One of the first things you should do to create a strong bond and balanced relationship with your new dog is to be the Pack Leader from day one. Knowing your pack takes time, patience, and acceptance. Then formulating a plan, setting an intention, and following through is what creates even more strength in your relationship, bond, and its depth.
Here are some important points to remember in your role as Pack Leader for your new dog or puppy:
- Create a schedule that includes a daily 30 to 45-minute power-walk in the morning. This is critical for your dog’s health, both physical and mental.
- Set aside time every day to provide mental exercise by maintaining rules, boundaries, and limitations. When these needs are met, the affection you give to your dog will be channeled as a reward.
- Enlist your whole family in the process of bringing a new dog home. Discuss what their responsibilities will be before the puppy or dog arrives.
- Research dog breeds and find one that best fits your lifestyle. For example, more active breeds, like hunting and herding dogs, require more exercise to stay physically and mentally content. But remember, breed is not destiny. Assess the individual dog’s energy level before taking him or her home.
- Always walk out the door ahead of your dog when leaving the house. This will show your new dog who is in the leadership role.
- While dog walking, make sure that your dog is not in front of you, pulling you down the street. Instead, keep your dog to your side or behind you. This will also demonstrate to your dog that you are the alpha figure.
- Give your dog something to do before you share food, water, toys, or affection. This way the dog earns his treat. For example, have him or her perform the Sit or Down command.
A new dog will adjust best if his new family learns these pack leadership lessons before he arrives. Remember, dogs don’t crave a fancy treat or bed; they need you to become their stable Pack Leader to demonstrate love in a way they understand.