What’s wrong with words like Alpha, Pack Leader, Leader?
We humans have made them bad for our dogs.
First of all, dogs do live in a hierarchical society.
So do we.
We live in a family order, from siblings to parents to grandparents – and so on. Family order means you don’t have to worry about a place to live, food to eat, and who does what to survive.
We live in an ordered society – city government that keeps you safe with law enforcement, provides drinking water, drivable roads (hmmm), activities, and other daily needs. Again, so you don’t have to worry about basic needs.
A government system that takes care of a society’s place in the world, keeping us safe from global threats and providing forms of trade that make it financially better to live.
What about our jobs. Yep. Basic everyday workers, to specialized workers, to a hierarchy of bosses and business owners.
Other primates live within a hierarchy. So do horses, cats, chickens (pecking order), etc.
Why are we now insisting our dogs don’t need this kind of order?
Because we took a small aspect of their pack lives and blew it out of proportion.
We focused only on punishment.
Yes, packs do have a punishment system, but nothing like what we turned it into. Alpha rolls, torture techniques, yelling, anger.
Yes, sometimes the alpha and even the beta dogs have to carry out some undesirable actions, but it’s because an offending dog is doing something that is considered a major threat to pack survival.
Alphas (totally just a scientific term to designate the dogs in charge – again, we made the term bad) who are brutal – yes some are – usually end up without a pack. The pack takes it for so long, then often disbands.
Packs need good leadership so the pack does not have to worry about their big needs – food and safety.
Leadership = keeping rules so the pack thrives.
Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Does your dog need a leader?
But not an abusive one.
Your dog needs a leader who:
- keeps the rules of a pack with love and compassion, yet with consistency.
- who cares enough to keep the rules so the dog can relax, enjoy life.
Rules = the keys to relaxation.
If you don’t lead according to pack rules, your dog will assume he needs to lead, even if he doesn’t want to.<
Many, many dogs are not meant for leadership and need you to take the role.
When you take leadership your dog doesn’t have to be responsible for the pack rules (they are not the same as human rules) anymore, which calms anxiousness, moodiness, bossiness.
Your dog needs dog rules just like toddlers need family rules in order to feel safe and happy. Can you imagine a toddler in charge of the family? Chaos, screaming, crying, fighting.
Ever see dogs like that?
How about bossy dogs?
Live, Love, Bark,
What kind of rules do you have for your dogs? Let me know in the comments.