How can a dog owner become an effective pack leader?
The most challenging part of training a dog is not the training routines themselves, but the requirement that you have to become a natural pack leader to your dog.
Dogs are naturally inclined to follow the example and lead of a pack leader, so it only makes sense that you transform yourself into one so that your pet will respect and follow your training routines.
Pack leadership can definitely be mastered over time.
Don’t be intimidated by experienced trainers who seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to communicating with dogs. Professional trainers can’t actually talk to dogs or read animal minds; they’re just really good at expressing themselves in a way that dogs can readily understand.
There lies the true secret of pack leadership: knowing how to conduct oneself in the presence of a dog and understanding how canine communication works.
If you want to be a truly effective dog trainer, you have to develop these two essential and unique skillsets. You also have to become organized with your techniques and how you intend to teach different skills and commands to your dogs.
Training a dog isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but it’s not rocket science either.
If you are a dedicated dog owner, you have a very good chance at succeeding in training your dog. Here are some expert tips that will help you transform into a true pack leader and dog trainer:
- Make Plans & Set Goals
Training a dog is like any other worthwhile endeavor: it will require time, energy and different resources to achieve. Not all attempts at training a dog are successful mainly because not all dog owners plan and set goals before they start training their pets.
When you plan and set a training goal for a dog, you have to be aware of the following details:
- The age of the dog
- The current learning capacity of the dog
- The tools and techniques needed to achieve the training goal
The first two factors are essential because your whole training system will revolve around the current mental and emotional profile of your dog, as determined by its age.
For example, puppies are generally known to have short attention spans so a training routine for a puppy should be shorter than what is usually given to an adolescent dog or adult dog.
- Resolve Incongruities
Why should you be your dog’s leader and not its friend?
Many dog owners acquire their pets without knowing that they have to play the part of a pack leader. I often hear dog owners say that they don’t want to be a leader; they want to be a friend.
Well, this is one of those situations in life where you can’t change the circumstances at all because in the case of dogs, these animals are genetically hardwired to follow pack leaders.
When a dog is separated from its litter, the humans that handle it become pack leaders to it one way or another.
Dogs will try to fit into any social structure present because it feels more secure doing so. A dog that is not part of a social structure or hierarchy will feel isolated and lonely. The lack of leadership will also trigger behavioral problems which can persist for years.
III. The Canine Perspective
How can you see situations through your dog’s eyes?
This is one particular teaching technique that I like because it really reduces the learning time of the trainer himself. Too often, beginning trainers try to force their students to follow commands and they get frustrated when the dog doesn’t “get it” fast enough.
The problem is that some trainers forget to add the canine perspective to their repertoire of techniques. You have to make an effort to see the situation from the viewpoint of the animal. By putting yourself in the animal’s position you will be able to theorize what’s working and what might be causing problems.
- Create Routines and Schedules
What is a “personal zone”?
As you may have read in some of my previous posts, dogs actually love rules and boundaries. An effective way to ensure that your personal boundaries are enforced is by creating a schedule of activities for your dog. It’s also important that you create a “personal zone” inside your home for your pet.
This “personal zone” will be the dog’s haven and this is where you will bring it when it’s time to rest. Training a dog to stay in just on area when it needs to rest will only be challenging in the beginning. Eventually, your dog will run to his personal zone to feel secure if something is bothering it.