Traits of a Leader

Why Dogs Do What They Do: a Quick Study of Normal Dog Behaviors

Sylvia Dickens asked:

Dog behaviors can confuse human owners, which makes it that much more difficult to bond with them. Once you gain a better understanding of why dogs do what they do, however, you’ll be one giant step ahead in the bonding and training process.

One of the first things to realize is that dogs come from the wolf family. Wolves are social animals that run in packs. All members have their status within those packs, from the dominant male to the submissive female.

Establishing roles in the pack is one of the most predominant dog behaviors that domestic dogs have inherited, along with other traits. Dogs like to know where they fit in the pack. That’s why owners have to take the upper hand and become the leaders. Until this happens, bonding and training will be elusive.

Unfortunately, some owners are reluctant to take command because they’re afraid they’ll alienate their friendship and their dog won’t love them. It’s important to overcome this fear if you want to end up with an obedient and responsive dog. Understand that your dog will love you simply because you are his leader.

If left to find his own way, a dog will do his best to establish himself as the boss. Dominant dogs will show their dominance by growling and sometimes biting their owners to put them in their place.

It’s imperative for you to reverse this situation at the very beginning by showing your dog that he must take a lesser role in the social order.

Such dog behaviors as this are ingrained from birth as part of the animal’s survival instincts. Leadership dominance isn’t something that develops afterwards, although it can become a problem if not addressed.

A dominant dog will reject your training efforts because he believes he’s in charge. He’ll want to be out front when you take him for a walk. He’ll want to call all the shots, which means he’s more likely to ignore you and your commands.

He’ll be the protector of the pack. Some dogs become too protective and can become a danger to others. You don’t want that, so establish who’s the boss from the moment you bring your puppy home. Dogs are quick to accept leadership from those who show authority and dominant traits.

They respond to actions that mimic or reflect their inherent dog behaviors. Your size alone will automatically show the dog that you are the dominant member.

By using a tone of voice that projects your authority and letting the dog know that you’re taking charge, your pet will soon recognize and accept his role in the pack.

Dogs don’t like confusion or vagueness. It makes them unsure and their actions misdirected. Once your dog knows where he stands, he’ll be better prepared to obey and love you.

Remember, growling is one of the dog behaviors wolf pack leaders use to let others know where they stand. It isn’t necessary for you to hit your dog or be a tyrant to send this message. Use an authoritative voice and be persistent in your demands and he’ll soon get the point.

Another one of the dog behaviors worth imitating is touch, or affection. In the pack, wolves nuzzle each other to show how they feel and to get the other’s attention. Mothers lick their pups regularly, not only to keep them clean, but to show them that they belong.

A pup that gets such attention is much happier and well-rounded than one that is ignored and rejected. He is better able to adjust to his changing world and the people and animals around him.

Such dog behaviors become your responsibility as the new pack leader. Keep in mind that from the moment puppies are born, they establish their adaptability into the pack by the things that are in their immediate environment.

By showing your puppy, or even an adopted dog, that they belong and are welcome, you can help ease their transition into your pack. A well-adjusted dog is much easier to train because he aims to please and take up his rightful role in the group. Naturally, the earlier exposure to the human touch and other dogs occurs, the more socialized he will become.

Be aware of why dogs do what they do and take appropriate action to let your pet know you are the leader. Approach your new companion with normal dog behaviors in mind, and you might be surprised how easy training and bonding can be.

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