In order to have a balanced pack, there has to be a pack leader, and that pack leader(s) needs to be a human and that includes everyone in the family. And yes, a pack leader can most definitely be female!
Wolves You Say?
Did you know that dogs are said to be evolved from wolves? It is said that they mutated into several breeds according to the geography and environment. While dogs don’t have wolf genes anymore, they do have at least one trait of a wolf and that is they are pack animals.
History Of Pack Leaders
Living in a pack made life easier for dogs. It gave them companionship and comfort of home. Not all dogs are equal. There has to be a leader. Dogs are lost with a leader. They need a leader that will bring them all together and tell them what the terms are. This leader eats first and has the first and last say. He controls where the pack goes. The pack has to accept and follow its dominant leader.
Enter The Alpha
The leader is essentially the Alpha of the pack. What is all the hype about the Alpha, you ask? Well, the Alpha is bigger and stronger than the rest of the pack and is the one who gets all the respect. Long story short if you are the Alpha then you’re the one in charge. This is the goal for us humans when it comes to owning a dog. We have to be the Alpha, otherwise, our dog will think they are the Alpha and will do whatever they please.
Steps To Becoming a Great Pack Leader
Humans are The Leader
Your dog(s) needs to understand that the human is the leader. First off, there needs to be the right energy, and body language as this is how dogs communicate. Negative or weak energy is like talking underwater, no one can understand that.
We have to create rules and boundaries for the dog. Dogs want us to tell them what to do. If a dog does not know what to do it may become confused or anxious and start causing trouble around the house. Rules are a must.
Rules like what they can and can’t do for example: begging at the table is not something we want them to do, but sitting and waiting is something we want them to do. Then there are boundaries, these are the places they are allowed to be in and places they are not allowed to be in. For example, your dog cannot be in your child’s room without being invited.
Limitations, Initiate and Controlling Space
Limitations are another good thing to set for our dogs to show that you are in charge. An example of a limitation is playtime or training time. The leader gets to decide when these activities start and when the end. With limitations in place by you, your dog will know that you are in charge of these activities and will respect the limitation.
Here are a few things to Initiate:
- Going through doors first
- Followers come to the leader. Do not chase your dog
Things that are considered controlling space are:
- The leader leads, this means that the dog does not pull on the leash
- Ignoring your dog if it jumps up by turning away, then command the dog to sit
- The dog is to move out of your way- make sure to not walk around them
- The dog stays off the bed
Consistency is Golden
In order for rules, boundaries, and training to be successful, they have to be consistent or your dog will get confused and may not think that you are really the leader of the pack. Here is an example- If your dog jumps when you ask it to it knows that it will get a treat.
So every time you ask your dog to jump you must reward it with a treat. If a dog is begging during dinner time and won’t stop then the dog is taken out of the room. This has to happen every time or dog will continue to beg and not take you seriously as the pack leader.
Assertive and Calm
There is no need to produce emotional or nervous energy as a leader. The pack dog leader doesn’t, so neither should you. Out in the wilderness, a pack leader will use calm and assertive energy to sway how a dog interacts with its surroundings.
Walk and Talk Like a Boss
If you walk and talk like you are the boss while looking powerful and authoritative when you first get your pup, will let them know early who is the boss. You should use a firm voice and not go down to your dog’s level(kneeling to your dog). Tell the dog what to do in a firm voice standing.
You are telling the dog what to do, not requesting it. Dogs are smart and know who is right for leadership, and they look for this leader. If you do this early in the dog’s life, then you should not have a problem becoming the leader.
Territory ownership is very important for dogs. Wild dogs will claim their space in a confident manner, followed by communicating this ownership through their body language and eye contact, this is the same for humans claiming space with their dog. Eye contact is very important. Make sure you keep eye contact with your dog when claiming your space. If you do not, you risk the chance of the dog not taking you seriously.
A dog that understands that you own the space they live in and that you are the pack leader will be easily trained and will welcome the training from the leader.
Another way that pack leaders show that they are the pack leader is by making others wait. I know may sound mean, but that’s the way she goes. Adult dogs and puppies are to wait until their leader has eaten something first in the wild. The same thing goes for domesticated dogs. The human should eat first, even if it is just a forkful of food. Then the others can have something to eat. I know lots of dogs love begging for food, but this should not be allowed.
You are the leader and they have to wait for you and begging is unacceptable. Do not make eye contact with your dog while you are eating and the dog is begging. They will have to wait until you are ready to feed it.
Knowing Your Pack
Do you know your pack? You should. Knowing your pack will allow you the knowledge of what fulfills them. This also creates a balance in your pack.
If you want a stronger balance in this relationship, then you should have a training program. This will also create a stronger bond.
Follow your training program and you will see great results as your bond will grow and both you and your pack will feel great. Training will also keep your dog mentally healthy. So it is a win-win.
Love and Affection
Do not forget the most important thing. Love and affection. Never yell or hit your dog.
There are lots of factors involved in you becoming the leader. It won’t happen overnight but be consistent, firm, and friendly and you should not have a problem being that leader you and your dog know you are.
Pack Leader FAQ
How do I get my dog to stop pulling and trying to take over on walks?
This is something all us dog owners come across. Our dog trying to take over on the daily walks. In order to stop your dog from doing this, you need to train it to stop. It starts with you leaving the house first and your dog following. Keep the dog close to you so it does not have the chance to get ahead of you. If your dog starts pulling, stop and say no. Give a treat to the dog. Continue walking and repeat as many times as you need to. Best to take care of this when the dog is young.
Does there really need to be a pack leader?
Yes, there is always a pack leader. Dogs look for a leader and need a leader to tell them what and what not to do. This is true for dogs in the wild as well.
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