Like most of my clients, I’m a dog lover. My dogs are a part of the family. Many people have dogs for protection, sport or work. There is nothing wrong with this but I

I don’t buy the dominance-leader of the pack theory. A dog is not getting on your sofa because he is trying to take over. He gets there for the same reason we do; it’s comfortable. They get ahead of us because they are faster than we are. They jump up because it’s fun.

Cuddling with my puppy is not going to cause her to loose respect for me. Letting her jump up on me is not going to turn her dominant. If she doesn’t come when I call it not due to lack of leadership, it’s because I’ve not trained her sufficiently to come in a particular situation.

At this point you may be thinking that I don’t advocate training your dog at all. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think that it is important to train my dogs so that I can enjoy them more, have better control and keep them safe.

If my dog drags me down the street then I’m not going to enjoy walking her, she is not going to be safe. If she doesn’t come when called then I need to always have her on leash. If she jumps on me and my guests she is likely to hurt someone.

Training your dog and having rules and boundaries is important and will add to your enjoyment, increase your bond with your pet and make it less likely that you are going to feel you need to get rid of her. I know that most people do not want to spend a lot of time training their dog. Most people are only going to work on things that bother them or they get some pleasure from.

Think about what are a few basic commands that are important to you, easy to implement and help your dog to be safe. Some suggestions:

1. Sit/Stay- This is the basic command. Have your dog sit for feeding, at the door, for petting, when people enter your house. When your dog is sitting they can’t jump, run out the door etc.

2. Walk of loose leash at your side- Walking your dog calmly at your side is going to calm you both down and you will more enjoyment from the walk. Your dog is much less likely to react to other dogs, people and squirrels if she is focused on you. For every five minutes walking at your side stop and let him sniff and relax for one minute

3. Place- Teaching your dog to go to his place or bed will help him calm down and stay out of trouble. This is a very useful tool for families with small children.

4. Come when called- This takes work and your success depends of how much you work at it and how strong your dog’s prey drive is. If you want to stop your dog from running across the street to chase a squirrel you have to work at it. Start with getting your dog to come inside the house and inside a fenced area.

If you are going to implement a rule make sure it is something that makes sense to you and something you can be consistent with. If you want your dog on the furniture there is nothing wrong with that. If you prefer she stays off then teach her to stay on her bed. Enjoy your dogs and give them lots of love, affection, treats and attention. Reward the behaviors you enjoy and replace the behaviors that bother you. You are your dog’s teacher, parent, friend and leader.

Remember, the affection is for you, the direction is for your dog. Be sure to seek a true balance of both. Work to be as believable in your affection as you are in your discipline. If you’ll strike this balance and really work to make it happen, having a Dream Dog and a mutually loving and respectful relationship is yours for the asking.

Being your dog’s Dream Person means balancing affection with direction.