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Dog Perception Management by Dr. Rolan Tripp

Take Over The Dog Bed

This technique is indicated as part of the Positive Human Leadership program, and assumes your dog has one or more designated "dog beds" that he or she likes to lay on. If the dog does not have a favored sleeping spot other than the human bed, this technique is not indicated. During this leadership program, it is best if the dog is not allowed on the human bed.

In wolf packs, the lead wolf has access to any favored sleeping spot as a benefit of leadership. It is a status symbol. In the home setting, if the dog is disobedient, or "bossy", the goal is to communicate that you are the leader, and have the right to give instructions that are followed. One non-violent way to indicate "in dog language" that you have leadership, is to sit in any resting spot, including the dog's bed. Conversely, the dog can only sit in those spots you approve. Sitting in the dog's bed a few times, for several seconds, is one more way to try to communicate human leadership, without resorting to physical conflict.

In "dog language" if you have leadership, you may sit in any resting spot, including the dog's bed.

Before doing this exercise, it is necessary to complete other aspects of leadership. If the dog does not see you as leader first, and you try to take over his or her bed, it could result in a power struggle that might include aggression. Other leadership techniques are explained elsewhere, Look for topics such as  "Learn to Earn" and others.

To avoid any negative outcome from taking over the dog bed, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Test your leadership with a surprise Instruction like SIT, at any time, just to see if the dog will follow your instructions. If the dog will readily SIT and MOVE for you, this exercise is probably not necessary.

  • Don't trap the dog in a bed in a corner. If necessary, move the bed when the dog is not present. Give an honorable exit so you are not run over in the process.

The rule is that the dog may occupy the dog bed any time you - as leader - don't want it.

  • Pick a time when both you and the dog are relaxed, and the dog is in the bed.

  • Don't use your hands to remove the dog from the bed. Ask the dog to COME, and reward with lavish praise and even a cookie.

  • If the dog WILL NOT leave the bed voluntarily, leave a leash or long lead attached to the collar, or use a broom or big pillow. Do not scare, or scold the dog for not moving. Just be neutral, as if this is no big deal.

  • Consider tethering the dog to a nearby observation spot.

  • It is only necessary to sit for a few seconds to establish ownership of the resting spot.

  • Look at the dog, and when the dog is acting calm, move off the bed.

  • When finished, release the dog to go back and occupy the bed.

  • Begin teaching the word "off" so in the future you can simply give a cue for the dog to leave the bed. Teaching Off

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