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Hierarchy 101

By: Theresa Pitner | August 17, 2019

Dogs view their world in hierarchies all the time.

They are constantly looking at their world questioning where they are at that moment of time. They do this with their humans, other dogs in the house even cats. What is important to remember is the humans have to be the leader 100% of the time. It is all part of the canine makeup.

In the wild the leaders leave the cave to go hunting and the subordinates stay. In our world it is the human that leaves the house and the dog always stay. We give them rules such as when to eat, when to go to the bathroom, not to bite the mailman, don’t eat the couch, etc. So when we give them mixed signals such as allow the dogs to push us aside while they go outside, demand attention by barking, pawing, jumping, etc.… confusion sets in. And for some dogs that inconsistencies can lead to undesirable behaviors.

We have to remind our dogs that we at the top of the hierarchy in the household. We can do this with some simple exercises:

  • Earn their affection: must sit and focus on us before you get a pet
  • Earn their food: must sit and focus on us before we put the bowl down
  • Earn the privilege to go outside: “BACK” command
  • Earn the privilege to come up on the couch: Must focus on you before they jump on the couch. Give the command of “UP”. And get off the couch with a simple “off command”. If jump on couch without permission. Just gently pull down and do the technique.

Theresa Pitner

Theresa has worked with people and their beloved canines since her family moved to Salisbury, North Carolina in 2000. Her 20+ years of experience as a social worker has given her the unique perspective that teaching the human is the first step toward understanding and improving the relationship with the family dog.

Training that makes sense!

Understanding Your Dog’s mission is simple, help people and their dogs have the best relationship possible. Theresa Pitner, the experienced dog trainer for Understanding Your Dog, accomplishes this by providing training that makes sense to humans so they can enjoy their relationship with their pet.

ABOUT US

Understanding Your Dog’s mission is simple, help people and their dogs have the best relationship possible. Theresa Pitner, the experienced dog trainer for Understanding Your Dog, accomplishes this by providing training that makes sense to humans so they can enjoy their relationship with their pet.