I’m always telling people that establishing leadership is the key to having a perfect dog.
So when they ask me how they can be a good Pack Leader, I say this:
Pack Leaders guide, protect, and provide for their dogs. A Pack Leader earns the trust, respect, and love of their dog(s) by doing the following.
Always be calm - Dogs do not trust, respect or follow weak or unstable energy. They will challenge it or run away from it. If you want your dog to do what you want, you have to learn to always be in a calm state of mind.
Screaming and losing your temper does not make your dog understand you better. It makes them fear you and not respect you.
There is a lot of power in silence. And you can make a more powerful connection with your dog by simply using your calm energy and body language, rather than using your voice. To them, when you start yelling and screaming, you look ridiculous.
But if you say nothing, and let calmness to do the talking, dogs will take you seriously.
Be consistent – Dogs are creatures of habit. They don’t like variety or surprises. They like to know what is expected of them. They need to know what do, when to do it, and how to do it.
This is why you need to establish directions, boundaries, and limits, and consistently enforce them.
If you allow your dog to sometimes go on the couch, and then other times you kick him off, he will become confused. Then he is going to start challenging you to figure out what the rules and limits really are.
Rules are rules, period!
You can break the rules sometimes, but if you do, you have to make it clear that this is an exception, and this is where ritual comes in.
Use your instincts - Easy for dogs, hard for humans.
The easiest way to learn how to be instinctual is to learn how to live in the present moment. Let go of the past and future.
Learn from the past, plan for the future, but always focus on the present. It’s the only place where the first two things can be done.
If you want to learn how to be a Pack Leader, watch and learn from your dogs. On the walk, watch how your dogs experience the world.
You can’t be instinctual until you learn to experience the world the way your dogs do, and you can’t do that without living in the present moment, and watching them do their thing.
Have respect - Do not try to make your dog human. Respect your dog’s “dogness.” Let her be a dog, and simply provide what she needs and wants, not what you need and want.
Your dogs will not follow you if you don’t respect them for what they are.
And the best way to respect them is by fulfilling their needs as dogs through the work, rules, and then reward formula.
Be confident – The most important trait of a Pack Leader is confidence.
You have to let go of fear, anxiety, and frustration, and believe you’re going to see positive results even if you are struggling. But to let go of negative emotions, you have to trust your dog. That shows you respect him.
A Pack Leader is not afraid of what their dog might do wrong. They always expect their dog is going to do the right thing.
And if not, they address it when the bad behavior happens, then move on. This is how you see results.
When you feel this way, your energy will reflect it, and your dog will react to it immediately.
Dogs instinctively know how to act like a Pack Leader. Humans do too, but only after they let go of their emotions and rational thinking.
Remember, It’s about training people, NOT training dogs!
If you need guidance, support or direction, consider hiring a professional to help.
www.packmantotherescue.com / 201-937-6123