s cute unless you want him to chew on your shoes forever. You’ll confuse her later for punishing him for doing the same thing.

puppy chewing a shoe

Be consistent. 

If you don’t want your dog to do something, stop him every time and don’t ever let it go.  Be consistent with your praise, and praise your dog when he does things right. 

Man making the command for the dog to stay seated

Following these basic rules to establish yourself as in charge will save you a great deal of frustration as your puppy grows

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