Is your big dog the pack leader? Or are you? Does it matter?
Why The Pack Leader Matters
The pack leader is just that – the leader. Anyone else is a follower. If you want your large dog to be well-behaved, meaning he follows your commands, then your role as pack leader needs to be absolutely certain.
This is critical when your dog’s safety is at risk. Imagine that your Rottweiler gets out of the yard and runs into the street. You see a car coming. You would want your dog to turn around and run to you as soon as you said “Come!” wouldn’t you? Listening to your commands should be non-negotiable. If you’re the pack leader, they will be.
Related: How To Teach A Dog To Come
Relieving The Burden
Maintaining your role as pack leader is good for your dog’s sanity. It is stressful for a dog as pack leader. It means taking responsibility for the pack at all times. When you are pack leader, your dog does not have to take that responsibility and just has to worry about 2 things: himself and listening to you.
Signs Your Dog Thinks He's Pack Leader
So, does your big dog think he’s leader of the pack? Here are 3 signs that he does:
1. He likes to be up high.
Think about a wolf in the wild. Their best vantage point for spotting danger is the highest point they can reach. If your large dog thinks he’s pack leader, he will want to be as high up as he can so he can watch out for the pack. This means sleeping on beds and climbing on couches, to name a few. If your dog sleeps at the foot of the bed, he’s still giving you some respect, but if his head is on a pillow he’s claiming dominance. He wants the best spot in the house.
2. He physically dominates you.
This includes jumping or standing on you, sitting on your lap, putting his paw on you uninvited. It’s a show of physical dominance and superiority, much like a dog who stands over another dog that has rolled over to show its belly. The dog on top is, well, top dog.
3. He is demanding.
If your big dog demands attention, food, etc. then it’s because he thinks he’s pack leader and can tell you what to do. He pushes toys at you, getting more forceful if you do not respond, because he wants to play now and his will is what matters.
If he does these things, your big dog thinks he’s pack leader.
There are a few easy ways you can reclaim your spot as pack leader. Read 5 ways to show your dog you're pack leader.
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Photo credit: Jon Hurd