I just got a Saint, and I love him dearly. He seems to be very smart and loving. My only problem seems to be he doesn't accept me as boss yet. I've inquired into obedience schooling and I'll start next month, is there anything I can do in the mean time?
An important thing to think about when raising dogs is to consider how the wolves live. In a wolf pack, each wolf is numbered in a sense, starting with the alpha male. The list goes Alpha, 2, 3, 4, etc. all the way down until every wolf has a number. You need to establish with your puppy that you and your family are all above it in the order, meaning that you have dominance. A good excercise to show your puppy you are the dominant one is when the puppy misbehaves, to put the puppy on it's back(don't be afraid about hurting it. Puppies are tough, you won't hurt them unless of course you are being violent) and hold it's front paws in an X shape over it's chest. If the dog kicks or does not respond, you can secure it's lower body using light(just strong enough) pressure from your legs. When you have this dog in this position, yell "NO" repeatadly, and look it straight in the eye. As soon as the puppy is completely relaxed and turns it's head away from you, you know it has submitted to you. It's a good idea to keep that puppy in that position even for a good few seconds after it has submitted to you.
I've read recently that the "roll over" method of exerting dominance is a bad thing. " Training or teaching your dog shouldn't be a power struggle or war of egos. The alpha rollover is a good example of this. In the mid 1980's, it was touted as the key exercise in exerting dominance over your dog, to show them that you're the one in charge. We were all instructed to flip our dogs over on their backs and hold them down until they submitted to us. While this was probably devastating to most dogs, it was traumatic to very young dogs and to this day, when we hear of pups who bite or lunge excessively at their owners, a lot can be traced back to this exercise and the fact that the pup is now just trying to defend itself. This exercise is prevalent in many old-style dog training books. Job Michael Evans, a popular trainer in his time, suggested the alpha rollover in most of his puppy books published in the mid-1980's. Shortly before his death, he said that if he had one wish, he would recover all his books and change that chapter. " Tiny
I hae done that with Frosty when he was playing too rough with Coconut. But I always wondered if it was bad for him. I thought it would confuse him way too much. I'd asume if you want to have a submissive dog, you treat them like they are beneath you. Forcing them into a fight, basically, will teach them to fight harder.
You need to start making him 'work' for his living. From now on, only reward him with food, affection, petting, play time, etc when he sits. Put him in a 'sit' before everything. If you can, see if you can persuade him to lay down. Laying down before another is always a very submissive possition for dogs. I don't generally recommend you force a dog into a submissive position by using an 'alpha roll'. Instead, use a treat to persuade him. First get him to sit, then keeping him in the sit position, lower your hand with the treat down toward his forelegs. He shoudl automatically start to lower his head and body. You can give him a gentle push over to knock him off balance, and say 'Lay' and then reward with the treat and a lot of loving. Urge him to roll over to his back and rub his stomach, give him a good rubdown. This way you establish your dominance without forcing him in a manner that is pleasant for both you and the dog. You know, you can draw more flies with honey than with vinegar ;)
Go to the library and find Adoptable Dog: Teaching Your Pet How To Obey, Trust, and Love You by John Ross and Barbara McKinney. This book deals with dominance issues and shows how to teach your dog basic human/canine interaction.