The leader of the pack - your puppy or you?

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Who's the leader of the pack?

Dogs are pack animals and are used to having a leader. In this case, the leader is you. Setting some rules early on will help your puppy to feel secure and help develop a bond between you. You need your puppy to think of you and your family as being above him in the pecking order. The following rules will help you establish this:

Table manners

In the wild, the leader of the pack should eats first. Your puppy will accept this but you must reinforce it. Your puppy's mealtimes should be separate to yours. If you do feed him scraps while you're eating, he'll think he's in charge and it will be very difficult to get him to stop bothering you. This can make life difficult, especially when you have visitors. For more information see Ground rules

Bedside manners

The leader always gets the best place to sleep, so your puppy needs to know that your bed is a no go area. If you start to let him on or into your bed, you'll never get him out. And, he'll become very territorial about it, thinking the bed is his area.

He's not always the centre of attention

As leader of the pack, your puppy needs to respect your need for time alone. If you don't make this apparent, he'll think you want him involved in everything you do - even following you to places you'd rather he didn't. To help him get used to not being fussed over, set aside a period of 20 minutes to half an hour when you do not give your dog any attention at all. It sounds harsh, but he should get used to not having you at his beck and call.

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