Owning a dog, especially a Jack Russell is not as easy as just bringing your dog home, feeding and playing with him. Dog ownership involves commitment on your side. As such, one of the first things that you will need to prepare for your dog is for him to be involved in dog obedience training.
However to make it easier for yourself to obedience train your dog, you will have to establish this role popularly referred to as the “Alpha Dog” role for yourself. In this role, you are actually assigning yourself to become your terrier’s pack leader. It is important for you to take on this position because you can adjust your perceptions to be more like your dog, rather than the other way around. Dogs also cannot understand the consequences of their actions.
In the Alpha Dog role, you will need to perform specific set of tasks on a daily basis. These set of actions established the control and structure necessary to shape the life of your dog. Ideally you should start implementing these strategies as early as possible.
I would like to share with you some of the strategies that I have successfully used.
Alpha Leader Strategies
It is important that you do these things on a daily and consistent basis so that it becomes a part of you, your dog and your family’s lifestyle. You should come up with a set of “rules” as it is then easier to enforce them if something is not in line with those rules. The rules could be something simple such as not to shout at your dog when he is barking excessively etc
As the Alpha leader, you will have to make sure that you observe and practice the following:
• Set up and have the whole family understand the rules
• Implement and enforce the rules immediately – as soon as you bring your dog or puppy home
• Be consistent in applying the rules
• Never apply the rules when you are angry or tired
• Never yell or hit your dog
• Never reinforce fearful or aggressive behavior
• Always reward good behavior with affections and treats
Your Jack Russell is a very smart dog. Even with rules in place, he will always still be challenging you for the Alpha Dog position unless you established this dominance first. Here some important factors to note in the process to establish yourself as the Alpha Dog.
• Be calm and assertive – as a leader, you must be calm and be sure of yourself at all times. You must always be consistent and persistent in your actions. On your dog’s side, before you allow your dog to do something, you should require him to remain calm and submissive. This is especially important during leash training and feeding time. Training your dog to be calm and submissive will also make it easier to avoid the anxious behavior symptom commonly known as separation anxiety.
• Reward your dog – like all of us, dogs can be conditioned with rewards. For example, when you train your Jack Russell to sit and you give him a treat the first 10 times he sits, he will associate to the fact that sitting is a good thing. Later, you can replace the treat with praise and he will likely to still sit because he is expecting your positive attention. Eventually, simply responding to your command will be enough.
• Body language is key – dogs respond to many stimuli and the body language is one of them. Stand tall, hold your head straight and don’t back away when addressing them. You don’t need to stare them in the eye or yell and you should always remain confident and in full control.
Understand how to be an Alpha Dog to your Jack Russell and you will find that your dog will respond to your commands and also be more easily trained and obedient. On top of that, the dog problems that your friends are having with their dogs about are strangely not present any more in your Jack Russell when you become his Alpha leader.