How to Gain Pack-Leader Status

Sarah Bowman

Sarah Bowman, trained my problem rescue dog for safe walking in crowded public spaces

Dogs mark their territory by peeing. Common sense suggests to me that dogs do not pee on the possessions of their pack leaders. However, the dog must in its own mind recognize you as its pack leader before it can show respect for your things. Cesar Milan, the famous professional dog trainer, once said that “only humans follow weak leaders around the world.” Dogs will either follow the strongest pack leader, or if they can’t find one stronger than themselves, they will lead the pack themselves. Sounds to me like your dog is marking its territory, stating its status as pack leader.

You didn’t mention your dog’s age but to get control of the situation you will have to assert yourself as pack leader. Start by housebreaking your dog, which means training it to pee outside only. If the dog does something right, immediately reward with a treat and praise. If the dog does something wrong, immediately say a very firm “No!” Make the dog understand that its behaviour was wrong. A dog shows understanding of wrong-doing by taking a submissive stance. It may look away, lower its head and tail, a lot like humans when they are accused of wrong-doing.

Then show your dog what you want it to do. For example, if you stop it from peeing in midstream, quickly take it outside and patiently wait for it to calm down and finish its business.

Cesar’s Way may have more answers for you Dominant or submissive: which is your dog?.


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