One question I find coming up again and again when it comes to dog training is how to let your dog know that YOU are the one in charge. “Head of the class,” “the head honcho,” or of course, “the leader of the pack.”
It’s an important position to have, and important that your dog recognizes and realizes that you are the one in charge. The “leader” is seen by other dogs as the decision maker — what needs to be sniffed when we go for a walk, which trees and bushes need to be peed on — the important things!
Once you understand and appreciate just how much hierarchy matters in dog packs, you’ll see why it is so important that you be the one who is the leader. Leaving it up to your dog is a recipe for disaster that will lead to nothing but bad things and bad times for both you and your dog. Don’t let that happen!
+ RELATED: How to Stop Dog Aggression
But before we get into how you will become the leader of your dog pack, it’s important that you first understand that ultimately this all means basically nothing to your four legged friend.
The types of things we obsess over — what type of car we drive, who is dating who, or how much money someone makes — are meaningless to your dog and will immediately be ignored when their favorite treat or toy makes an appearance.
Still, taking an overly dominant position with your dog is not the way to become their pack leader. Planting the idea in your dog’s head that it all boils down to physical strength will set you up for trouble down the road.
Sure, your dog may become meek and subservient to you, but it will not be because you have shown yourself to be a worthy leader, but rather because you have shown yourself to be more physically dominant — or in simpler terms, the neighborhood “bully.”
So, then, how do I become the leader of my dog’s pack? All dogs, regardless of their breed or even where they are born, use the same ways to determine who will be pack leader.
The most effective way to learn that I have found over the years is by watching videos of qualified trainers. It’s how I learned, and also what I tell others to do who are eager to train their pup.
Here are some important things to remember when you’re learning to take control:
- The pack leader remains calm and in control when their dog barks or becomes alert.
- During walks your dog should not be pulling you at any point, even at the beginning when they’re full of excitement. Teaching your dog to walk properly is one of the first videos I would watch!
- When you are truly the pack leader, your dog will be able to relax and “switch off” entirely while inside your home. If your dog is constantly excitable when inside, that’s a clear indication they think they’re the pack leader!
- Teaching your dog to switch off when you’re home is directly connected to how you greet them when you come home. Video of trained professionals is huge here because they will help you to see the TINY differences between the behavior of a dog owner who is a follower and a pack leader.
- Finally, feeding your dog the right way will show them you are in charge. And it’s much more than just teaching them to sit!
There is one dog training site called The Online Dog Trainer that I use which shows you exactly what you need to do — all on video — to become your dog’s pack leader, and just how important it is to putting an end to any behavioral issues you are having.
So if you’re looking to find out more on this subject, you must go watch their free video series. Good luck and I wish you and your doggy a happy future together!
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