Effective Leadership Part 3

 Step 8 –  Honour Pack ‘Rules’

Dogs have their own set of rules to show who is higher up the pack hierarchy and many behaviourists have recommended we implement the same rules into our human pack.

o       Leaders have control of the best sleeping/rest areas.  Avoid letting your dog occupy elevated positions around the house – such as your bed, furniture, lap or shoulders unless you have specifically given permission first – this is one of the many privileges that must be earned.

o       Leaders eat first- your dog should therefore be fed after the rest of the family  If this is impractical, prepare your dog’s meal then make him wait while you finish some other chores, or have a cup of tea.

o       Leaders have right of passage . Don’t allow your dog to push ahead of you through doorways  – this is simply good manners.  Open and shut the door quickly until your dog steps back – that’s your cue to walk through ahead.  Soon it will become second nature for your dog to follow behind. Similarly, if your dog is lying in a hallway or narrow passage, ask him to move – don’t walk around him.

o       Leaders own the best toys  – all interactive toys are YOURS – the dog only has a chance to play with them when you say so, and must give them up when you have had enough.

           ‘Dominance’ an overrated catch-phrase

Dominance is a term that defines a relationship between two individuals but is often incorrectly used to denote a general personality trait.  Usually when someone describes a dog as ‘dominant’ they mean the dog is outgoing, confident, pushy or perhaps even out of control.  No one would deny that puppies come with a great variety of personalities some more easy going than others – just like people do – but they will only ‘dominate’ a relationship if you let them.  Entire breeds have been labelled as ‘dominant’ when in fact you will find pushy and timid dogs in every breed and in every litter.  ‘Dominance’  has also been equated with aggression when in fact many submissive dogs will act aggressively out of fear and many dogs labelled ‘dominant’ may rarely resort to aggression as they are confident and secure with who they are in the world.  One of the problems with using ‘dominant’ as a label is that it is used as an excuse for harsh training methods or no training at all.   Don’t get hung up on labels  – just as apples are ‘obedient’ to the laws of gravity,  dogs are obedient to the laws of learning .

Article courtesy of Karin Larsen Bridge, partner of Get S.M.A.R.T. Dog Training, Sydney.
You can also follow this and other articles at my publishing site publishing site.

Previous post:

Next post: