Pack leaders???

Get to know other Positively members here.

Moderators:emmabeth, BoardHost

Desiree
Posts:143
Joined:Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:57 pm
Pack leaders???

Post by Desiree » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:22 pm

What is the thought here about being the pack leader?? Not as is showing the dogs that you are dominate, but just that you are the leader/protector and some of those type of training methods. I went to a vet/ behavior consultation today with a vet who trained with the dog whisperer guy whose name I cannot spell so I won't try. :D I watch his show as well as Victoria's and what I got out of this was sort of a combo of both methods. Rewarding good behavior and ignoring all bad behavior that can be ignored kind of thing. Also talked about feeding methods and ways to show my dogs that I am the pack leader and the whole calm attitude. She didn't talk about submissive things, just ways like greeting them and walking thru the door first stuff. Where do you guys stand on that kind of thing?

emmabeth
Posts:8894
Joined:Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location:West Midlands
Contact:

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by emmabeth » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:40 am

Im not a pack leader, because Im not a pack member. a pack is a group of animals of the same species, and my dogs are fully aware im not a dog.

Further more the ideas that the 'pack theory' was based on, are flawed and outdated and the guy who originally published the stuff about wolf behaviour has LONG since changed his mind and published more up to date stuff..... research L David Mechs, it mentions it on his website.

To my dogs I am a combination of team leader, teacher, parent, mentor, friend. Its these relationships that are the ones I am in some ways 'mirroring' with my dogs.. I dont try to be a dog because I am not one, but I will learn how they think and treat them in a way they can understand and respect.

When you feed your dog in relation to yourself, whether your dog goes through doorways before you or after you, up and downstairs before you or after you, are absolutely personal choice and manners.

They will NOT define your role to your dogs particularly, they wont magically transform you into a pack leader or a wonderful dog trainer or anything else. In fact some of the rules like eating before your dog means absolutely bugger all to your dog (except. 'hey... they have food. yum' maybe!)

As long as you HAVE some rules and they are sensible and reasonable, and you are consistant with them, thats fine and its all you need. It doesnt particularly matter WHAT those rules are.

For example, I am a clumsy git and have a terrible tendancy for falling down (or up) stairs.... I prefer that my dogs go up and downstairs in front of me where I can see them, rather than behind me where I cant, as when followed, I tend to rush and then fall over my own feet.

So the rule that dogs ought to wait and come up behind does not suit me at all. Does it make me a bad dog owner, or reduce my dogs respect for me..... not at all, they don't care whether they come up first or last as long as they know what is expected and I don't go changing the rules on a whim and a fancy from day to day!

I also live in a very small house with not much floorspace, and I have five dogs, some of them quite large. If i had the rule that people are often told they must have to retain a 'higher status' over their dogs, ie, that dogs must NOT be on the furniture.... I would have to walk through a sea of dogs and I would never see my floor.

So here, its fine for dogs to be on the sofas and on our bed. The rules are that they must remove themselves when asked by a person, and if a person is already sat on the sofa (or lying in the bed) they must be invited up before getting up.

They all comply with that, so theres no problem. According to pack theory though, this ought to mean my dogs don't respect me, but again thats a long long way from the truth!

My dogs eat when it is convenient for me to feed them (whcih coincides with when they are hungry). So they are fed at 7am and 7pm.
I eat when im hungry, and when i remember, or when someone throws food my way (arf arf!)... that can be any time I like... and I am certainly not going to eat purely because I have to feed the dogs soon.... I also dont have time to be faffing about eating, or pretending to eat a little somethignwhen im dishing out dog dinners!

Does it seem to affect my dogs.... nope.


If you resaerch the stuff this rubbish is based on... and most of it IS rubbish, you'll find that....

wolf packs are a family group... mum and dad raise the young and if there are conflicts of temperament and character the MOST likely thing to occur is that the troublemaker will leave. Fighting is dangerous and 'expensive' and not done lightly.
CUBS are the future... they get food when they want, from whom they want, and they dont get reprimanded particularly for attempting to solicit food from anyone, regardless of that wolfs status.
The most respected animals within the group are NOT the animals seen constantly threatening or bullying other group members - those behaviours are signs of anxiety and weakness, not signs of strength!
In a potentially dangerous situation a weaker more subserviant member of the group may be sent out first to deal with the danger or to investigate. This is your 'going through doorways' situation. The mum or dad do not go through the narrow gap first if their ears and noses cant tell them is safe.... noooooo they hang back and allow the least important member of the group to risk his/her neck first!

