Of all the things that you need to learn when raising a dog, how to become the packleader is the biggest and most important of them all. Of all the questions that people ask “how to become the pack leader of my dog” is the big one! – The Packleader is the one in charge, the decision maker of the pack. The reason why this is soo important is because if you do not teach your dog that you are its leader it is very hard to teach it anything else. When your dog consider you to be the packleader it will expect you to take decisions and to show him/her what to do and how to react in strange situations.
Why being the packleader is soo important
Dogs are pack animals and therefore it is natural for them to follow their leader. Therefore if you are to live smoothly together with your dog, it is very important that you establish yourself as the leader because if you don’t, your dog will take on that role and consider herself to be the leader of the pack. Can you imagine a DOG in charge of your family? No neither can I. If you leave important decisions to your dog then things can go terrribly wrong. Especially with bigger dogs.
So if you establish yourself as your dog’s packleader then raising it and teaching it various things will be easy because the dog will respect you and listen to you. Most dog related problems are due to the fact that the dog considers itself as the packleader.
For example, a dog who is aggressive towards people act that way because she is protecting her pack, that means you and considers other people as a threat to you. If instead your dog sees you as its leader it will follow your example. If you are calm your dog will act the same way. With a dog who is pulling the leash it is the same thing. The dog sees itself as the leader on the walk and is taking lead, so when teaching your dog not to pull the leash you first need to establish yourself as its leader.
Understanding what makes your dog see you as a leader
As with all dog training, it is important to remember that dogs are dogs and humans are humans therefore with need to use a language that dogs understand.
Dogs are very good at feeling your energy and your state of mind. So you must show your dog that you are calm and in control. This is what she expects from her leader. That calm, assertive energy will spill over on your dog and she will then also remain calm. This is the state of mind a mother dog shows her puppies. That calm, confident energy is making the puppies feel secure.
Controlling the territory
In the wild, controlling your territory is very important, this does not only concern dogs but a lot of other animals have territories as well. Letting your dog know that she is living in YOUR territory will make your dog respectful of you.
As a leader YOU are the one who should decide when things happen. You are the one who decides when to go for walks, when it is time to eat or play. So if your dog is very exited about going for a walk and tries to pull you along, you should get her to calm down first before putting the leash on her. The same goes for eating. When serving dinner she should only start eating when you tell her soo. Remember, you are the leader so you decide.
Making your dog work before eating is another way to show that you are the packleader. It could be as simple as taking her for a walk before serving dinner or at least have her perform a simple task such as sitting down before and waiting before eating. If you have a dog with high level of energy this will also help to calm her down. It is important not to feed her until she is calm and submissive. Reward her when she is.
These are a few tips on how establish yourself as a leader, there are of course more than that. Jus keep in mind that YOU are in charge. You decide and go first. When serving dinner you and your family should be served first and then the dog. When walking you go out of the door first and your dog follow you. Showing the way and letting your dog follow you is how to establish yourself as a leader.
What does not work however is trying to dominate your dog physically. This can actually backfire on you later on. Imagine you have a big strong dog who decides to challenge your leadership and domination. This can lead to a dangerous situation. Dominating your dog physically will not make it respect you, only fear you, and fear is not good for asserting leadership over a dog.
Regardless of what breed of dog you have, the process of becoming the packleader is the same and it is, once you know how a fairly simple process.
Once you have acheived this, training your dog is going to be easy because your dog is going to want to follow you and look to you for directions and advice. All you need to do then is to show your dog what you want it to do or not to do. There are also plenty of easy to use methods for teaching your dog a variety of things, but first you need to establish yourself as the packleader.
Summing it up
When you have established yourself as your dog’s leader it is going to make life with your dog a lot easier. This goes for your dog as well. A dog who is not sure about who is the leader will feel stressed and worried and will have a tough time to relax. When your dog knows you are the leader it will hand over the responsibility of leadership to you and it will be able to relax. It will feel calm and confident as long as you show her the way.
If you want to learn more about how to become the packleader I know a very good training program where you can watch the process on video. This is an online training program created by the New Zealand dog trainer Doggy Dan. I have written a review of his program and there you will also find a link to his site. He also offers a free video course for anyone who signs up to his news letter. Here is the link to my Online Dog Trainer Review
If you have any questions or concerns please leave your comments below!