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Old March 25th, 2011, 09:02 PM
SamIam SamIam is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 447
Actually? The only person who can give you a score is you! Just from reading the questions, you probably have a pretty good idea what the "right" answers are. What we are doing is showing your dog that you are the dominant/leader member of the family (and remember ALL humans including very small ones should outrank all dogs) and that you control the things he values.

The worst scenarios are when someone gives all the "right" answers but has a very badly behaved dog, or when they are unwilling to make any changes. Most people will give a combination of "right" and "wrong" answers, and are willing to change some, but not all of what they are doing. The worse your dog's behaviour is, the more of these you should do. Many dogs go through stages either due to maturity, or due to life changes like a new home or new family member, "act out" at those times, and need a reminder of who's in charge.

The answer to my question is yes, you are doing other leadership things with your dog!

If you have any behaviour problems now or in the future, do some or all these suggestions for a week or two, or even permanently:

Food doesn't fall out of heaven or grow out of empty bowls. It is earned, piece by piece, in exchange for work, or given, at human-decided mealtimes, to polite dogs. Yes, they know you eat first, and they care. Good neutral spot for them to eat. Good keeping them out of your food areas.
Keeping him out of the bedroom (and ideally out of respect for you, not just from a closed door) is a possibility. People whose dogs are outdoors only or only in the porch or one room tend to have fewer problems, for some dogs that's a possibility. Off the furniture is good. Dogs allowed on the furniture could be grounded (literally!) for a while and they do respond to that.
You should go first, when possible, through a doorway, gate, hall, stairs and there should be no pushing and shoving. Leash-training and leash-practice can help with respect. I would have the shoulder (small dogs), neck (medium dogs) or skull (large dogs) beside your leg. Behind that but not lagging to the end of the leash is fine too, unless you are in an obedience ring. You should be able to turn without pulling on the leash or tripping on your dog - this only happens if he's paying attention to you and respecting your choice of which direction to go. Exercise with a harness and sled/bike is fine, providing he is trained to turn/stop/slow when asked.
Games like tug, fetch, and wrestling are not necessary, but if you do play them, you need to win every time, and play/quit when you decide. This is often an issue with small kids, who tend to lose.
You should be able to touch and restrain your dog everywhere, such as feet, ears, nose, and in every position, such as him lying down, without a problem because (1) you are the leader and get to do whatever you want and (2) you are trustworthy and would never hurt him. (Not all dogs believe that of their owners, even if it is true.) Allowing him to dance around when you are putting on the harness is your choice. If you are getting frustrated with it, or if you want others to be able to put it on him, teach him to stand nicely for it.
Personal space is the most important aspect, but it is also the most difficult to assess without actually seeing you and him interact. Most people need a lot of improvement in this area. I think but can't promise you that you are already doing fairly well... so for now I'll leave you with the vague instruction, personal space is very important!

So my assessment?
(1) You are doing a lot of things that support your role as the leader, AND
(2) You have a lot of things that you could change if you want now, or want in the future to change his behaviour.

What is your assessment?
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