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Hey guys let me givve you a run down on me first, im a college student studying firefighting (which i should be studying for !), i have alot of spare time and enjoy hiking in mountanous areas so i needed a partner, i rescued a 3 month old german shepherd lab mix. previously when i lived with my parents we had a jack russel ever since he was a puppy, we could never really train him because we didnt know how as new owners, this time im going to try and get the training right and make my new puppy (Koda) very loyal and obedient. ive been reading quite a bit on training and ive come across being "dominant" and the "alpha" in the relationship, so ive been doing such things as ignoring the whining, eating before him, using a firm voice, not letting him on the couch or bed, not letting him on my lap, petting him only when hes submissive. Now my question; he is only 3 months old and i feel very guilty/mean for not cuddling him and letting him on the couch!! but i really do want an obedient dog, will he not love me if im to strict with him? maybe i feel bad because i let my jack russel do all these things. what are your thoughts... eventually i want to be able to walk trails without him on a leash and know in my mind that he loves me and will protect me if something happens...
 

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You've fallen for the meme that is dominance theory. Don't worry, substitute it for NILF and love your dog for the behavior you can get. Win-win.
 

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Like curbside said, forget about all that dominance stuff. Our dogs dont try to dominate us :) That myth has been perpetuated by a certain TV personality, but that way of thinking has been disproven. Love your puppy!
 

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2nd on the NILF

I too am a new dog owner. It seemed harsh to start but as time goes on, I think you will see that you can adjust the way you interact according to what is best for you and then the pup. It seems like being mean but my pup responded well and she seems happier and more well-rounded than other dogs I've seen that got no training.

You are taking care of him and showing him the world and as he comes to know his place in your little family (pack) he will be much happier.

To answer your question, dogs are a lot like children, they will flourish when they are aware of their boundaries. Too much freedom is never good. Respect is a necessary precursor to all other adventures with your little guy. If you do this right, he will respect you and love you.

Just one question, what does it mean that you are petting him only when he's submissive?
 

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If something seems harsh or wrong, it probably is. You knew in your gut that the alpha thing was wrong. The best advice I can give is, read through the board here, plus the stickie's, and dont sweat the small stuff.
 

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The main thing is to teach him a set of rules - your rules, such as only on the couch when you invite him, only cuddle when invited, only play when invited. But you don't have to be unyielding and strict. (NILIF): You can teach him that if he comes to you and sits, then you will cuddle or play.... You'll have lots more questions, ask them while he's young, and try to be gentle and loving. Now I have a question: Pix ? BTW, my avatar is an 11 yo Lab-GSD mix.
 

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I agree with Hank, you do not need to be mean but you do need to teach manners and rules and this takes lot of patients. For example my lab puppy when I got him, the first time I fixed his meal he was jumping on me and on the back of my legs and so on and trying to jump at the bowl as I was setting it down. At first I thought it was a fluke but after the behavior repeated every meal time for 2 days and one time he jumped at the bowl and hit it and sent food flying everywhere, well we had to fix that and teach him the rules. Not a problem jumping when a puppy but when he gets to be 100lbs thats a problem. So first thing he learned was sit. I would hold his food up and he would sit I would start lowering it down, if his butt cam up the food went back up until the butt was down. He learned very quickly food came down as the butt was down and once the food was down he got tons of good boys and love and a big bowl of food all his. After we had that down I picked a place where he could still see me fix his food and would lead him there by just beconing him and then would command to sit while I made his food. Making food is a quick process, basically opening the bag and then measuring it out and putting it in the bowl. However, the moment he moved from his spot I stopped what I was doing led him back there waited until he sat then went back to making the food. In the beginning this could take 5-10 minutes to simply get the food in the bowl. But like this morning it is an instant thing took a few weeks to learn. He waits patiently and his food comes really quick, I don't tease him with it or act like I am eating it, I am not trying to be the alpha, not mean in any way but just teaching good manners and not to jump on people with food. You have to continue with this every day, Yesterday as I was putting the food down the butt came up so the food came up. So yeah, don't be mean but you do need to teach them the rules. Just be patient and consistent they will learn.
 
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