Becoming Your Dog’s Pack Leader

Teaching her to mind her manners is key.


Q: How do I teach a dog I am the pack leader?

A: Grow fur and a tail and learn to be an excellent hunter.

Kidding aside, the pack leader theory has been around for about the past thirty years or so, and has included such ill-advised and dangerous tactics as forcing dogs over onto their backs or even biting them. But dogs really don’t think we're dogs, even if we try to act like them. We are not pack leaders in the same sense that dogs would understand that role in another dog. What we are, though, is far more impressive -- we're in charge of all important resources and every other aspect of our dogs' lives. We decide where our dogs sleep, and when and what they eat. We have the power to open and close doors, including the one on the refrigerator, and we can operate vehicles that take good dogs to fun places.

Don't bother trying to act like a bigger, tougher, smarter dog; simply teach your dog that when he wants something -- anything -- he needs to ask you for it politely. That will earn his respect and put you in a true leadership role, without trying to pretend you're some kind of two-legged uber-dog.


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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

8/8/2013 3:58:53 AM

I think my fingers are faster then my mind that should be posts.

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

8/8/2013 3:58:03 AM

Interesting article and posted!

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karen   walnut creek, CA

5/5/2010 4:11:52 PM

It's not training the dog that is difficult, it's training the owner who refuses to put in the time and effort to understand their animal companion and to be consistant and patient. My "rescue" dog that's been part of our household for less than 2 years, exhibited all forms of "unacceptable" behavior when I brought her home from the pound. She is now one of the most well adjusted, contented and well mannered dogs around. When asked "how did you ever get her to behave so politely"? I usually answer that did the homework to be able to understand her and that I give her a lot of respect and consistant boundries, and she returns that respect and good behavior. My answer is often met with a blank stare.....and then I notice that the children of the person inquiring are either talking on a cell phone at the table or madly running around the restaurant and disturbing everyone around

It's not necessary to pretend to eat dog food. You just always eat your dinner and let the dog wait to be feed until you are finished.

Never yell at a will only confuse the animal and will not prevent the behavior. Always reward positive behavior, immediately. My dog no longer barks or whines, unless someone comes up to our door. When she barks, I go to her and tell her what I good job she's done, thank her, reassure her we are safe, and allow her to be quiet. After all....protecting her home and family is HER JOB.

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Regina   New York, NY

5/5/2010 1:05:31 PM

Stupid article, no substance. The dumbest line was "simply teach your dog that when he wants something -- anything -- he needs to ask you for it politely". How about giving concrete examples of going thru doors first, making the dog earn everything he gets - food, treats, toys by executing a command first. Practice each night by making him sit first before you feed him dinner.

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