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Question
Posted by: Lara | 2012/04/23

Alpha Male?

My year old Boston Terrier is so well behaved at home, yet runs amock when we are at the park and doesnt listen to me.... he runs off to raid picnics, and wont come when called. His " dad"  and I split up 4 months ago, and he seems to think its because there is no longer an Alpha male in the house.... What options do I have to make him listen to me and come when called?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Lara, it is important for a dog to know that his 'person' is in control. If he feels you are losing your grip, so to speak, behaviours such as the above become the norm, and other behaviours start to show as well. What I would suggest is that you bring in some basic House Rules, to show your little one that you are in charge, and in these incorporate the recall. I will give you the basic idea here how to go about this, but would suggest that you read all the House Rules as well as something that is called the Real Reliable Recall. Both these articles are available on my free website. I will put in details at the bottom.
1.Attention is given on your terms, or not at all. If your little one comes and demands attention from you, whether asking for a love, sitting on your foot, jumping up on chair without being invited etc, etc, totally ignore the behaviour. Do not talk, look at, or interact with the dog at all. If he jumps up on chairs, put him on floor, if he does this again, put him back on floor. This does not mean he can never come on the chair again, he can, BUT when you invite him. If he comes for a love, just turn your head away and ignore him. this applies to ALL situations where he wants attention. As the pack leader, it is up to you to decide when you give attention and how much. this is a form of 'dog language' which dogs easily recognize and will help to raise you higher in the combined human/canine pack.
2. Work to earn. As you and i need to work to earn our livings, so too should your dog. When you are at home, take his daily food allowance and put some in your pocket, some on top of a cupboard etc. For every single piece of his kibble, he has to come when called, sit in front of you, and then he gets a piece of food. At our fingertips we have all the resources we need to show our dogs we are pack leaders, so take advantage of these. I would suggest that you bring in a new word/cue, as the old one you used - perhaps dogs name and come/here-does not work, so change it to something like 'akee'. The article on the Real Reliable Recall is absolutely brilliant and shows you how, in a few days, you can have a dog that comes reliably to you every single time you call.
I would also suggest that when at the park, you keep him on lead until you really have him coming back reliably each and every time. Every time he gets the opportunity to run away and you call and chase him, the behaviour of doing this is reinforced and makes the behaviour harder to change. On the site there is also an article on Recall using long line. Basically after you have brought in the basics, in situations like the park, you start off with the dog on a long rope and call him back to you, reward, let him go again. Please do look at these articles as they will give you much more in-depth information than I can do here. They are all on the Dog Stuff section of the website. The site is www.friendsofthedog.co.za. Please dont hesitate to give me a shout if there is something there you dont understand or what any more help. Good luck and do let me know how you go, thks S

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2012/04/24

Hi Lara, it is important for a dog to know that his 'person' is in control. If he feels you are losing your grip, so to speak, behaviours such as the above become the norm, and other behaviours start to show as well. What I would suggest is that you bring in some basic House Rules, to show your little one that you are in charge, and in these incorporate the recall. I will give you the basic idea here how to go about this, but would suggest that you read all the House Rules as well as something that is called the Real Reliable Recall. Both these articles are available on my free website. I will put in details at the bottom.
1.Attention is given on your terms, or not at all. If your little one comes and demands attention from you, whether asking for a love, sitting on your foot, jumping up on chair without being invited etc, etc, totally ignore the behaviour. Do not talk, look at, or interact with the dog at all. If he jumps up on chairs, put him on floor, if he does this again, put him back on floor. This does not mean he can never come on the chair again, he can, BUT when you invite him. If he comes for a love, just turn your head away and ignore him. this applies to ALL situations where he wants attention. As the pack leader, it is up to you to decide when you give attention and how much. this is a form of 'dog language' which dogs easily recognize and will help to raise you higher in the combined human/canine pack.
2. Work to earn. As you and i need to work to earn our livings, so too should your dog. When you are at home, take his daily food allowance and put some in your pocket, some on top of a cupboard etc. For every single piece of his kibble, he has to come when called, sit in front of you, and then he gets a piece of food. At our fingertips we have all the resources we need to show our dogs we are pack leaders, so take advantage of these. I would suggest that you bring in a new word/cue, as the old one you used - perhaps dogs name and come/here-does not work, so change it to something like 'akee'. The article on the Real Reliable Recall is absolutely brilliant and shows you how, in a few days, you can have a dog that comes reliably to you every single time you call.
I would also suggest that when at the park, you keep him on lead until you really have him coming back reliably each and every time. Every time he gets the opportunity to run away and you call and chase him, the behaviour of doing this is reinforced and makes the behaviour harder to change. On the site there is also an article on Recall using long line. Basically after you have brought in the basics, in situations like the park, you start off with the dog on a long rope and call him back to you, reward, let him go again. Please do look at these articles as they will give you much more in-depth information than I can do here. They are all on the Dog Stuff section of the website. The site is www.friendsofthedog.co.za. Please dont hesitate to give me a shout if there is something there you dont understand or what any more help. Good luck and do let me know how you go, thks S

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