Are dogs pack animals? May seem a strange question to ask. We all know the answer is “Yes” There has been a lot of information published about dogs being pack animals and the importance of having an Alpha Leader of the Pack. Many people, when they talk about the Alpha Leader, they talk about the strongest or dominant male fulfilling the role. Claiming the leader is more dominant or stronger is oversimplifying the pack structure of dogs and the role of Alpha Leader. Over recent years a lot of research has been completed into the subject of “Are dogs pack animals?”, “Do Dogs have an Alpha Leader of the Pack?” and “How is the Alpha Leader Chosen?” We already knew they lived traditionally as a pack animal as wolves still do. What is more interesting is the fact the the Pack will have an Alpha Leader, but it is one of several that may rotate the responsibility of the Alpha Leader. Then there is how the leader is chosen; the research shows that it is not the strongest and most dominant dog that gets the role and stays in the position until a more giant more robust dog comes along and takes the role.
A Pool Of Leaders, But only One Leader At A Time.
There is a pool of dogs that will fulfil the role of Alpha Leader, and they are not necessarily the strongest and most dominant dog that takes the position. The dogs that take the lead place are the ones that fit the role best, dominance and strength may only be part of the equation. The Alpha Leader is not a bully that leads through being the strongest and most dominant all the time, forcing thew other dogs to follow. They are leaders, and they lead, by that I mean the other dogs willingly follow, they are not being forced. Individual dogs are looking for a leader; they are looking to you to lead. If you don’t lead, they will, and you will then start having problems. There is only one leader at a time, and they are the leader who makes the decisions for the Pack, and the rest willingly submit and follow. Stanley Coren did a turn around after supporting Alpha leader theory, then in later articles did a u-turn highlighting that there were errors in the initial hypothesis. As I said earlier, the Alpha leader is an easy option to give dog owners an excuse for problems they see in their dog.
No Change in domesticated Dogs.
Dogs have been domesticated for many years, yet their dog psychology and instinct has changed very little. Different breeds of dog can show other traits, but their remains one essential trait. Only one dog will lead at a time. Dogs will look for a leader if there isn’t one available they will take on the role themselves. When two dogs meet for the first time, it is interesting to observe them. They will start by approaching each other and start to sniff each other; they will then move in various directions demonstrating lots of body language and even some barking or low-level growling. The dogs are using all their senses to communicate, starting with their strong points, scent and vision then moving on to Sound. The opposite of humans who tend to use Sound, vision and at last scent. The critical point to learn is that we need to start communicating with our dogs in a way they understand, and by following their rules. Taking on this method of communication means we will be inputting a different type of energy, and it is that energy that dogs recognise in individual dogs and is a natural part of a dog’s life. If it were all down to strength and dominance, we wouldn’t see the small packs of dogs that are controlled by a little dog such as a Lhasa Apso. We have all seen this situation and often joked at the fact that The small dog is the leader of the Pack and concerning leadership and dogs “Size does not matter!”
Start Communicating With Your Dog, Be A Leader.
When it comes to communicating and being a leader, it is irrelevant as to whether it is a young dog that is learning the ropes of being a pack member or an older dog that has spent many years being a leader. If you communicate in a way that the dog understands and project the right type of energy, you will start leading the dog, becoming its leader. A dog that has spent a lot of time being a leader may initially show some resistance, just as a human may rebel and have a tantrum if their role suddenly changes and they don’t get their way. However, if you are consistent in your methods and your message, they will quickly accept their new role and love you more for releasing them from the responsibility. You may have heard this story before when reading another article on my site. When I was in the Gambia, I went into an area where there were lots of Monkeys. I was struggling walking and stopped to rest. The local people had told us that the Monkeys would take nuts from our hands but wouldn’t let you touch them or climb on you. I started giving a few nuts to a young monkey, and it kept coming closer. Eventually, the youngster climbed on my knee and I decided to try stroking it. It was very happy, and before I knew it, I had monkeys all over me. Other people wanted the same, but the monkeys wouldn’t engage with them. All I could see was I interacted differently, and I got a different reaction. The same principle applies to dogs; you need to change your communication to get a different result.
Communicating As A Leader Of The Pack.
In my next article, I will show you some rules to follow that will help you start communicating a new message to your dog. You can start telling your dog the latest statement by implementing these new rules. Making a few simple changes and consistently sending out your new message to your dog will create the relationship you want. You will see your dog start relaxing, becoming calmer than you have previously visited them. You will begin learning why it is said that “A dog is a mans best friend.”