If there is ONE idea I’d love to eliminate from dog owner’s brains, it is the notion of dominance. The idea that our dogs are in some never ending game of one-upsmanship with us. Seeking to increase their rank. Along with this idea and related to it, is the notion of the pack. Both dominance and pack are what I call ‘sticky’ ideas. They stick in people’s brains. Sadly, they’ve also been promoted by some trainers.


Here’s the reality. Dogs aren’t rank seekers. And even if they were, they wouldn’t seek compete for rank with us as we are NOT perceived by our dogs as dogs. Much of the training that is based on dominance and pack theories is at best not helpful and can lead to some significant behavioural fall out. I’ve seen more than one dog go from being a happy meal time eater to acting like a rabid badger during meals BECAUSE the well intentioned owner used a suggested training method to ‘establish your alpha status’ and ended up with a problem behaviour.


I encourage folks to read this very good article on dominance and rank in domestic dogs. The biggest and most reputable veterinary/trainer/behaviour consulting organizations do not support the notion of dominance as an issue in the human-dog relationship.


https://www.apbc.org.uk/pet-owner-article/why-wont-dominance-die/


Leash walks can only take us so far. Most of us can find them fairly boring and quite a few dogs don’t find them sufficiently engaging to provide enough enrichment. So…how DO you provide exercise when you are limited to leash walks? The answer is you get creative.

Beau and Jo in the ultimate dog backyard!

You can set up little jumps in your hallway using books or other heavy objects to brace dowelling or broom handles. You can find cheap pylons and drill holes in them for more sophisticated jumps.

A lightly inflated air mattress is a good way to start helping your dog work on balance and learning to adjust to an unstable surface.

You can take low box, fill it with something heavy, close the top and use it as a perch to teach your dog to put their front legs onto it. Or jump on it and sit or do a down. If you really get ambitious, you can try to teach your dog to back onto the perch.

Set up two small circular boxes and have your dog put one front leg on each. This is a somewhat more difficult task for some dogs, but if you start small and work your way up, then you will accomplish quite a bit.

I have an island in my kitchen and when I have no other ideas for exercise, we do walking/heeling exercises around the island. It’s a good time for me to reinforce and sharpen up their “watch me” (eye contact cue) and “Get In” (heeling cue)

Remember, most dogs aren’t volunteers. They want to be paid for their work, just as we do. Reward their progress as they go along. Think outside of the box, as it were.

 364 pugs rescued since October, 2005

Pugalug Pug Rescue is a registered charity #85426-8430 RR0001

  • Facebook
  • Instagram