Have you ever seen a dog walking its owner? The dog is charging ahead, the leash is pulled tight like a piano wire, and the owner is stumbling behind just trying to keep up. If that sounds familiar, it might be time to become the dog pack leader.
I used to think that was just a sign of an enthusiastic dog. In reality it’s a tell tale sign of a dog who thinks it’s the leader of the pack.
If you are not the leader of your dog’s pack, you are likely facing a handful of behavior issues with your dog. Some can be minor, some be major, and some can be downright dangerous. Bottom line, you need to be your dog’s pack leader if you want a happier doggie/pet parent relationship.
Sound intimidating? It does, but it’s really not as hard as it sounds. You don’t have to be tough, you just need to know a few things.
Dogs are pack animals. Packs have a leader. The pack leader is the decision maker. She decides where to go on walks, how to behave and how to react to all the different situations.
Dogs naturally live according to this order. If they are not the pack leader, they will follow the leader.
It’s important to remember that the pack leader makes all the decisions and that it is a dog’s natural tendency to follow this order.
Just because you only have one dog doesn’t mean you don’t have a dog pack. A dog is so hard wired to live in a pack that he will view his current living situation with humans as a pack. So, he will view your family as the pack. Or if it’s just the two of you, it will be a pack of two. Any pack of any size needs a leader. That’s where you need to step up.
If you let your dog be in charge and be the pack leader, well you know the drill. Dogs don’t always make the best decisions. Chances are you are familiar with the bossy or needy behavior that a dog will display, and that’s just the beginning. Unless you want your dog calling the shots, you need to be the pack leader.
All dogs worldwide, regardless of breed use the same ways to check to establish the pack leader. How do you become the pack leader? This is the first and most important step to training your dog. You need to convince your dog that you are the person in charge.
Remember, being in charge doesn’t mean being the one that yells the most or has the biggest stick. (While this may be true in some walks of life, dogs are smarter than that.) They also don’t care what you drive or who you know. You need to prove you are in charge in other ways.
Asking your dog to sit before her dinner falls a long way short of what you need to be achieving to become the pack leader. Do you insist on walking first through doorways? That won’t help either unless your dog is on a leash.
Download our FREE printable cheat sheet that you can use to get your dog to come everytime.
Here are 3 basic steps to get started on your way to becoming pack leader:
1. Learn to say no. Stop worrying about hurting your dog’s feelings! They don’t think the same as humans so they won’t be hurt if you don’t let them do everything they want. This doesn’t mean to stop loving them. Learning to say no is the first step in establishing yourself as pack leader.
2. Establish control. This sounds serious, but the concept is simple. No matter how out of control your dog is, you are still in control of most aspects of your dog’s life. You just may not realize it. The first place to start is the food. If you are leaving food out all the time for your dog, stop now. The pack leader always controls the food. You need to make that clear.
3. Don’t be a bully. Pack leaders in the wild are leaders, but not bullies. They are strong but fair. You don’t want to lose your cool with your dog or try to use physical force. This may work briefly, but your dog won’t respect you. In fact, this will usually backfire on you.
These are the first steps you should take if you want to be a pack leader, but it’s hard to cover all the angles in a short post. Plus, many times it’s easier to see how it’s done rather than just read about it.
You can find a lot of dog training videos online, but many are not very good. I will save you some time and refer you to the best humane trainer on the web right now. Doggy Dan’s website is full of quality training videos, including the best ones on being pack leader I have seen.
He will show you how the pack leader should be in calm control when your dog barks and alerts you to danger. This includes anything that your dog may perceive as dangerous and barks at in and around the property.
He will also show you how on the walk your dog should not pull you at a single stage, even the beginning! Learning to walk your dog properly is an essential skill you can learn watching this video.
If you are the pack leader then your dog should be able to relax and switch off completely inside the house. If your dog is always switched on most of the time and can’t relax then that is your dog on pack leader duty.
Getting your dog to switch off is directly connected to how you meet and greet your dog after your return home. You need to watch it on video it is so subtle but it is the difference between being the pack leader or the follower.
Lastly, feeding your dog correctly will establish who is the pack leader and there is much more to it than asking your dog to sit. Also if you have a dog that is “not food motivated” then you may be in for a surprise!
If you want to understand more about this topic or see the videos that explain everything then simply take a look at The Online Dog Trainer here.