Dogs are descendant of wolves. To study the psychology of dog training and understand the pack hierarchical system of dogs, we must go back and examine their ancestor – wolves.
Wolves live naturally in packs of at least 2 and more… They live in a dictatorship system with strictly defined hierarchies of males and females. In their system, a leader – usually always a male, the biggest and toughest wolf also known as alpha leader would be in charge of the pack and will have the right to everything. The rest of the dogs in the pack would be followers and follow their leader willingly. This hierarchy system is not static and would change when another dominant member challenge the leader’s authority and win.
For your dog, your family is the pack and every member is part of the hierarchy system. From the moment a new puppy or dog is introduce to the family, the new dog will start to pick up signals and indicators to figure out his own status in the family and who’s in charge. If your dog see you as a “alpha leader”, he will follow your commands willingly and this will allows you to train him easily.
On the other hand, if your dog is very dominant (because you allow him to pick up the wrong signals) and starts to challenge your “alpha leader” position, he may refuse to follow your command and turn aggressive against you easily. This situation usually happens in children where dogs see their chain of command higher than that of them. This also explains why children suffer more dog bites than adults do.
If you would prefer to own an obedient dog that pay attention to your command, assuming the role of the “alpha leader’ and establishing control over your dog is extremely important!
Your dog must learn that he is the lowest ranking in the family, subordinate to you, to the children, and must recognize you to be the leader. If such hierarchy is not set up properly, the dog will try to take charge and assume the role of the leader. This’ll eventually lead the dog to turn into “dominant dog” and thus tend to misbehave. If this happens, you’ll face an uphill task to properly train your dog.
As we live in a democratic society, most of us will find it hard to understand the dog’s concept of dictatorship. Nevertheless, it is necessary that we adjust ourselves to understand how the dog live and think. By being dictating, you would think that this is cruel or even inhumane to the dog. If you think so, you are very wrong!
In fact, dogs are more than happy to be a follower and taking instructions from a leader. You have to give your dog directions, organize his space and activities for him, and he’ll be more clued-up and know his boundaries of life, which means knowing what is expected of him when he’s indoor or outdoor.
Your dog will be able to lead a less stressful and happy life and so will you.