Dog or Human?

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their dogs is treating them as humans or assuming that dogs need the same emotional requirements as humans.

Generally this happens because people do not understand the nature of a pack. As most of you know, dogs are pack animals. Pack animals need one thing more than anything else.

Leadership.

Affection vs. Leadership

Because dogs are pack animals they are comfortable following. When a dog receives too much affection and not enough leadership the dog’s world becomes unbalanced.

I often look at the bands some people wear around their wrists with the letters WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). My idea is to wear a wrist band that says WWDD (What Would a Dog Do). Every time you are in a situation with your dog you are not sure about you can look down at your wrist and consider:

1. Dogs don’t give dogs too much affection.

When a dog receives too much affection without boundaries, this is a sign of weakness from the pack leader.

2. A dog will not behave because they love you.

A dog will do what you say because they respect you. Being a consistent, firm pack leader is what the dog is looking for. Once you fulfill the dog’s needs, they are comfortable and more content to live their lives among your pack.

3. If you won’t do it, they will

Understand that if you are not acting as the pack leader, out of pure instinct a dog will attempt to fill the role. This is where the bad behavior comes in.

4. Don’t feel sorry for your dog

Dogs live in the now, not the past and not the future. Dogs are very simple creatures. Feeling pity on a dog is a wasted emotion that only serves to confuse a dog again by showing weakness. Your dog knows you are unhappy but does not know why. If we show weakness we are only going to feed whatever else is wrong with the dog and create an even more unstable situation.

5. Don’t get mad at your dog

Anger is another wasted emotion on a dog. When you get angry you lose control. When you lost control your dog will again see this as a weakness. You will never make a point out of anger. Take a breath. Nothing your dog does is personal. If your dog is acting out of negative behavior consider where it’s coming from. It may be time to smack yourself with that newspaper.

6. A dog is not a child.

I make this statement however the raising of a child should be almost the same as a dog. They need the same things.

Consistency
Leadership
Praise
Affection

The key is the right balance.

Be fair to your dog. Be a stable pack leader. If you don’t know how, seek help. Understand pack leadership and give your dog what he desires. You will both be much happier.

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