In any case, this is all about wolves and dogs arent wolves. If dogs were wolves then the captive wolves and wolf hybrids people keep would be dogs.... and they are not, they are still wolves, biteyourfaceoffsoonaslookatyou... wolves. Feral dogs would be wolves.. and they are not, to t he point where feral dogs only form tight knit social groups when circumstances demand that they do so. The rest of the time, feral dogs are every dog for himself and the devil take the hindmost!

Feral dogs are the mostuseful 'wild' comparison... not wolves. If you had a feral dog behaving the way some trainers insist a 'pack leader' behave, ie...

'eats the best, first. Continually threatens and dominates the other animals around it. Makes big gestures about how tough and bossy he is, physically attacks other animals around.. (which is what all these pack rules translate to in dog terms!)..

That feral dog would be alone, no dog would go near it, all dogs would fear it and very likely it would end up dead pretty quickly when it took on the wrong dog.

That is not the relationship I want with my dogs!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

User avatar
Mattie
Posts:5872
Joined:Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:21 am

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Mattie » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:13 am

Emmabeth is much better at putting things than I am :lol:

More and more I am coming to the idea that showing our dogs who the pack leader is or dominating them etc is done by people who love to be in control of everything but are not, they can't control the people round them so they control their dogs instead. As an example, a hen picked man at home is a bully at work.

I hold all the resources for my dogs, food, exercise, rest etc. I don't need to prove who I am to my dogs, they know I am not a dog and don't treat me as a dog. How we treat our dogs and train them does make a difference. If we treat them gently but firmly and are really consistant we have happy dogs living in harmony. If we bully them in the name of training, leader etc. our dogs don't know any different, they may look like the are happy but there are often signs that they are not. Often they are more stressed and they don't live in hormony. To me living in harmony with my dogs is important especially as I have 3 bitches and have had 4 in the past.

My dogs sleep on my bed, like Emma I prefer my dogs to go through doors, up and down stairs before me for the same reasons, in fact since getting Dolly I am likely to have a bone dropped on my head if she is behind me coming down stairs, :lol: I am disabled, I don't want to fall over because of my dogs. I do want good manners from my dogs, no barging through doorways or on the stairs.

I also want my dogs obedient in some things that makes life easier for all of us, putting a lead on or taking it off, sitting and waiting while I prepar their food and put it down for them. not pulling on the lead, etc.

My dogs are my companions, I want them with me as much as possible that includes sleeping with me, being in the same room as me when I am sitting down, when I am working round the house they have the freedom I have, they can come and go as they want and keep checking on were I am. All were my shadows when they first came, none are now because they now feel secure in my home and feel secure with me.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

Sarah83
Posts:2120
Joined:Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:49 pm
Location:Bad Fallingbostel, Germany
Contact:

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Sarah83 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:20 am

I don't do any of the "pack leader" rubbish now and had major problems with the dog I did do them with. Those problems (aggression towards me, complete lack of obedience, resource guarding) only stopped when I stopped with what I now see was pointless, bullying behaviour. Rupe is allowed on the sofa although if both my hubby and I are already sitting on it he must wait for an invite (or ask which he does by putting one paw on the sofa and staring at us :lol: ). He's not allowed on the bed when we're sleeping but can come up for a cuddle before bed and once my husband gets up Rupe gets on the bed with me until I get up. I vary who goes through doors and up or down stairs first because I don't want him to get into the habit of always going first. I used public transport a lot with him and the last thing I wanted was him going first down the stairs on the bus and coming face to face with another dog or knocking someone over or frightening someone so he ALWAYS followed me on buses. At home if he gets to the stairs first then he goes up first, if I get there first I go up first. He's been taught that he does NOT pass me going up or down stairs. Same with narrow gaps, if I can see beyond it I don't care whether he goes first, if I can't then I go first just in case we run into another dog, cat or whatever.

I usually eat at roughly the same time as Rupert. Sometimes I eat first, sometimes he eats first, sometimes I put down his dinner then sit down with my own. It makes no difference whatsoever. In your face begging for food is absolutely not allowed. I HATE having a dog practically in my lap while I'm eating. Rupe lies quietly on the floor at meal times which is acceptable to me. Whenever I come in I always acknowledge him. If he's crated and we're loaded down with shopping he gets a "Hi Rupe!" as we come in then a proper greeting when the shopping has been put away. If he's loose and I'm carrying something I tell him to let me in, put the bag down in the kitchen and then greet him. If I'm carrying nothing I greet him when he meets me at the door.

I've been told he thinks he's higher ranked than me because he walks slightly ahead of me on leash. He walks where he's been taught to walk. If his nose is at my knee I can't see his body language and would be taken completely by surprise if he reacted to something I hadn't noticed. With his hip at my knee I can see the warning signs that he's seen something I may need to deal with.

