Dog Pack Leader
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Dog Pack Leader Q&A

You will undoubtedly come across many frustrating problems and issues on being a dog pack leader. While much of the answer can potentially come from your own intuitive sense, it never hurts to ask an experienced on how to deal with such an issue.

The Leerburg Q&A has over 2600 answered questions in their database. If you can't seem to find you answer there, please don't hesitate to contact us concerning your dog training problems for pack leading.



List of Questions
  1. How should the other members of our family behave with the dog? How should we introduce additional family members as pack leaders?
  2. I've been watching your video on establishing pack order in the family and I recall you mentioned when a dog raises its front paw and places it on you; I forget the meaning.
  3. Where do we keep the crate? We are wondering if we are confusing him by moving the crate from room to room during the beginning phase of the crate/pack structure training?


Question #1
How should the other members of our family behave with the dog? How should we introduce additionaly family members as pack leaders?

We are a family of 2 adults, and three children ages 7, 14, and 19. We bought a male German shepherd from experienced breeder about 8 months ago. He is developing pretty normal. However we have number of points of concern. He had been biting us from a very young age. We read that it may be normal in young puppies. But this behavior had been persisting occasionally until now. It looks like a game, no one gets hurt, but some times it’s pretty painful. He couldn’t be admitted to an obedience course when he was 5 months because the trainer told us that our puppy was aggressive.

He is barking at our neighbors and our relatives when they come to visit us. We live in a house in a quite suburb and probably that’s why he didn’t get much socializing. It looks like our dog has low self-esteem. Despite the fact that he has never had been hurt by other people and dogs, he is scared from strangers of all ages and other dogs. He expresses it like a fearful-aggressive behavior. He begins to bark and his fur stands up not only on strangers, but also on any unfamiliar moving objects.

Otherwise, we don’t have significant problems with him. He learned housebreaking really fast and he more or less obeys simple commands such as “sit,” “down,” “come,” and “stay.” However, two recent episodes in a veterinarian office, and when we tried to bring our puppy, Rex to a cannel were pretty fearful. Rex growled on the people and tried to attack them.

We watched your DVD “Establishing pack structure with the family pet.” We have started to establish pack structure as your recommended. During the last 3 days only one person contacted him, and Rex began to recognize this person as a leader. But our question is, how the other members of our family should behave with the dog? You mentioned that all members of the family may be pack leaders regarding the dog. But you didn’t recommend how to do it practically. Should Rex be in a COMPLETE isolation from everyone else except for one person for a week or longer? How should we introduce additional family members as pack leaders?

We think that our dog has softer and weaker personality, rather than dominant and strong one. As general rule should we allow him to escape from fearful objects, or should we force him to overcome his fears.

We hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards,
Natalya


A.

I think I would suggest that one person does the primary handling and pack structure with Rex. Once he is in the routine and doing well (this can vary from dog to dog) then I would incorporate other family members. The problem with letting too many people do this all at once is that it can be confusing to the dog if everyone does and says things differently. Our main goal is to give this dog security and structure in his daily life.

I also would never try to force any dog to anything he is afraid of. If you have any fears yourself, you know that if someone drags or forces you to be near something that you are really afraid of, it does NOTHING but make the fear worse. Build this dogs confidence in himself and in you as a leader. Leaders don’t terrorize their subordinates by forcing them into situations that they can not escape from.

I would use marker training to make your dog more confident in situations that scare him, we show that being used in the Pack Structure DVD for nail trimming or ear cleaning. It can be used in just about any situation to make the dog more confident.



Question 2
I've been watching your video on establishing pack order in the family and I recall you mentioned when a dog raises its front paw and places it on you; I forget the meaning.

I've been watching your video on establishing pack order in the family and I recall you mentioned when a dog raises its front paw and places it on you; I forget the meaning. This seems like a statement of superiority to me, but I think you mentioned it is actually one of submission. Should I allow my dog to do this? Please explain...

Thanks ...
Christine


When a dog raises it’s paw when you approach or lean down to pet them or put a collar on, it’s a sign of submission. When a dog comes up to you and puts a paw on you, it is a pushy or dominant behavior. I do not allow my dogs to paw at me and I advise people to not allow this behavior.

Cindy



Question 3
Where do we keep the crate? We are wondering if we are confusing him by moving the crate from room to room during the beginning phase of the crate/pack structure training?

Good Morning – and thank you for sharing your philosophy and training methods so readily through web articles and DVDs. We have purchased 3 of your videos – instituting the Pack Structure method at present with our 6 mo old Papillion/Pomeranian. From 3 mo (age we brought him to our home) we put him in a crate at night, which he accepted quickly. We are into Day Two of all day crate confinement and he is showing improvement in that he is screaming less and less. Our Q is: Where do we keep the crate? We began his life with us with the crate in our bedroom at night, then in the foyer during the day while we were at work. (He was confined to the foyer, but not to the crate – although the crate was available for him to go into. Don’t know if he did or not) We are wondering if we are confusing him by moving the crate from room to room during the beginning phase of the crate/pack structure training?

Thank you for your time – tried to find the answer on other areas of your web site, but didn’t come across this minor (?) detail.

Cindy


We have crates in several locations throughout our home. I have found that it actually helps the dog to have a consistent place to go no matter where in the house we are. The crate becomes a constant for them and it seems to help them relax.

I think moving your crate around your house is just fine.

Cindy