How to Become the Pack Leader
Alpha dog training is important for every dog, not just an alpha male or female dog because you need to establish yourself as the leader of the pack in your home.
Most dog behavior problems start when there is confusion about who is actually in charge. Or, worse yet, when the dog is in charge!
Fortunately, this is easily remedied. When you have made it clear to your dog that you are the alpha male or female in the pack, dog behavior problems are easy to resolve.
This article will discuss:
- The Dog-Wolf Connection
- Alpha Dog Training and Pack Rules
- How Dog Packs Work
- Signs That Your Dog is in Charge
- How to Become the Pack Leader
- The 5 Golden Rules You Need to Follow
The Dog-Wolf Connection
Dogs are direct descendants of wolves and, even though we have tamed them and domesticated them, they still have wolf instincts.
In fact, all dogs originated with a single species of wolf that lived more than 10,000 years ago in Europe.
Even though dog breeds look very different from each other, the evidence indicates that they all do come from the same ancestor.
Wolves live in a pack and they have a strong social structure and very strict rules within the pack. Dogs have developed the wolf instincts for social structure and pack rules.
That makes it very easy for them to fit into a human family. That’s also why it is really important to make sure that the leadership of the pack is clear.
Alpha Dog Training and Pack Rules
Your dog still thinks and acts like a wolf even though she is hundreds of generations away from her wolf ancestors. She does not think like you, a human. This is important to keep in mind when training your dog.
Dogs are comfortable in a pack. The rules are well defined. Each member knows its position in the hierarchy of the pack, and he is fine with it.
Knowing where he fits in the pack pecking order helps a dog to feel safe and comfortable. It helps him feel secure.
Dogs do not have a pressing need to be the alpha dog in a pack. But they do need to know who the leader is. Once in a while, someone will challenge the leader, but a strong alpha always comes out on top.
How Dog Packs Work
While all pack members defer to the dominant male or alpha, it is very important that you, as a human member of the pack, take that role.
Dogs in a pack respect, obey and follow those above them. They want to please the leader.
From your dog’s point of view, someone needs to be in charge. That needs to be you and your family members!
Leaders have certain privileges. In your home, those privileges include food, toys and the most comfortable bed.
If a lower ranking dog tries to usurp one of those privileges from the leader, he will be disciplined by the alpha.
Signs That Your Dog is in Charge
Dog behavior problems often stem from your dog’s understanding that she is in charge of your family. Without knowing it, we often reinforce that idea.
How can you know if you have a dominance problem? Your little Bichon dog will show you by:
- Guarding toys – When you get close, your dog growls, snaps or shows her teeth.
- Guarding foods – You see the same kind of behavior when you are near your dog when she is eating.
- Furniture guarding – Your dog decides that he likes a certain piece of furniture. When told to get off, the dog refuses.
- Demanding attention – Your dog whines, barks or pokes her paw at you and doesn’t stop until you do what she wants. So often we think this is cute, but it is a sign of dominance.
- Interrupting dinner – This can be rather annoying. Never feed your dog at the table and remove him from the room if he continues to disturb your dinner.
If you find that you do have a dominance issue, then alpha dog training to establish that you are the pack leader, is in order.
How to Become the Pack Leader
Becoming the pack leader is really quite simple if you know how. Doggy Dan’s Online Dog Trainer system illustrates the principles that he calls the 5 Golden Rules.
I’ll list the rules for you below. But first, take a look at this video. The lady who is talking was having all kinds of behavior problems with her dogs. After a consultation with Dan, she and her husband started using the rules. I’ll let you see how it worked for them.
The 5 Golden Rules
If you follow these rules in your home, your job of dog training will become quite easy. These rules are Doggy Dan’s and you can see 129 dog training videos and get tons of information for 3 days, for just $1.
- Food – Never feed your dog at the table. You always eat first. Use gesture eating when feeding your dog. To do this, you pretend to sample or eat your dog’s food before giving it to him. This shows that you are the leader or the top dog. Your dog eats after you are through.
- Danger – The pack leader protects the underlings. So, in the face of danger (postman, oil delivery truck in the driveway, neighbor knocking at the door), you remain calm and handle the situation. To calm your dog you may have to use the Doggy Dan “calm freeze”, where you hold the front of your dog’s collar loosely, while turning your back to the perceived danger.
- Arriving home – When the alpha male and female arrive back at the den, they ignore the lower ranking dogs. This signals to the others that everything is OK and that they are still in charge. When you arrive home after being away, do not touch, speak to your dog or give him eye contact. After a few minutes, when your dog is relaxed, call your dog and give him affection. Simple, but your dog will understand the significance.
- Everything on your terms – Pack leaders make the decisions. You should initiate everything. Do not allow attention seeking behavior. Call your dog to you and then give him affection.
- Taking a walk – Train your dog to walk off leash and on a leash without pulling. Dan shows how to do this in his video course.
Because dogs think like dogs, not humans, we need to step in and establish that we are in charge of our dog/human family. This is done gently, without harsh punishment or words.
Taking this simple step will make training your dog a breeze and will avoid most behavior problems.