So I guess by those who practice the whole dominance stuff I'm not a very good pack leader yet I have a good relationship with my dog, he trusts me around resources that are valuable to him and his only major behavioural problem was caused by there being too many idiots with out of control aggressive dogs in the world.

User avatar
Noobs
Posts:2536
Joined:Fri May 23, 2008 3:43 pm
Location:New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Noobs » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:36 am

Desiree wrote:What is the thought here about being the pack leader?? Not as is showing the dogs that you are dominate, but just that you are the leader/protector and some of those type of training methods. I went to a vet/ behavior consultation today with a vet who trained with the dog whisperer guy whose name I cannot spell so I won't try. :D I watch his show as well as Victoria's and what I got out of this was sort of a combo of both methods. Rewarding good behavior and ignoring all bad behavior that can be ignored kind of thing. Also talked about feeding methods and ways to show my dogs that I am the pack leader and the whole calm attitude. She didn't talk about submissive things, just ways like greeting them and walking thru the door first stuff. Where do you guys stand on that kind of thing?
Re: bold and underlined above. The "pack leader" "method" doesn't ignore bad behavior. It PUNISHES bad behavior. That is the difference. You really can't do a combo of both without confusing your dog.

And ditto what's been said above. My dog does what I say (most of the time! :lol: ) because I've taught him and I make it rewarding, not because I'm the boss of him. He has no concept of that - I either scare him (his first 6-8 months) or I give him a good reason to do as I ask (after I learned better).

User avatar
Nettle
Posts:10753
Joined:Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Nettle » Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:25 pm

And to build on the punishing of bad behaviour - nothing a dog does is bad.

Everything a dog does is reasonable to that dog. So punishing behaviour we don't like does not teach the dog behaviour we want. A "leader" in the sense of a teacher, guru, guide, protector, will make it easy and rewarding for the dog to do what is wanted.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

User avatar
Noobs
Posts:2536
Joined:Fri May 23, 2008 3:43 pm
Location:New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Noobs » Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:27 pm

Nettle wrote:And to build on the punishing of bad behaviour - nothing a dog does is bad.
Yes, thank you for the clarification. (Sometimes L and I get into arguments over this one.)

Wicket
Posts:739
Joined:Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Wicket » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:50 pm

Desiree wrote:What is the thought here about being the pack leader?? Not as is showing the dogs that you are dominate, but just that you are the leader/protector and some of those type of training methods. I went to a vet/ behavior consultation today with a vet who trained with the dog whisperer guy whose name I cannot spell so I won't try. :D I watch his show as well as Victoria's and what I got out of this was sort of a combo of both methods. Rewarding good behavior and ignoring all bad behavior that can be ignored kind of thing. Also talked about feeding methods and ways to show my dogs that I am the pack leader and the whole calm attitude. She didn't talk about submissive things, just ways like greeting them and walking thru the door first stuff. Where do you guys stand on that kind of thing?
For that sake of my curiosity, how have you combined both methods? Do you mind giving me a normal run down of your training? Again, just curious....

There are some things that can be mixed with the positive training, such as being calm and confident yourself, rewarding calm behavior, doing more exercise, etc. It wouldn't say positive trainers ignore the bad behavior, but rather do not reward it or replace it with a different/incompatible behavior. Furthermore, dogs are set up for success, negating the need for physical corrections or harsher forms of punishment.

User avatar
Noobs
Posts:2536
Joined:Fri May 23, 2008 3:43 pm
Location:New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Noobs » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:00 pm

Wicket wrote: There are some things that can be mixed with the positive training, such as being calm and confident yourself, rewarding calm behavior, doing more exercise, etc.
Who says any of those things are not part of positive training?

Wicket
Posts:739
Joined:Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Wicket » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:02 pm

Noobs wrote:
Wicket wrote: There are some things that can be mixed with the positive training, such as being calm and confident yourself, rewarding calm behavior, doing more exercise, etc.
Who says any of those things are not part of positive training?
Noobs, I didn't mean to imply that. What I mean that being calm, etc. is not unique to any training regimen, especially how dog easily pick up our body language. Does that make more sense now?

