How to Be an Alpha Dog

How to Be an Alpha Dog
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     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.59

     challenging words:    authority, command, commitment, confidence, dignity, disobedient, dog-lover, housebreak, minimal, occasionally, overdo, reprimand, sit-stay, sponsor, subtle, takeout

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How to Be an Alpha Dog
By Colleen Messina

1     A dog is a good pet. A well-trained dog is a fantastic pet! One way to train your dog more easily is by becoming the alpha dog in your house. Dogs are pack animals by nature, and the leader of the pack is called the alpha dog. The alpha dog eats first and tells the pack where to go. Professional dog trainers know how to be like an alpha dog as they train their animals, and many trainers use body language because every dog understands it. Here are some guidelines from professionals to help you train your dog:
2     1. When he is good, praise your dog and handle him firmly. An alpha dog is decisive! Hug him a lot, so he knows you love him. When you pat him, pat him firmly enough so your hand feels warm from the contact. However, don't overdo it when your dog follows a simple command. One professional instructor explained, "If he sits nicely, don't fawn over him if he wasn't that good." In other words, your praise must suit your dog's actions.
3     2. When he is bad or disobedient, reprimand him firmly and quickly, but then forgive him. Do not hit your dog. Shake his collar, or pull his leash instead. Discipline him with the authority of the alpha dog. When the dog does what you want, praise him.
4     How do you train your wonderful, wiggly new puppy? Dog obedience class is for dogs and people! A good class can also help you learn the basics of how to housebreak your pet and teach him not to chew or bite. It can be a fun social time for both of you. Remember, dogs are pack animals, and most dogs enjoy seeing other dogs. Many pet stores sponsor these classes for a minimal fee, and it is well worth the time and effort to take a class. Remember, a well-trained dog is much more fun! Once you have trained your dog, be sure he knows that you are still the top dog.

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