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Leader of the Pack

Ever since man has domesticated canines, we have replaced their pack to be with us.  Even though they have been with us for over 10,000 years, they still require a leader. Regardless of breed, they need that leader. If your dog doesn’t believe you are the pack leader (alpha) then there can be behavioral problems. If you are planning to have a multi-dog household or have other humans in the house, there will be a hierarchy within the group as well.

This blog is to give you a sense of how a dog views who the leader is.

  • The leader is being the first one out the door.
  • The leader is being the lead on a walk.
  • The leader is the first to start eating.
  • The leader is sitting higher on the couch/bed.
  • The leader isn’t the one who moves out of the comfortable spot on the couch.

Remember if you are the leader, you need to be calm in any given situation. In a situation where there is another dog or there is a thunderstorm, if you are reactive then your dog will think there is something to worry about as well and act accordingly. Keeping a calm demeanor will keep your dog calm.

Training and making sure your dog knows certain commands will help to establish yourself as a leader. For example, making your dog sit and stay before feeding will instill who is the leader. In a wolf pack, the alpha leader will always be the first to eat and it is only when the alpha says it’s okay can the lower hierarchy eat.
Being the leader, does not mean physical dominance. It just requires respect, routine and obedience. Going to obedience class will strengthen the bond between human and dog and will help your dog see you as their leader. Do your research on the trainers and their training techniques to determine if that is the type of training you need for your family. Speaking of family, make sure everyone living in the house follows the same rules and routine to keep a harmonious household.

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