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Is your dog trying to be the pack leader?

Putting aside those that disagree with using the word ‘pack’, this blog post is about misunderstood dogs and my humble opinion, an opinion based on over 30 years experience working and living with large groups of dogs.

So here’s my story and I hope it will help some people explain their dogs behaviour.

Disclaimer: This post is not the answer to all your dogs aggression problems, seek help if you are experiencing problems, don’t give your dog away to a pound or sell them on Scumtree. Ask for help from a respected Vet that cares and is educated about behaviour (not all are in fact not many are) or go to an experienced, qualified behaviourist.

What you see – a dog creating havoc around other dogs who are just trying to play

What I see – a dog trying to restore order amongst what he / she sees to be a rowdy misbehaving group of dogs

What i see as an extreme – you are walking your dog and pass another dog and your dog goes crazy at the ‘innocent dog’ (of course this isn’t always why)

Over the years, I’ve had dogs who have been aggressive towards a group of dogs, they run up to them barking and creating, worst case scenario they do actually bite them. I’ve seen dogs with 1 or 2 puncture wounds who were at the receiving end of one of these types of dogs.

My theories come as revelations, the penny drops as it were as the so-called naughty dog grows up and shows more and more signs that all he ever was, was the aspiring pack leader. When you live and work with groups of dogs you learn a lot more than people who only ever have one dog. You will see different behaviours when you have 2 dogs and you will even see these behaviours when you have an ‘only dog’ as

Is your dog trying to be the pack leader
Is your dog trying to be the pack leader

you become their pack as a mixed species group.

Back to the pack word. Some people don’t like the word pack, well I’ve got news for you, it’s a fact. A pack whether you like it or not is the name given to a group of dogs, its a hierarchy, guinea pigs have them, spiders have them, even mixed species form a group or hierarchy, christ you’ve seen people on Facebook haven’t you, they are the worst hierarchy!!!

Go easy on your dog and do some basic obedience with them. Recall is the first behaviour you should be teaching and a ‘sit by me and wait until I jolly well release you’ command or just keep them on the bloody lead if you can’t control them. It is also VERY important to note that if you have no control over your dog, this type of behaviour will be worse. In your mixed hierarchy of humans and dogs you must be top dog. You can get away with humanising your dog, jeez look at Robert!!!! The difference is, Robert was trained to within an inch of his life  at 7 weeks. He is allowed on the bed and knows its his dog given right to be there. Crikey, if he ever had to go in to kennels (that won’t happen), he’d be like “wheres the king size and me blankie mum?”

Is your dog trying to be the pack leader?

Taking control of your dog human relationship, some easy facts to get to grips with –

  • Teach basic obedience, first – recall, second – sit and stay there until I tell you otherwise (i.e. dog doesn’t move in their own time, you make the decisions), lie down – not too important if you have a good sit, as long as they are staying put then we are good.
  • NOW HERE’S THE KILLER CONUNDRUM —- What ever you ask your doing to do (must be a learned command – I don’t like the word command, but I’ll use it anyway, don’t be asking them to do something in a loooong English sentence that you dog will NEVER know what the bloody hell you are on about, unless you are Robert of the Heath aka Golden Paws), FOLLOW IT THROUGH…So –
  • You ask your dog to do a learned command, then they MUST DO IT.
  • Most people I see asking their dog to do something say something like – oh he’s not listening today… I don’t wanna hear this, its pathetic.
  • SO in simple terms it goes like this > human gives command > dog does it….oh wait, isn’t that easy peasy?

Disclaimer: This post is not the answer to all your dogs aggression problems, seek help if you are experiencing problems, don’t give your dog away to a pound or sell them on Scumtree. Ask for help from a respected Vet that cares and is educated about behaviour (not all are in fact not many are) or go to an experienced, qualified behaviourist.

Meg Heath Dog Leads sells dog training leads that help with recall, heck Ive even written a how to teach your dog to come when called blog post.

I have also got Design Rights on The Simple Leader, made by my own fair hand and little fingers to help control dogs that pull.

If you need advice on stuff training related and what lead or collar to buy then call me on 01522 810150.