Dogs Need Leadership
There is a lot of discussion around canine social systems, and whether or not dogs need to have a hierarchy to thrive, whether or not they’re with a pack of dogs or just their owner. You’ll notice that if you have multiple dogs, they spent a lot of their time vying for dominance and play-fighting. But ultimately, even if they out-rank each other, they need to look to one person – you. Here’s a breakdown of the importance of this role.
- They need leader to be the source of food, toys, treats, and affection. Dogs recognize where their resources come from.
- Leaders have to stay calm and non-reactionary. This means that hitting, yelling, or panicking when something happens may change the way your dog views you.
- Leaders set examples and lead with consistency. By enforcing rules every time in the same way and not choosing favorites, dogs learn right from wrong.
- Leaders are fair and take time to recognize when their dog is stressed, misunderstanding, or distracted. If you punish a dog unfairly, it may recognize that you’re not in control of the situation.
All in all, being your dog’s leader is more than being the person who puts food down and grabs the leash. You’re a social example, a behavioral example, and your dog’s impulse control. If they don’t feel like they’re being adequately led or can trust you to provide an example, they may develop anxiety or compensating behaviors.