Dog Behavior: Like Children, They Need Leadership and Guidance
Dogs have the inclination towards being “pack” animals. Just like their ancestors from whom they evolved, the wolf, dogs think in terms of partnerships and teamwork when it comes to certain activities. Similar to the way a sports team will work together in order to accomplish the combined goal of winning, your dog looks towards you and the rest of the family as his “team” and counts on you all to help him survive, learn the rules of the house, and condition his behavior.
And like a winning team, there are certain characteristic behaviors that must be adhered to and provided by all members of the family, including your dog. Such examples of winning characteristics are disciplined structure, operation among everyone including your dog, and most important, respect between your dog’s “pack” members. Without these components, there would be chaos and very little way in which your dog could recognize who is in charge and leading his team.
Dogs and puppies need this understanding of leadership and who is to play that role in order to be happy and feel a sense of belonging. Regardless of who is considered the leader in your family, it doesn’t matter to your dog, so long as there is one then your pet will be happy and feel a sense of security.
For those family households that have more than one member living inside the home, your dog will recognize a specific hierarchy that develops in time. For example, in my home I have my wife and my daughter that all coexist with the family pet. My dog recognizes his role as the bottom of the leadership chain, and he is quite happy with that. He understands that all of us play a more dominant role in the “pack” than he does. Because there is structure and he is trained to know who is in charge, even though there are multiple members of the family, his sense of security and well-being is guaranteed.
Most dog behavior problems stem from lack of rules and discipline in the house
At this point you have learned that all dogs need to have rules and boundaries firmly set in the household in order for them to be happy. It is the same way with children. Without mommy or daddy to set the rules and enforce those rules, kids typically end up with with an enormous amount of personal behavior problems.
If your dog does not recognize the family as a team and has no sense of who is in charge, his behavior problems can be a nightmare. It is your job to start creating a social order in your house immediately. You must learn to communicate with your dog by reading his body language and picking up on his sense of who’s in charge.
And the job will be a lot easier if you can get all members of your family on the same playing field. They must all agree with how your dog should be treated. This will help tremendously so that your time is not wasted as you work hard to create a pack within the family, which will help your dog become a happy, well-trained family pet.