User avatar
Horace's Mum
Posts:1129
Joined:Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:10 pm

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Horace's Mum » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:07 pm

I agree with everything that has been said by Em, Mattie, Noobs and the like, but I would say for me and Horus, I am also his protector. Being part collie he considered it his job to control everything when I first got him, and I had to teach him that I will take care of it so that he doesn't have to - not because I am his pack leader, but I am his leader and protector, that is part of my job as his owner. This is because for him, taking that reponsibility of keeping scary people away, chasing off other animals, and checking out strange dogs away from him allows him to relax and therefore exhibit "better" behaviour. Because of his hearing loss, I also have to take on the role of monitoring other dogs who are interacting with him, because if he has his nose stuck up somewhere thinking he is politely saying hello, while the other dog is growling, he doesn't always pick up on it and gets one heck of a surprise when he gets told off!! Interestingly, he seems to have learned appropriate language (turning away etc) as much through me body blocking him when appropriate as he has from other dogs, and i can now instigate him to give off calming signals when needed.

As far as positions go, Horus goes ahead of me if he is on the lead because he can feel me there and I can get his attention. he goes behind me when he is offlead because then he can see me, I can speak to him, and I can get to him easily in an emergency. He goes behind me or beside me out of doors etc on the lead, because I don't like being dragged by a bullet on a lead, in the house he is asked to come through doorways before a person goes through because he can worry about people approaching doorways if he is unsure of their intention - I don't NEED to do this myself any more, but I still do to keep it a habit for him. I don't have stairs, but sometimes he is sent ahead of me to bed or whatever because it is a good opportunity to practise a sendaway!!

So no, I am not a pack leader, because as has been said, I am not a dog and even if I was, 2 does not make a pack!! but I do lead, and I do protect, and I do set the rules of the household. The rest is one long non verbal discussion!!

Desiree
Posts:143
Joined:Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Desiree » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:35 pm

Thanks everybody for the replies! I was expecting pretty much all of that after I read some of the other posts about the subject :D I haven't really had a chance to try any of what I was told yet since I came straight home and got on here to ask you guys!

Nothing she told me about being the pack leader was as hard core as what you see on tv. Just ignoring them until they are calm and then calling them over for attention, I don't know about anyone elses dogs but if I ignore mine, eventually they will calm down but when I call them over they will get excited again, like oh what are we gonna do now? What do you have for me?? Also she was stressing the point that if my dogs don't see me as the leader/protector they feel they have to fill that roll which leads to their stress? I don't know exactly. I had this all really well written and explained earlier then m internet went out and now I have lost what I wanted to say :( She did give me some good ideas about coming and going from rooms to see if Zippys problem was seperation anxiety or crate anxiety. Its definately the crate!!! Now he jumps the gate to get to rooms I am not in so its not me. I am going to try a different kind of crate, more of a pet taxi thing and try to introduce it to him the right way. Hopefully he hasn't had any bad experiences with that!

I am with you guys on the stairs and the door thing. So long as they know not to go out the door without a leash, which they all do, I don't care if they are first out. That makes it easier for me to shut the door behind us. Mine like to push sometimes so I don't like them behind me on the steps especially Zippy since he is so tiny. I am definately going to stick with the methods on here since they fit more with the kind of dogs and life I want to have. I want my dogs to understand they need to listen to me and follow rules, but this pack leader thing seems more like it makes little 4 legged soliders out of them. I understand the whole calm state thing, but I don't know anyones dogs who aren't excited by a walk! As long as they sit while I put the leash on and aren't dragging me around I am happy.

I was happy that she wasn't telling me to grab them by the neck and make all kinds of sounds at them or telling me anything negative. And she did tell me to always reward the good behavior. I guess maybe thats what I meant by a combination of both methods. There was nothing about making them submissive or me showing them I am dominate. I don't know if that quite makes sense to you guys but thats the best I can explain it. I am supposed to be getting an email from her going over everything. I will see if I can post some of it on here.

By the way for those of you guys who have answered my posts about jake and Zippy, I posted pics of them if you want to see them. If anyone has any ideas what the heck Jake is I'd like to hear them cause even my vet isn't sure. I say part Dingo :D

emmabeth
Posts:8894
Joined:Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location:West Midlands
Contact:

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by emmabeth » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:20 pm

That all sounds pretty sensible really and she doesnt really sound as if shes teaching the full on 'pack leader your dog thinks he is a wolf and so are you' codswallop!

I do think a lot of the very die-hard, rigid 'pack leader' tpes DO want little robot soldier dogs... and a lot of it stems from trainers who came to pet dog training from training police or military service dogs or protection/guard dogs... which quite frankly were trained to do things, and trained to do them in such a way that, they WERE a flaming liability and could NOT be allowed to do a wide range of things because the slightest wrong move and they would have you or someone else or someones dog.

Partly because intentionally they were bred and trained that way, partly because when you train with fear/domination/pain etc... you suddenly create a BIG issue otu of 'who is stronger/weaker/dangerous/not dangerous/the boss of me/not the boss of me'....

