First,5 Surefire Ways to Show Your Dog You’re The Boss Articles let’s take a look at what a “pack mentality” means. Dogs are born into packs – in the wild, packs are the essential social order. Unlike humans, who use a variety of political processes to determine leadership and rank, dogs sort out their social order by dominance and power. In a wolf pack, there is a Top Dog – a clear leader who is the dominant, Alpha male. He’s the Big Dog, with pride of place at the dinner table (well, if wolves had a dinner table!), first in mating, first in decision making for the pack.
Whether you realize it or not, your dog views your household as his own personal wolf pack. The pack mentality is so engrained in your dog’s psyche that he will either view you as a leader – or a follower – depending on your actions. If you are to have a well-trained dog, you must establish that you are the leader, and he is the follower. Your dog has to know in his heart that you are the Alpha Dog, the Head Honcho, the Big Dog, the Top Dog – call it whatever you want, but your dog needs to know you’re in charge.
Dogs are a little like children in one respect – they’re looking for someone else to be the leader – they want rules and regulations because that makes their role in the pack more clear-cut and understandable. It’s scary being the leader – if you’re not up to it, your dog may assume the role – because someone has to be in charge!
If that’s what’s happened at your house, you need to re-establish your position as the Top Dog, or “Leader of the Pack.” But here’s an important note: being the leader of the pack has absolutely nothing to do with harsh punishment. It has everything to do with consistency and setting limits.
A simple rule to remember (and one people have great difficulty keeping in mind) is that you are the leader, not your dog.
1. You Go Through The Door First
Even something as straightforward as who walks through the door first can reinforce your position as “dominant dog.” Leaders lead. Followers follow. If you allow your dog to charge through the door ahead of you, he perceives that as asserting his dominance over you. Put your dog on the leash, and make sure you’re the first one through the door.
2. You Eat Before Your Dog
Who gets fed first in your house – you or your dog? In a wolf pack, the leader eats first, and when he is done, the rest of the pack can dine. Do you feed your dog first because he pesters you when y