Who’s the Pack Leader in Your House?
Is there a pack leader in your home? Dog ownership is one of the most rewarding endeavors known to man. When done properly, like being a good boss, your dogs will follow your lead. Not only that, but they will also be utterly devoted to you. However, also like being a boss, when leadership skills are weak, it shows in the dog’s behavior.
Being a Good Leader
Dogs, children, and employees find comfort in knowing what is expected of them. While we cannot comment on parenting or managerial tips, we do know dogs. Being a fair, calm, and patient leader for your dog will always pay dividends for you.
Create the Rules
Creating an environment where your dog can look to you to be told what to do is a good thing. Your dog will find comfort, and less stress, when you create and enforce rules and boundaries. Rules break down into things your dog can and cannot do. For instance, your dog may not be allowed to sit on certain pieces of furniture. Boundaries are places or things your dog does not have access to. For instance, he is allowed to chew his plush toys but is not allowed to chew your shoes. Or you may want to keep him out of certain rooms of your house, but otherwise he is allowed to roam free.
Be Consistent When Enforcing the Rules
Being consistent in these rules and boundaries is part of being a pack leader. If you are trying to teach your dog to not beg at the table, and then occasionally give them food from the table, you are confusing the dog. To set your dog up for success, practicing good management of the rules is key.
Unlike an employee where you can explain deviations from a rule, your dog will not understand. Dogs learn by cause and effect. They understand that if each time they perform “sit” when told they will get a treat. It will be confusing to them if the cause doesn’t always lead to the same effect. Bonus points for getting every human in the house to be consistent with the established rules.
Say “No” In a Nice Way
Being a good pack leader doesn’t mean you have to be loud or aggressive. It does, however, mean that you must sometimes insist. When puppies are young, they nip—a lot. It’s just what comes natural to them. This doesn’t mean that you should only address it sometimes. See the paragraph above. Insisting, gently, that they not nip or bite is helpful not mean.
Communicating with Energy
Wouldn’t it be great if we could speak to our dogs and they would respond in speech? Yes, it would make things a little easier. However, we have another tool in the toolbox. We communicate with our energy. Your dog feels your energy. To truly communicate with them, ensure that they feel your energy. If you are happy, express that through energy. And, conversely, if you are mad at them appear that way. This doesn’t mean yell or hit. In fact, remain calm and confident. Sometimes, the energy of the “cold shoulder” sends a very clear message.
Get Help When You Need It
Sometimes, us humans need a little help being a good pack leader to our dogs. At Posh Paws Pet Care, we can help. We provide life skills training and private coaching services. We even offer an online puppy training course. Our training is about improving the quality of their life and yours.