I am not for a second saying its right to train dogs that way... but thats where these people come from, and then they take that and apply it to pet dogs.. and it makes things worse because these pet dogs will then also be given a reason to worry about who is weak or strong or scary or whatever.... and it turns them into dangerous liabilities too.

Erm... Im rambling again!

One thing to be wary of - ignoring is a VERY powerfull tool... use it wisely and sparingly. You can (and I have seen this happen) create a very shut down depressed dog by ignoring them too rigidly, too often/too long... they dont understand 'why' and it has a similar effect as it would have on you if your partner walked in the door and you said 'Hi Honey' and they utterly blanked you... you came over for a hug and they turned away from you.... youd feel like 'Huh!... what?.... :( '

So use it carefully and with sensitivity. Its fine to not want to be utterly mobbed when you walk in, teach them what you would like them to do and try and have them stick to that, and ignore if they dont. Be wary of being asked to ignore point blank for long periods of time though as that can lead to worse problems.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

User avatar
Mattie
Posts:5872
Joined:Tue Jan 09, 2007 5:21 am

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by Mattie » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:06 am

Horace's Mum you have reminded us of what we have forgotten but often tell people on here to do, protect our dogs, we are always telling others that we need to protect them but in threads like this we forget it, shows we are really humans and not robots :lol:
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

ladybug1802
Posts:1991
Joined:Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:39 am
Location:Surrey

Re: Pack leaders???

Post by ladybug1802 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:42 am

Desiree wrote:Nothing she told me about being the pack leader was as hard core as what you see on tv. Just ignoring them until they are calm and then calling them over for attention, I don't know about anyone elses dogs but if I ignore mine, eventually they will calm down but when I call them over they will get excited again, like oh what are we gonna do now? What do you have for me?? Also she was stressing the point that if my dogs don't see me as the leader/protector they feel they have to fill that roll which leads to their stress? I don't know exactly. I had this all really well written and explained earlier then m internet went out and now I have lost what I wanted to say :( She did give me some good ideas about coming and going from rooms to see if Zippys problem was seperation anxiety or crate anxiety. Its definately the crate!!! Now he jumps the gate to get to rooms I am not in so its not me. I am going to try a different kind of crate, more of a pet taxi thing and try to introduce it to him the right way. Hopefully he hasn't had any bad experiences with that!
Ah see now the ignoring till he has calmed down thing has worked REALLY well with Dylan. When I picked him up from my parents house where he often goes during the day, he used to go mental when he saw me, jumoing up, nipping at my clothese, generally being mad! But I have been ignoring him when I go in, and he now calms down really quick and goes and lies down quietly, then I call him over for a cuddle. He knows the routine, knows he wont get a cuddle till he is calm, and then once he is calm he gets a whole load of (calm!) affection! If, however, I called him over and sounded all excited in a high voice going like, "Oh whos a good boy Dylan, what a good boy, have you missed me, oh arent you sweet5" blah blah blah then yes, he would get all excited again and not know what to do withhimself!! Whereas I cuddle him and calmly stroke him, and speak to him in a calm voice, and it calms him! But I dont ignore him for like half an hour or anything, just until he has calmed down. And if he gets over excited at other times, and starts nipping at my trousers, he gets put into another room (sadly it usually ends up me walking into the other rom with him on the other end of my trousers as I dont want a big scene getting him off! and then shutting him in there, away from me, for 30 secs or so, then he gets let back in. This gets repeated till he calms...and it really works with him. Also me just getting my clicker out and showing it to him gets him to stop now because he loves the clicker!!

I dont agree with the whole 'dominating' thing at all, but I do see some sense in the fact that if the dog sees you as someone who will protect them from things and look out for 'dangers' the dog will not feel the need to do this himself, and therefore wont have as much stress and responsiblity on his shoulders. I have seen forst hand last night HOW important it is to remain calm....the behaviourist came round again, and basically when I had him and she rang the doorbell, he lunged, barked etc and was a bit mad. Then one of my friends came over to be a guineau pig guest, and the behaviourist had the lead so she could deal with him, and I opened the door.....and he was way calmer with her. Then my friend went out again and rang the bell again, with the behaviourist holding Dylan's lead again....a loose lead....and he was a different dog. She had him a distance away from the door so my friend could come in and walk into the living room, but he just sat next to and slightly behind the lady, with not nearly as much madness as with me.....and that had a whole lot to do with the fact that I was feeling really nervous!! So it does seem, with Dylan in particular, that when he senses the handler is calm and 'in control' it takes the pressure off him a bit.

Early days though and now I need to work loads more on me remaining calm and not nervous!

Post Reply