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How a dogs instinctive need for structure affects it's behavior

By Edited Mar 14, 2016 2 3

If you learn how your dog thinks you will have a better understanding of his behavior

In this article we intend to explore some of the basic ideas of dog Psychology. By taking this time to understand how your dog thinks, you will gain a better understanding of your dog. This will help you greatly during your dog training sessions

lady

Understand the basic principals of dog Psychology

dog psychology like any other branch of psychology is about learning to understand why a dog acts and behaves in a given situation. Given that a dog is a descendant of the wolf it can be fascinating to consider how they have adapted to living in a human "pack" as the center of his social organization

Wild wolves follow and obey a dominant and fair pack leadership. dogs on the other hand have learned and adapted to accept their human family as their pack and as such, have learned to live with and obey their humans that show the same leadership skills. As a dominant pack member you build a trusting bond with your dog and it is through this bond, that you create a cooperation and working partnership with your dog. This partnership is what creates a well behaved dog. "Proper" behavior is then rewarded by a fair pack leader (you) and the dog learns that positive actions are rewarded and thus repeated. This is the basis for learning any command you may wish to teach your dog.

A wolf in dogs clothing

For a better understanding of dog psychology, you need to learn how wolves live. Wolves in the wild, live in family packs of two or more animals. They follow a strictly defined dictatorship system of dominant males and females, with a dominant pair making up the leadership head.

The head wolf is considered as the "alpha" of his pack in this dictatorship system. He is usually the largest and strongest male in the pack, and all the other wolves in his pack follow him eagerly and with the utmost of respect. He in turn must be a fair leader or there is desertion in the pack and chaos ensues.

Instincts of the wolf

Because of the similarities of wolf and human social structures, the wolf was able to adapt to a domestic lifestyle. Wolves and humans both have the same instinctive mental and psychological structures. They are accustomed to dividing responsibilities, especially when it comes to hunting food. One animal determines the track, usually the dominant female, One animal stands guard, and one makes for the attack and kill. The alpha leader is always the first to eat, then when he is done, he allows the other pack members to feed on his leftovers.

Pack hierarchy

When you introduce a new dog into your home, he considers you as his new family pack. He then will try to determine who the alpha pack leader is. Once he knows who the alpha leader is, he will begin to find his niche within the family pack.

To help him determine his place in your family pack he will be watching out for several things. He will be evaluating the physical size of each pack member to determine their strengths and weaknesses. He will be paying particular attention to voice for tone and quality to help him determine the rank of individual family members.

Establishing yourself as alpha

If you are to avoid behavioral problems in the future, you must establish a clear picture in the dogs mind that you are the alpha leader.

Once you have been established as the alpha, you need to be sure that you have a clear understanding that your dog is at the bottom of your families pack hierarchy.

If, on the other hand, your dog does not see the expected hierarchy in place, he will feel the need to take on the leadership role. This is what creates a lot of dogs to become overly dominant and destructive. Your dog wants a strong pack leader, leadership is stressful and overwhelmingly so if the dog taking on the leadership role is a puppy. If you have children in the home and the dog sees it'self as dominant over the children, he may correct the child for "misbehaving" the only way he knows how.... with his teeth! You need to make it very obvious that your dog is to be subordinate to everyone.... that Includes children!

It may be sometimes difficult for the dog to understand that they carry a lower ranking than children in the family. This is because the dog recognizes a child's small size and their dependency on adults and sees this as a weakness. For this reason, dogs may sometimes become very aggressive towards a child and may even bite under the right circumstances.

It is therefore through training tempered with love and discipline, that you help your dog accept his role as a subordinate pack member to every other family member. Quality dog training resources are available to help you with this necessary process.

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Comments

Nov 2, 2009 5:43am
ladybugblue
Great insight on training dogs! Thumbs up article!
Nov 5, 2009 8:54am
JennyHeart
I second the thumbs up. Great one!
Nov 18, 2009 6:37pm
wltw
An excellent article that explains "inexplicable" dominant behavior in dogs. If they are shifted from family to family and don't have other dogs to learn the pack hierarchy from, a dominant animal will continue to try to take over without constant gentle training - which most people have either no patience or experience, or time to apply to it. Well written and well explained. Every dog owner should read this!
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