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Thread: Are You the Pack Leader?

  1. #1

    Default Are You the Pack Leader?

    Establishing Yourself as Pack Leader
    Whether you have just adopted a young pup or an adult dog, you have many things to teach your new companion. You want your dog to be loved, trained and lively, but not spoiled, a robot or uncontrollable. Dogs can be naturals at learning manners and commands, particularly when you understand a key aspect of their nature. Dogs are social, pack-oriented animals. Your dog will respect a strong, clear, fair leader. If you fail to establish this position for yourself, your dog will feel obliged to try to take the position of leader for himself.
    The Alpha Role
    In a natural state, dogs would live their entire lives within the closely structure social order of their pack. While young, they would begin to learn the workings of the pack's social system and, as they grew, begin to establish their place within the pack's dominance hierarchy. Dominance, submissiveness, leadership, obeying others - these are all concepts that are understood by every dog. These are all concepts that you must understand as well if you are to relate to your dog in a successful manner.
    Each pack has a leader, generally an individual who is dominant over all pack members. In wolf society, this individual is called the "alpha." This is the member who makes the decisions, who must be obeyed. This is the individual that you must be in your dog's eyes.
    Steps to Establishing Your Role as Alpha
    Professional trainers know that it is a waste of time to try to train a dog without first establishing themselves as alpha to the dog. Every dog needs a leader to listen to and adore. Without this leader, a dog will feel lost and unstructured. If you do not take the role of alpha, your dog will instinctively take the role himself. Here are some steps to establishing your role as the alpha. Notice that these involve both behaviour and body language - two types of communication that your dog will understand.
    1. Always praise your dog confidently. Put your hands firmly on the dog. Hug the dog. Pat him so that your hands get warm from the contact. Do not praise him in a timid way.
    2. Praise warmly, well and quickly. Do not drag out your praising of your dog. Do not fawn over the dog just because he did one sit-stay.
    3. Reprimand fairly and quickly, then forgive. Don't hold a grudge. When you put your hands on your dog, do it with confidence and authority. Hands on does NOT mean hitting. Hands on may mean a leash correction, a surprising assist into a sit or down etc. Do it quickly and with authority. Then when you've made the dog do exactly what you want - once – reward him.
    4. Make the dog obey on the first command. Don't get into the habit of repeating yourself. A dog's hearing is significantly better than yours, and you can bet he heard you the first time.
    5. Give commands only if you can follow through, and make sure you always follow through.
    6. Give permission. Give it for what is about to do anyway as long as it is OK with you. This does not mean you say OK when you see your dog about to steal a plate of food. This means you do say OK when your dog is about to get into the car for a ride with you, eat the food in his bowl, go out with you for his afternoon walk. It means that in a subtle way you are teaching the dog to look to you for approval and permission instead of making decisions on his own. Remember - the better behaved the dog, the more freedom and fun he can have.
    7. Deny permission. Monitor your dog's behaviour. Teach him some manners. Even if you like him to sit on your couch or bed, he shouldn't behave that way in other people's homes.
    8. Do a sit-stay. This is an easy way to reinforce your role as alpha. Put the dog in a sit-stay for five to ten minutes. For particularly dominant dogs, make it a down-stay, and even more submissive position. When he breaks - and he will - put him back. If he breaks 6 times put him back 6 times. At the end of a few minutes, the dog knows you're alpha. He knows that anyone who holds his leash can call the shots. And this is with no yelling or hitting. Just a sit-stay. easy and effective.
    9. Be Fair, but tough. Act like a top dog. Tough, but loving. Always be fair and never get angry. Dogs understand what's fair and what's not.
    10. Be a model to your dog. The top dog behaves with dignity, confidence, authority, and intelligence. This will help your dog to be calm himself.
    Your Dog Will be Happier
    Remember, by being consistent in your handling and in your demands on the dog you are being fair. He needs structure to understand what you want and what his responsibilities are.
    This article was prepared for us by Professional Trainer, Scott Donald as an introduction piece on dog training. For more free training tips register at www.dogmaster.com.au
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  2. #2
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    Am I the pack leader...YES!


  3. #3

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    I know I am the pack leader, but the OH is a litter mate!
    No wonder Ralph only wants to play with the OH and jump on him, same as previously my German Shepherd only wanted to play and jump on the OH and take over his chair!

  4. #4
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    I am the pack leader because I say so. I also choose what behaviours are acceptable and what are not. I believe in give and take to find the balance that is right for the people, the dog and their personal environment/situation.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

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    Charlie is the pack leader.. lol...

