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I would like to talk about pack, pack drive, and ranking within a pack.

Dogs are pack animals, just like wolves are. If you ever watched a program on wolves, you will immediately recognize the pack behavior they display. The alpha pair are the two wolves that hold the highest rank and maintain rank among the rest of the pack mates. They submit to no one, and whom other pack mates defer. They eat first, drink first, etc.

Well guess what, dogs are the same way, and you and your family are the pack! Some dogs have stronger pack drives than others, but most all have some pack drive. Pack drive is the instinct in the dog to be with their pack mates.

Ranking in the pack is where we as dog owners need to pay attention. I compare it to a totem pole. You are either above or below the dog. There is no “even.” Well, when you are seen as a higher rank, the dog will normally respect you. It’s when you are seen as lower in rank, that the dog develops the behavior problems we all see today: growling at the food bowl, barking for attention, pawing or nosing you for affection, excessive barking, stealing food. Need I go on?

The way a dog can grow in rank could be when you allow them too much freedom, never asking them to sit for food, etc. and of course no training.

We grossly underestimate the pack drive of dogs, we spoil them, we don’t discipline them, and we give in to them. Then we wonder why the dog barks (or bites) at all our visitors and every passer-by. This can all be avoided by making your dog earn everything in life. Make them sit (or down) before anything you give them i.e. eating, before going out or in, or before affection.

Obedience training, routine, rules are the best way to keep rank in pack. Dogs need to be below every family (pack) member! Respect dogs for what they are…dogs.

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