Follow the Leader - By Glenda Herrin, ABC Mentor Trainer & Owner Of Heeling Hounds
Saturday, January 30, 2010 : 12:35:05 PM Updated Friday, August 12, 2011 : 10:56:40 AM
If a dog senses that his human owner is not assuming a leadership role and taking charge of the household, the dog perceives a leadership vacuum and feels the need to step in and fill that role. This holds true especially in multiple-dog households where dogs will fight to become pack leader, because discipline (rules, boundaries, limitations), order, and pack stability are vitally important to maintaining social harmony, reducing conflicts, and ensuring survival, and someone needs to assume the leadership role. Dogs are so finely tuned to the rules of the group because cooperation means survival. Social animals rely on knowing their place and their role within the group in order to ensure the group’s survival. Clients who tell me “Oh, Tinky is our alpha dog!” and allow their dogs to “duke it out” amongst themselves to establish leadership tell me the human family is not in charge. Humans should always be the leaders or alphas in the family!
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