If you have a wish of becoming a pack leader to your dog then I assume that you already have a hint what does a pack leader mean. Before human beings started adopting and petting dogs, dogs used to stay on their own either in forests or by sharing the land with the humans.
Since that time, dogs naturally form packs and every pack has a designated leader. We can also say that a Pack Leader is the Boss of the whole pack. He or she(generally, a female dog is a pack leader) is also called an ‘alpha male’ or an ‘alpha dog’.
A pup’s mother starts training him since his birth. She decides when to give food, when to send them to play and a lot of other things.
Hence since the ancient times, dogs have developed a philosophy that there is a leader whom they need to follow and obey their instructions. When they do not find anyone fitting the position as a leader in our households, they assume themselves as the ‘alpha dog’ or the Pack Leader.
Now you can very well guess the psychology of your dog when he assumes himself as the Pack Leader of the house. Will he follow your instructions when you try to train him with positive reinforcement? Will he listen to you when you are shouting at him to come towards you?
But there is not a big reason to worry. Whether you have a puppy or an elder dog, you can take the control back and become a pack leader to form an authority over your dog. By being a pack leader I do not mean that you need to punish him in some way or other, but it is a silent leadership in which both you and your dog knows who is the one leading.
5 Points to Becoming a Pack Leader
Know your own Pack
A true Leader knows his team members and their strengths and weaknesses. Just like that, a Pack leader knows what his pack needs and how to get the best out of them. When you are a Pack leader or want to become one, you need to know what your dog needs and how you can make him work to earn that.
It is important that you inculcate a habit in your dog that he needs to earn his treats or the things that he likes the most. You need to make training and routine plan and stick to it with consistency. Training together strengthens the bond between the leader and the pet dog.
You need to set rules and limitations in your bond and even in training. The Pack leader is responsible for deciding the rules in the training setup as well.
Be Calm and Confident
You cannot be emotional or nervous as a pack leader. You need to be Strong as emotions and nervousness are huge weaknesses during the training period. Even when your dog is not listening to your calls or gets distracted easily, be composed and show controlled anger only.
Make your Dog Wait
Waiting is also a kind of psychological work for your dog. When you keep your dog or puppy waiting for food or for walks outside, you assert some kind of dominance or authority over your dog. Dominance may not be an appropriate word for this but you can feel that your dog has to wait for you. This silent domination is what is important to have to become a good Pack leader.
Show that you Own the Territory
It is extremely important to show to your dog that you are the rightful owner of the place where he sits, eats and plays. This puts a psychological pressure on the dog that he needs to follow your commands.
Your dog will respect you much more while training if you have asserted authority over the place where he trains.
I know everybody is busy in their life and schedule and it is difficult for maximum people to take out time to train their dog daily for hours. Try to take out maximum time to have maximum exercises and training for your dog. A dog needs both mental and physical stimulation in order to keep himself busy.
A busy dog is a happy and healthy dog. Go out on walks before you feed your dog. Play with him for at least 15 minutes a day and indulge in training routine for at least 20 minutes a day.
If you have some other targets for your dog, for example, you want to solve any of his behavioral problems, you need to spend more time.
For Mental Stimulation, try Brain Training For Dogs which can make your dog super intelligent and smart.
You can become a pack leader to any dog and breed. Asserting authority over a puppy is easier compared to an elder dog already with you for some months or years as he may have already assumed himself as the Pack leader. But you can always get your position as a leader back by following these 6 Essentials to become a Successful Pack Leader.
6 Essentials needed to Become a Pack Leader
- Limited access to your home
- Basic obedience commands
- Training to walk on a leash
- Solve separation anxiety
- Learn to communicate with energy
- Control the food and water supply
1. Limited access to your home
Does your dog stand up and play on your furniture? Does your dog also hop onto your dining table and eat anything he needs? Does he sleep with you on your bed? If the answer to all the questions is yes then you are not being a pack leader. Your dog is controlling what he needs in your house and he does not consider you as someone superior.
You need to own your home in the eyes of your pet dog and assert the authority of your house. Control the places where your dog can have access to your house. He should have access to only the floor and his own bed. You can always allow him to sleep with you or access to furniture afterward when you feel he has been trained well and you have the position of the pack leader.
2. Basic obedience commands
After the first step, start with teaching your dog with the basic obedience commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. You can start training puppies after they are 3-4 weeks old with these basic commands. Elder dogs can be taught basic commands as well.
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3. Train your Dog to Walk on the Leash
Your dog shall be properly leash trained. That means, he should be walking properly while the leash is attached to his body without pulling the leash, biting the leash or barking at other dogs in the neighborhood. While this is easy to teach to puppies, leash training might take some time with dogs who have a habit of pulling the leash or continuously barking at dogs in the surroundings.
A pack leader is responsible for other dogs in his pack barking on other dogs or people and therefore your dog has to take your permission or command before barking at someone. Barking at someone knocking at your house door at odd timings do not include here.
It is extremely important for you and your dog to go on walks daily. One in the morning and one in the evening can be good. You can also take him out for a walk for more than 2 times per day as per your schedule. Be consistent with the walks and reward his good leash behavior with tasty treats.
4. Solve Separation Anxiety
When a Pack has a strong leader, the members of that pack do not worry about their leader leaving them for some time. They have a feeling that their leader has everything under control and the members are safe.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety when you leave the house for any work, then it means he does not consider you as a strong leader. This is a sort of weakness in your dog.
When the leader of the pack leaves the members, the pack members wait patiently. The same thing should also happen in your house. When you leave your house, a good dog should wait patiently.
Also when you arrive back, do not make a big deal of the fact that you are back. Obviously, your dog would jump at you and demand for your affection and love. Just say ‘hello’ and wave at him and when he tried to jump at you, move away.
You can love him when he has calmed down after 30 minutes of you arriving back at your home. Learn how you can calm him down in these easy steps.
5. Learn to Communicate with Energy
Dogs howl and bark at each other when they are strangers but generally, they do not communicate with each other through audible signals. Mostly, they speak through energy vibes.
Similarly, you need to rely on energy communication in order to be a good pack leader. If you are happy with your dog, your dog should get positive energy vibes from you. If you are angry with him, he should get to know without you yelling or scolding him.
This can be tricky for you as we humans heavily rely on audible and visual communication and it can be difficult for us to start communication through energy. Just try to show calm and assertive behavior.
Here is an Info-graphic on what can you asses from different body signals of a dog.
6. Control the Food and Water supply
In the wild packs, the pack leader decides who gets to eat what. His decision is obeyed by everyone in the pack. You need to control what your dog will eat tonight. If he does not like the dish or his food, do not pay much attention as eventually he has to eat that when he gets to know that his behavior does not bother you.
Repeat this kind of attitude for some time until he gets habitual to it. If he is very protective about his food, that means he does not see you as a pack leader. And if your dog has some kind of food aggression, that’s a big red flag and you got to stop that kind of behavior immediately. Get trial to this training in just $1 where you will learn how you can solve his food aggression problems.
I hope this article was able to give you a lot of helpful information on How to Become a Successful Pack Leader. Comment Below if you have any experiences or points to share.