The first step in assuming the role of pack leader is to understand dog psychology. We must recognize dogs as animals and remember what is important to them as a species.
Dogs don’t know you as your name, your race or your achievements. You could be the president of the United States; dogs don’t know. What they know is the energy you share and the activities you participate in with them.
Dogs don’t follow emotional or lovable leaders; they follow calm, assertive leaders. The mother is calm and assertive when she’s giving birth and that’s the first energy that they experience.
You must project calm, assertive energy before you share love with your dog. Love is a human gift; were the only pack leader who will love them. Their dog pack leader won’t throw a birthday party for them or reward good behavior.
Most dogs that live in this country have shelter, food, and lots of love. These are the dogs that often become unstable because they’re not working for food and water. Dogs need a pack leader to feel balanced and connected. They need to be told every day what to do. Leadership is forever and love is forever. But sometimes we get lazy and only share loveno leadership.
Once you share calm, assertive energy and the dog goes into a submissive state, then you can share love and affection.
Dogs also look to the pack leader to set rules, boundaries and limitations. People often ask me at what age they should start training their puppy. The answer is immediately!
The dogs mother begins training her puppies from birth. She makes them wait for food; she controls when they play and how far they travel. Adult dogs need these same rules, boundaries and limitations from their pack leader.
Another important necessity for dogs is the walk. In their natural habitat they earn food and water while traveling and they get to experience the world. Walking also stimulates their minds.
Walking in front of a dog allows you to be seen as the pack leader because position matters to a dog. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. Master the walk and your dog will relate to you as a pack leader.
During the walk you will feel the highest level of connection with your dog. My clients are often surprised by this because they think dogs only crave love and affection. Not so. Dogs crave rules, boundaries and limitations from their pack leader. This allows them to relax and accept their role within the pack.
Note: Cesar Millan is a professional. Please consult a qualified trainer before attempting these techniques with your dog.
For more information, visit Cesar Millans Dog Psychology Center where the express purpose is to rehabilitate and maintain a dogs natural state of being.