Becoming Your Dog’s Pack Leader

Becoming Your Dog’s Pack Leader

Becoming your dog’s pack leader is a question many dog owners ask.   This is an important question, but the answer isn’t so simple. The idea of becoming the pack leader is that you will convince your dog to trust you and your authority.  By positioning yourself as the person in charge, your dog will be confident in your decisions and be more apt to listen to you.

As pack animals, dogs require a leader by nature and instinct.

Without you positioning yourself as a leader, your dog will feel obligated to take that position because having a leader is an absolute instinctual requirement for their “survival” in life.   As the pack leader, you have to be responsible for every decision—and it’s outcome.  That means it’s up to your to pick a walking path.  And it’s up to you to decide how to behave in different situations, and up to you to determine how to respond to all the strange things you and your dog come across out there.

If you don’t make a decision, your dog will feel obligated to make a decision for you. When you don’t direct your dog, your dog will try to direct you as they will feel like they will need to act as the pack leader. If you go along with your dog’s decision, you will be reinforcing that superior position. However, if there comes a time when you try to ignore or “disobey” your dog’s decision, especially if they are used to you just following along (even if you don’t notice it, because it’s little things you let slide by), you will end up in a battle of tug-of-war with your dog—often times literally.

So, how do you position yourself as a pack leader?

You can begin with little things, like having your dog sit down before you provide her with her dinner. But to be a stable pack leader that your dog recognizes, you have to be stern with everything. The point is not to be aggressive, but consistent.  If you let some things slide your dog will be confused about who the leader really is, and it will only lead to more behavioral issues.

The point isn’t to dominate the dog, either, and showing your physical strength is no training method. You’ll end up in a battle of tug-of-war or a real fight because you have unknowingly provoked your dog’s instincts (fighting to prove who is stronger/dominant). The right way to show your dog who the pack leader is to remain calm and confident in situations.  Become a trusted leader, not a feared one. When danger arises, think through your next step before committing to something.

Lastly, don’t let the little things slide.  Walk through doors before your dog, have your dog walk beside you. Have them sit and be quiet when asked to constantly be maintaining your position as leader.

How To Stop Your Dog From Tugging On The Leash

How To Stop Your Dog From Tugging On The Leash

How To Stop Your Dog From Tugging On The Leash

One of the best parts about having a dog is that you can take them with you everywhere—to the park, to the store, and out to have fun. But, if your dog tugs on the leash when you try to walk them, it can quickly diminish all the fun you imagine having with them and discourage you from taking them out anymore. You might look at other dogs and their owners and think, “Why can’t my dog behave like that?” The truth is, no dog is born “obedient.” Despite being domesticated, they still have instincts that tell them that (one) they need a pack leader and (two) exploring and adventure are super fun!

These instincts are what make your dog great, but since they are living in a world with laws, regulations, and manners, you need to learn how to hone into their instincts so they behave more appropriately and so they see you as their confident and trusted pack leader.

The solution to stopping your dog from tugging on the leash is kind of a catch 22. For instance, letting your dog pull on the leash is telling them that they are in charge and that they are leading the pack. However, in order to teach them not to pull on the leash, you have to get them learning that you are the trusted pack leader.
Before you invest in all sorts of collars, leads, and gadgets that are out there to help you tackle this issue, you’re better off looking at the bigger picture. Having your dog walk properly on a leash is just the first step in positioning yourself as the pack leader. The training has to go beyond just walking—you need to be reinforcing your position as leader all the time and you’ll begin to see results across your dog’s behavior, not just when you’re outside.

Think about it like this: your dog knows someone has to be the leader. If they don’t see you as the leader, they’re going to take that position. You might not notice all the little “cute” things they do, but having them pull on a leash is definitely one of the places you’ll see them begin to express their feelings that they are in charge.

So, how do you teach your dog not to pull on the leash? Here are some tips:
• When you bring out your dog’s leash, wait for them to calm down until they are ready to go. Never rush through the excitement stage and try not to provoke them to get too excited.
• Practice at home first.
• Walk around your home and outside until they can behave in familiar surroundings.
• Begin to venture further out, coming back home when they misbehave.