Improving Relationships Between People and Pets!


Positive Dog Parenting™
by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, M

  Introduction |  Topics by Age  | Behavior Tools


Because we love our dogs, there is a natural tendency to pamper them. We think it's cute when dogs show us what they want and so we respond by giving it to them. Many dogs filter this loving generosity through their "pack" mentality and assume they are higher ranking and therefore can control us to some degree. This leads to trouble in a human household.

Following the leader

Since dogs are genetically evolved from wolves, their instinct is to figure out the pack hierarchy and then fit into it.

Its best if a family dog recognizes all people as friendly, powerful givers of the resources necessary to thrive and survive.

If humans are higher status in the dogs mind, they have the right to ask the dog to respond to words the dog knows such as, "Off," "Come," "Sit," "Down," or "Stay." 

The goal is for the dog to accept all people - who have been introduced to him or her - as friendly, powerful cookie givers.

Finding the leader

Resources are anything the dog values such as food, toys, treats, access to the yard, walks, the best resting areas, praise, petting, and play. The true human leader controls these resources and expects the dog to earn the goods by doing the work.

For a dog, the work is responding to words the dog know with actions such as coming when called, sitting or staying when asked. The dog's work is "learning to earn" what the dog values.

It's a good idea to ask the dog to earn something on a daily basis. For example, before every meal, ask the dog to sit, lie down, or wait. In less than a minute, you have reminded the dog he who pays for the food, owns it, and provides it.

This "learn to earn" approach replaces any reason to hit, spank, or physically punish the dog. This approach reinforces the innate social structure of the dog, helps the dog to trust people, and to look for cues on what to do and how to behave.

In addition, the dog sees family members as the providers  rather than servants.

The dog must "learn to earn" all the valued resources. This makes people powerful, friendly providers of everything good.

Catch your dog doing something right!

If your dog is lying quietly indoors instead of responding to usual triggers to bark, praise the dog for doing what you want. In this situation, the dog has already earned the praise.

Look for as many opportunities as possible to praise your dog for showing you behaviors you want. Use a soothing voice tone or praise may trigger your dog to jump into action.

As these opportunities become more frequent, and your dog becomes accustomed to this program, you will soon realize that you have the best dog and best friend ever!

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