By Karen A. Soukiasian
A family of wolves or dogs is known as a pack. A pack can consist of 4 to 40 wolves; depending on the size of territory, they can protect. Generally, one male and one female that are the smartest and strongest members of the pack are leaders.
In order for the pack to survive, they must trust, respect, and obey their leaders. The wolf pack hierarchy is a very strict social order. The Alphas are the dominant members of the pack. Just as your parents lead and protect your family. Alphas are the boss!
Members in the middle are known as Beta. They can squabble with each other, but they never argue or question Alpha.
The lowest member of the pack is Omega. They can be male or female. They are an important part of the pack, because they keep the pack balanced by absorbing the pack’s aggression. They do this by being the most submissive.
This is where pets fit into the pack of your family. They are always at the bottom of the pack. They never question or argue with Alpha or Beta. In the wild, a troublemaker is forced out of the pack. This is where the term “lone wolf” comes from. It’s much harder to survive when you are alone.
Dogs, like wolves, respect strong leadership. If you are not a strong leader, your puppy or dog will not trust, respect, or obey you. By being a strong leader, they will feel safe with you.
Alphas are not mean to their pack. They are fair, firm, and consistent.
Wolves live in dens. To your dog, their house is his or her den. When he or she barks at people at the door, they are protecting their den. They are telling strangers to stay away. Their instincts tell them to protect their pack. When you tell your puppy or dog to stop barking, they should obey you!
When you leave your house/den without your puppy or dog, he or she thinks you are going out hunting. That’s why they are so excited and happy to see you when you get home. They want to know what juicy, tasty treat or surprise you are bringing back to the den.
As Alpha, it is your job to ignore your dog, until he or she is calm. Only then, do you calmly let them know you are happy to see them too. Alpha never tolerates being jumped on. Alpha calmly shows by example. If you are consistent, your dog will get the message.
In the wild, wolves get lots of daily exercise. They need it to stay healthy, happy, and strong. As the Alpha member of your pack, you have to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise every day. It also helps your pet bond and want to be with you.
Just like your family has rules, every pack has rules. It is your job as an Alpha member, to make sure you make the rules simple and clear, so your dog will understand them. You will do this by training your dog every day, so he or she learns the house rules.
As a responsible Alpha, you must understand how your puppy or dog thinks. You must know his or her basic needs, and provide for them. Those needs are:
1. Food and water
3. Privacy and sleep
4. Going outside to relieve his or herself
5. Exercise and playing
6. Safety, grooming, and health
Bottom line: You must always be fair to your pet, so he or she will learn to trust, respect, and obey you. Being responsible, and by using fair, firm, consistent leadership, your puppy or dog will learn to see you as an Alpha member of their pack. You will have earned his or her trust and respect.
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