understanding dog psychology
Most dogs are followers by nature; very few are true “Alpha” dogs. This means that most dogs will look for leadership before “acting” as leaders themselves. Ideally we want handlers to be leaders. If there is no one willing or capable to take this role, the dog will. This creates anxiety and tension in a dog not capable of the leadership role, and bad behavior ensues. The dog becomes snarky, bratty, pushy, snotty and disrespectful.
All dogs are born into a pack status or role within the pack; it is predetermined regardless of the breed or sex of the dog. Often times, you can tell by watching puppies, that pack status is inherent in dog; you cannot change this ONLY CONTROL this for the life of the dog. Dogs are also born nervous, fearful, happy-go-lucky, or dominant. People often confuse their inherent traits as abuse, neglect or maltreatment or previous home experiences. This is simply not true. These traits also will never just go away. You must learn to control those behaviors. We, as handlers, can dramatically affect these behaviors by reinforcing the bad with weak energy, and rewarding the good with positive energy. You cannot help a dog by feeling sorry for them, but you can reward them by “leading” them to a peaceful state of mind. This is achieved by holding the dog accountable for unwanted behavior. Leadership removes a lot of bad behavior by instructing the dog into a behavior you want. For example, if the handler does not control the inherent traits of dog, and forces the dog to “lead” the pack with the inherent ‘nervous, fearful energy’, the dog learns to control the pack with their nervous fearful state of mind by snapping, biting, lunging, guarding, etc… By leadership, you can suppress their inherent tendencies. Ask yourself, would you want a nervous, anxious person to immediately start being the President tomorrow because the President decided not to lead that day? Imagine a nervous, fearful person leading the country in the blind…on the spot… Sadly, we do this every day to our dogs. As people, we thrive on rules, boundaries and limitations. We feel better knowing what’s expected of use. We gain confidence when we succeed and are rewarded. Well, dogs are no different… Understand this concept and lead your dog. Dramatic results are seen if only you practice leadership.