To get your dog to behave well and be happy you need an understanding of basic dog psychology, and that’s what this article sets out to give you. And it’s quite simple really. In a nut shell the most important thing to a dog is survival. Survival depends on survival of the pack. The pack’s survival depends on the ability of the leader to protect and provide for the pack. So having a good leader in place is essential for your dog to feel happy and to behave in a well mannered way.
In basic dog psychology, what is a ‘good leader’?
The opening statement sounded simple enough, but our thoughts on a good leader compared to basic dog psychology are quite different. We put a leader in place and leave them to it until they’ve got it horrendously wrong on numerous occasions. A dog would never do that. Basic dog psychology dictates that the leader must always be the best one for the job. So if the current leader shows that they are not up to scratch, then a new leader must step forward and take over. They look to confirm the abilities of the leader on a DAILY basis! There are four areas that a leader must make sure that they do not show any weaknesses across:
1. Letting their status slip
A leader only does things on their own terms. They do not give attention, play or do anything else when it is being asked of from them. Notice how much your dog is asking for things, rather than waiting until being invited…
A leader is totally in charge of the food. Does your dog demand food from you? Or pick and choose when he/she eats what you put down? Do they ever show possessiveness to food? If yes to any of these, then they do not see you as in charge of the food…
Is your dog often responding to danger it perceives (barking/lunging/cowering)? Does it look to you for a decision or get on with dealing with it itself? Basic dog psychology shows that a dog expects the leader to deal with the danger and will accept their decisions.
A leader should be in charge of the walk from start to finish. Who is taking whom for a walk? Is your dog responsive to you, or doing its own thing?
If your dog sees anything short of leadership across these areas, then common sense tells them that you must not be leader. Then they will fill in themselves, and this is where all dog behaviour problems start. If you would like help learning how to become the best leader possible for your dog, in a way they will totally understand. And in a way which allows you to kind and calm, still having a wonderfully affectionate relationship with them, then get in touch.