Why you must become the Pack Leader
When you are being challenged, then you need to act like the pack leader
The post that I wrote about Becoming the Pack Leader, introduced the fact that many people who do not claim the Pack Leader position in their home early on, when they have a puppy, end up with issues when it comes to the obedience of your dog later on.
It is really hard when you see owners that have tried their very best and have done so well training their puppy from an early age. They’ve socialised them and done everything they were taught, but then their dog suddently stops coming when called. It starts barking at everything that moves, and suddenly becomes aggressive or starts to suffer from separation anxiety.
At eight weeks old your puppy may have been the best in the class at coming when you called them, but at eight months your dog could very well look at you and think “Whatever, I’m in charge”. In a way it’s much like troublsome teenagers. The problems are very different from when they were toddlers but often the issues can have more serious consequences. The first year of a dog’s life is equivalent to 14 years in the human world, and it isn’t hard to imagine what a 14 year old, with no discipline their whole life, would act like if you suddenly tried to start telling them what to do.
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Of course prevention is better than cure and if you ‘nip it in the bud’ as soon as you have that gut feeling your dog isn’t taking any notice of you, then you are at an advantage for sure. When you’re having trouble with your dog it really isn’t fun. And it’s rarely fun for the dog either. I see it everyday, the frustration, the confusion and not knowing where to turn. Yet when I visit people in their homes it often takes me less than a minute to see exactly what the problem is and how to fix it.
It’s never too late
The great news is that there is always a way forward. When you know, it’s often so much easier than people imagine. With so many of these issues it all starts with the basic foundation that’s missing. They’re almost always pack related. By that I’m talking about the dogs instinctive need to work out where they come in the ‘pack’.
So basically if at any point you feel your dog is starting to challenge you, with excessive barking, stressing about being apart from you and more seriously, becoming aggressive to other dogs and people, I would say most of the time it will primarily start with you not establishing yourself as the Pack Leader.
Of course if you have never been shown what to do then there is little chance that you will be doing it, so don’t beat yourself up. Start afresh today and see everything that has gone by as water under the bridge.
So when you finish reading this have a think, do you really know exactly how to show your dog that you are the Pack Leader? Or are you like many of the people I work with who comment after I’ve shown them… “why weren’t we taught all this at puppy school?”
Don’t take the chance, training your dog can be really tough without a real foundation in place. Become the Pack Leader first and make it easier on both you and your dog.
I encourage every dog owner, all over the world, to become the Pack Leader.