Pack Leader Tips
Leadership is not about using force or a loud voice. Leadership is about earning the trust and respect of your dog and this only requires 3 things:
Good communication is the key to a strong, healthy relationship with your dog so you must learn how dogs communicate with you and with one another. Dogs donʼt “talk” with words they “talk” with us with through their energy and behaviors, and humans often find their dogs behaviors cute, cuddly and adorable...even when the behavior means control, possession or disrespect. Learning how to read your dog's energy and body language cues and understanding how they read us is fundamental in changing how they behave.
Rules, Boundaries and Limitations
Most parents understand that spoiled kids are not happy kids but dog parents easily overlook this. Spoiled dogs can become over-excited, anxious, fearful and even aggressive. Establishing rules and boundaries help dogs feel safe, secure and loved which is key to their happiness. Not jumping on guests is an example of a rule. Not running out the front door is an example of a boundary and learning not to get too excited greeting new dogs or people is a limit.
Mental and Physical Exercise
Another big cause of unwanted behaviors in our dogs comes from a lack of mental and physical stimulation. Dogs who are not properly exercised usually find a way to get rid of their pent up energy through barking, digging, chewing, pacing, or other energy burning behaviors. You can even see some dogs become self-destructive by licking, chewing or biting on themselves.
Pack Leader Tips
- Leaders use calm, confident energy at all times. This energy is applied consistently, patiently and fairly to all members of the pack.
- Never let your dog jump on you. If you think your dog is about to jump, you should step forward and into the dog.
- Always claim your space. Move into a dog that is crowding you.
- Affection is only given on an invitation basis. Ignore pushy or demanding behaviors for affection.
- Rewards should only be given when the dog does something for you. Ex: Call your dog to you and ask them to sit. Wait until they are calm and then give affection or treat. This teaches the dog they have to do a little something for the human and they have to be calm to get attention.
- Learn how to properly walk you dog and it make it a daily habit.
- Posture is important. Stand tall, pull your shoulders back and keep your head up.
- Never move in a quick, frantic way. Move with rhythm and purpose. Dogs equate quick movements with unstable energy.
- Practice and master these 4 commands: Down, Stay, Come and Drop it.
- Establish rules, boundaries and limitations and always enforce them.
- Effective discipline applied properly with a calm energy uses consequences when rules are broken, not frustration. Frustration is weakness to your dog and anger is aggression.
- Leadership is about gaining trust and building respect.
- It is vital to understand each pack members sensitivity to your energy. Too much pressure and your dog will not trust you. Not enough pressure and your dog does not respect you.
- Learn your dogs language and know what motivates them. Learning how to communicate in the language of your dog is vital in getting them to follow you.
- Learning how to motivate your dog means giving your dog something positive to work for and every dog is different. Its your job to figure that out.
- Do not humanize your dog. This greatly effects how balanced they are and how well they behave.
- Leaders fulfill the needs of those they lead. Dogs need mental and physical exercise every day combined with rules, boundaries and limits to be fulfilled.
- Always follow through - no exceptions. If you want your dog to do something or you need your dog to stop doing something you must persist until it happens. Leaders never quit.