Dogs Need A Leader….Here’s Why – Dog Training Pittsburgh

Dogs, by nature, respond best to a pack structure. They feel most comfortable in a team with a clear leader and consistent rules/responsibilities. In my training programs, I stress the importance of making sure the “leader of the pack” is the owner.

However, if the owner has not established themselves as such, their dog may look to fill the slot. This results in rebellious and sometimes aggressive behavior, sometimes towards the family, and sometimes towards other animals within the household. This is why owners with two or more dogs will often witness a fight for dominance between their dogs.

I came across this last year with a dog named Baxter. Baxter’s owner called me because he was displaying aggressive behavior to members of the family and to the other dog in the home, Rosco. In fact, he’d done some major damage to Rosco during their last fight, and that was the last straw for his owner.

Although dominant behavior is far from acceptable, it’s sometimes easy to overlook if one dog is aggressive and the other is submissive. When both dogs are aggressive and vying for the position of the lead dog, however, things can escalate pretty quickly.

As previously stated, the way to solve this is to clearly establish the owner as the leader. We achieved this using a combination of basic obedience training, proper leash handling techniques, and by implementing a structured schedule for both dogs. Basic obedience not only teaches dogs commands, but it also helps to define the dog as the one who should be listening and the owner as the one who should be listened to. Proper leash handling techniques ensures effective communication, and a structured schedule for feeding, walking, and eliminating further teaches the dog to focus and rely on the owner.

These techniques worked for Baxter, and they can work for you, too. If your dog has behavior similar to Baxter, let’s talk. Give me a call at 800.649.7297.