Dealing With Behavioural Problems in Dogs: How to Take on the Pack Leader Role

February 3, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

It is important to relate well to a dog and establish the pack leader role, to eliminate unwanted behaviours. By adopting an authoritative and calm manner with the dog, it is possible to change the dynamics of the power balance and have a positive and rewarding relationship.

Altering the Pet/Owner Relationship

A dog that displays behaviours such as growling, biting and aggression is usually feeling insecure and thinks it needs to protect its owner. It is only by taking control of the relationship and establishing the owner as the ‘alpha’ in the household that these traits can be reduced.

Poor Behaviour in Young Dogs and Puppies

Most negative behavioural traits begin when the pup is very young. Things like jumping up, nipping and barking may seem cute in a young dog, but if the behaviour isn’t corrected early on it can lead to problems later. Pulling on the lead can make walking difficult, and a dog that has not learnt to stay on command or return to its owner can put itself in danger.

Poor behaviour can be highly ingrained in an untrained dog. The dog is acting just as it would in a pack, and assumes the principal pack leader role in the absence of an authoritative leader. It feels it has to be constantly alert and defend the pack from strangers.

This sense of obligation may make people nervous if the dog jumps up or barks. If the behaviour is left unchecked at the very least the dog could knock over children or scare people. At worst, they can become very aggressive and bite children, adults and other animals. Much of this can be prevented if the dog owner knows how to relate to their dog and teaches them appropriate behaviours.

Making Effective Changes

To stop inappropriate behaviours and to encourage appropriate ones, it really takes education and consistency on the owner’s part, adopting an authoritative pack leader roll. In the end how your dog behaves really depends on how well the owner is educated and how consistent he is.

Don't allow inappropriate behaviours under any circumstances. All dogs are a little difficult to teach something new at first, especially if the pack leader status is not clear. However, with knowledge it can be possible to turn things around in a very short amount of time.

Socialising a Dog

Most dogs need to learn to be socialised. Dogs naturally want to bark, nip and jump, and need to spend time with people and other dogs from an early age to become accustomed to others. By introducing the dog to others in a controlled environment, it is possible to curb poor behaviour and get them accustomed to new people and fellow dogs.

Being a Pack Leader

The pack leader role involves taking a calm but authoritative stance with a dog, every time it exhibits problem behaviours. By staying quietly firm and not encouraging poor behaviour, the dog will gradually learn that the owner is in control, losing the need to be alpha of the pack. Stay consistent, rewarding great behaviour and admonishing poor, until the dog understand that its owner is in charge.

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