From the day you take your pup/rescue dog home heís learning about the Ďpackí and his place within it. Early on heíll have his paws full trying to work out what goes where and who does what but as he sttles heíll start probing to see where he stands.
Your dog will not rest until he has identified the pack leader. He may decide that itís you but he may not and should he detect no leader at all you can be sure of trouble. If you are to be the dogís trainer it is absolutely imperative you establish your leadership credentials.
Pack leadership is established in everyday interaction between pack members. Here are some of the more important illustrations.
Pack leaders do not allow youngsters and lower pack members to have what they want when they want it. They use their authority to make them wait, sometimes denying them altogether.
This sets a powerful example of whoís in charge and teaches patience to excitable young dogs. Making your dog sit and ignore things that excite him is a good way to establish your Leadership.
No pack leader worthy of the name would ever allow a subordinate anywhere near his sleeping quarters. Only his chosen female is allowed to share the pack leaderís bed. Any pack members failing to observe this strict rule do so at their peril.
So itís hardly surprising when owners allow their dogs into their bedroom that they get the wrong idea. I donít know of any dog occupying his ownerís sleeping quarters that does not eventually develop improper behaviour. Sometimes itís disobedience, more often itís possessiveness that transforms into aggression.
Do not under any circumstances allow your dog into the bedroom or onto your furniture. Dogsí belong on the floor if you want to pet him thatís the place to do it.
Kids and dogs:
When children are very small itís good to establish a no-go area between them and your dog that neither enter without your permission. That way you can safely control the interaction.
Older kids can be taught leadership skills to gain the dogís respect. Under no circumstances should children roll around on the floor with a puppy or adult dog.
Dogs grow fast and will soon come to regard submissive little children as puppies and will react exactly the way they would to any other puppy. Should the kids get in the way the dog will nip them. This is exactly how dogs get branded Ďdangerousí when all they are doing is reading the natural signals.
Kids can be leaders too, itís just education.
Tug Ďoí wars and wrestling:
Ignore that macho theory that beating your dog at tug Ďoí war establishes leadership. All it does is teach aggression and is exactly the way police dogs are trained.
Rough games are highly inappropriate for a pet dog. Far better to play retrieving or hunting for titbits or teach him tricks.
Make sure you are at the centre of all your dogís play keeping it calm and constructive and you will be a true leader.
Pulling on the lead:
Pulling on the lead is a clear indication that your dog thinks heís in control. Itís no fun being dragged around by an excited dog fortunately the solution is very simple.
All you need do is make up your mind that your dog will never walk another step in front of you and be consistent. If it takes twenty minutes to walk down your garden path you must not allow your dog to go in front.
With your dog at your left hand side and a loose lead walk him to heel. If he surges ahead simply swing around 180 degrees snap the lead and go in the opposite direction. When he catches you up turn around and try again.
If you are resolute your dog will soon learn heís going nowhere unless he walks beside you on a loose lead.
In order for your dog to understand itís very important to be consistent so make absolutely sure you have him at your left hand side EVERY time. Make the space at your left leg his comfort zone and correct him with a firm snap of the lead if he strays.
He will soon realise YOU are in control.
Dogs are not as clever as Disney portrays but there is one area in which they are infallible: reading other animals
and that includes YOU.
You cannot lie to a dog; your dog will know every slight change in your mood and react accordingly. If you are afraid he is going to misbehave heíll do exactly that. Pack Leaders control the pack by mental strength.
Paint a strong positive picture and thatís what youíll get but you cannot fake it. Your dog will know whether you have confidence ort not
There must be no dog fights. Your dog must not get injured on your watch, no leader would allow it. You are your dogís guardian-no excuses. Whatever it takes you must protect your dog.
Allowing him to run out of control in places where there are lots of excitable dogs is not clever. If he gets attacked your leadership credentials are zero.
Conversely your dog must not attack others Pack Leaders do not allow attacks without their permission and you must deny them.
That way you prove your own strength as Leader.
Now follow this link to the Leadership Assessment Page: