Does your dog need a rolemodel?

Dogs, like captive animals, actually do not need a leader. The survival of the pack depends on us who take care of them…

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The Alpha – leader in larger packs

In flocked animals that establish a hierarchy, there is often a number 1 – called the pack leader or alpha. In wolves, the alpha is usually the oldest male. The others are his offspring, except for the alpha female. In larger packs, leadership does not have to be the oldest member, but is usually a wise animal that rarely engages in fights, but solves hierarchy problems with superior behavior. The alpha wolf achieves its position through experience and abilities to solve the pack’s survival problems. Old assumptions attributed the alpha wolf’s rank to its strength and dominance in the pack.

However, newer studies seem to indicate that the leader is significantly more passive than assumed. He does not have to be right every time, and many of the pack’s functions are determined by other individuals. It was also assumed that the pack leader always showed superior mimicry and body language, such as high tail carriage, which is not true. The alpha wolf’s role is to gather the pack, lead it on hunts, patrol the territory, and mark it, as well as various canine duties.

Read our article: The dog´s signals

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Respect and admiration between dog and owner

In our dogs, leadership occurs according to the same principles as wild animals, although often under artificial conditions. Dogs, like captive animals, actually do not need a leader. The survival of the pack depends on us who take care of them.

It is doubtful whether the dog considers its owner as the pack leader. However, we should still strive to fulfill such a role. Our leadership should not be based on the dog’s fear of us, but rather on respect and admiration. We can create many situations where we get the opportunity to show the dog how skilled we are at solving problems – like the alpha’s role in the wolf pack.

Get more tips and tricks: Read our articles

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