    Charlie is a cat too

  6. #6
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    It's an interesting article, dognews. I agree with some of it, disagree with other parts.
    The problem with articles such as this is that there are many, many "professional trainers" out there. They could all have differing views on this subject.

    I personally think Di has the right idea. Each human/canine bond should find the balance that is right for them.

  7. #7
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    Im not sure?
    he wont rush past me through doors.
    he waits till i give permission to break a sit
    he waits till i say ok to run off and play
    he waits till i say ok to eat anything ive put on the floor

    but on the other hand....
    He steals food real quick from an unattended bbq
    He talks back a lot - literally.
    He loses concentration on my training days, when hubby stands with a sodding hot dog watching me get sweaty and frustrated! aaggh!
    He see's my handbag, as a treasure chest to be stolen from in an instant.

    Alpha? maybe

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernie View Post
    Im not sure?
    he wont rush past me through doors.
    he waits till i give permission to break a sit
    he waits till i say ok to run off and play
    he waits till i say ok to eat anything ive put on the floor

    but on the other hand....
    He steals food real quick from an unattended bbq
    He talks back a lot - literally.
    He loses concentration on my training days, when hubby stands with a sodding hot dog watching me get sweaty and frustrated! aaggh!
    He see's my handbag, as a treasure chest to be stolen from in an instant.

    Alpha? maybe

  9. #9
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    Bernie, I'd say "puppy" for sure.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dognews View Post
    Dogs are social, pack-oriented animals. Your dog will respect a strong, clear, fair leader.
    You are better off being a teacher and training the dog. I won't even bother to refute the whole pack mythos, it's been done to death.
    If you fail to establish this position for yourself, your dog will feel obliged to try to take the position of leader for himself.
    This is nonsense. How do people know what the dog 'feels obliged" to do? And how is he going to become the leader?
    In a natural state,
    Kind of hard to establish a 'natural state' for an artificial species.
    dogs would live their entire lives within the closely structure social order of their pack.
    No. Let's see what two world renowned researchers actually have to say on the matter
    "Comparative social ecology of feral dogs and wolves", Ethology Ecology & Evolution 7: 49-72,
    In the case of feral dogs the social structure appears to be essentially an aggregation of monogamous breeding pairs and their associates (pups and/or subadults of pair members). Agonistic behaviour, which has been observed in ritualized forms similar to those of wolves (L. BOITANI et al. unpubl. data), does not seem to extend over the individual level and does not seem to translate into a higher social structure (i.e., the hierarchical scale of wolves) that includes all individuals and exerts forms of social control on group activity (e.g., in reproduction).
    This means that, all the points made are false. "Packs" don't have a leader. There is no dominance hierarchy And there is no alpha.
    In wolf society, this individual is called the "alpha."
    Even wolf biologists are dropping this term in favour of the more descriptive 'breeding' male/female.
    Professional trainers know that it is a waste of time to try to train a dog without first establishing themselves as alpha to the dog.
    Weasel word alert!!!
    Every dog needs a leader to listen to and adore. Without this leader, a dog will feel lost and unstructured.
    Poor 'alphas' (sniff, sniff) they must feel so lonely and confused.
    1. Always praise your dog confidently
    . Nonsensical and arbitrary, as well as betraying an ape's way of looking at things and projecting them onto a dog.

    2. Praise warmly, well and quickly
    . Again, more apish projections.
    3. Reprimand fairly and quickly, then forgive.
    There are well described rules as to how to use punishment.
    4. Make the dog obey on the first command.
    Better yet, train properly. This is an ego rule based on the belief that non-compliance is an signifies active rebellion by the dog. The usual cause is improper communication with the dog.
    5. Give commands only if you can follow through,
    Better yet, give cues the dog understands and has been reinforced for.
    6. Give permission.
    Based on the false belief that one dog controls everything, which we know is not true.
    7. Deny permission. Monitor your dog's behaviour. Teach him some manners.
    If you teach him manners and proper behavior, you don't have to deny anything.
    8. Do a sit-stay.
    No such thing as a sit-stay. There is only sit which we then train for duration. Funny that LD Mech has never described one wolf making another wolf sit for extended periods.
    9. Be Fair, but tough. Act like a top dog. Tough, but loving.
    Interestingly enough, a real wolf pack (read family), the social interactions seem to be based on submission and deferent behavior and not dominance and 'tough'ness
    10. Be a model to your dog. The top dog behaves with dignity, confidence, authority, and intelligence.
    Talk about projecting and anthropomorphizing the dog.

    Overall, a few tidbits of correct information, but it is drowned by the outdated detritus.

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