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You are the Alpha in your pack

Do not take this subject lightly. Puppies grow up into dogs. Dogs need leadership and guidance so they understand when their behavior is no longer appropriate. Any dog in your household that does not accept you as the Pack Leader, or Alpha, is going to be difficult to handle somewhere down the line.

A 10-pound puppy is one thing, but when Max grows into a 45, 50, or 100-pound dog, you will be happy that he knows YOU are the boss.


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The Puppy Baby Book

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This unique “fill in the blanks” book gives dog lovers the same opportunity to chart their puppies growth and progress, as parents of infants do with their baby books.


There are a lot of things you can do to establish your role as the Alpha, or Pack Leader. First of all, this leadership role commands respect and establishes trust between you and your puppy. You will not be respected if you are cruel or aggressive, or if you yell and scream at your pup. Being the leader means you have to be firm with your puppy. When you say NO, that’s it. There should never be wiggle room around the command NO. That sends a confusing message to the puppy and if there is one thing you do not want to be unclear about is what you mean when you say NO.

When your puppy (or any dog) trusts you explicitly, life will be a lot easier for everyone in your household. He will know that you would never do anything to harm him intentionally and it will make everything much easier, such as grooming, clipping his nails, cleaning his ears, giving him medicine, and following commands.

To establish yourself as the pack leader, there are a few exercises you can do with the puppy. These two exercises are broken down to the age of the puppy. You must treat the puppy gently as if he were a human infant.

Puppies up to three-months old

1. Sit on the floor. Pick up the puppy with both hands behind his front legs. Make sure he is facing you.
• Hold him at arms-length.
• Look directly into his eyes.
• Growl if he struggles, using a deep voice.
• Hold him until he relaxes.
• Keep him in this position 15 to 45 seconds.

2. Sit on the floor. Cradle the puppy by placing one hand under his head and the other supporting his back so he is upside down on his back with his feet up in the air*.
• Hold the puppy for 15 to 45 seconds.
• Growl if he struggles, using a deep voice.
• Hold him until he relaxes.
*If this is a large puppy, follow the steps in the six-month old directions.

Puppies up to six-months old

1. Stand over your puppy, with him between your legs (you should both be facing the same direction).
• Lock your fingers together under his chest, just behind the front legs.
• Lift his front legs off the ground for 15 to 45 seconds.
• If he struggles, growl at him till he is quiet.

2. Have your puppy lie down on the floor with all four legs pointing away from you.
• Hold him firmly by the neck with one hand, and press down on his midsection with the other hand.
• Talk to him softly—it might take two or three minutes to get him to relax.
The goal is to have him expose his belly in submission. Praise him when he relaxes.
• Do not allow him to struggle, get up, or nip at you.
• Hold each of his paws 15-45 seconds.
• Open his mouth and look inside so he can get used to tolerating your handling him gently.
• Repeat this exercise multiple times a day.
• When he accepts your handling in this manner, taper off to once a day and then a couple of times a week.

Be sure to document your puppy training in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, you might want a beautiful, frame-worthy Obedience Training certificate for when your puppy graduates!