My Dog & I: Back into the Pack…

One of the trickiest parts of training a dog at my farm is the “going home” transition. I am ALWAYS asked how this is going to be executed successfully and mostly, we are able to make the handover pretty easy.

Transitions are always interesting though and a lot does depend on the ability of the family to incorporate some changes into their conversation with their dog. This is most apparent when a dog comes from a multiple dog household.

Humans will frequently assume that because they are the home owners and providers, that they are naturally entitled to be the honchos in the pack …And of course, from a human point of view this is correct. BUT if you are living in immediate close contact with a grouchy older Spaniel and a pushy male Boxer and you are a nervous young Doodle, you may put their opinions before the slow humans!!

On many occasions, the issues that the dog-in-training are bringing to us stem from this confusion within the family, canines and humans. Sometimes the “bad behavior” that is being offered is simply a result of the dominant information coming from another dog within the group.

Why won’t my dog listen to me?  Because it is MUCH easier for a dog to relate to the other dogs in the group than for him to hear an alien human voice. BTW this is why we often discourage raising sibling pups together! So, what is the solution to this problem? A Human has to take on the responsibility of CEO. And the dogs have to understand that the Human CEO is the Pack Leader…over all the other beings in the house – even his best friend or dog brother.

This Person does not have to be overly bossy or heavy handed, simply someone who has the wellbeing of the whole unit in mind and the ability to communicate with everyone in the picture. Your Training Professional should be able to help you with appropriate language and management techniques to improve your connection with your Friend.

Dogs are very family minded. They have a marvelous holistic view of their home “group” that would put most of us humans to shame. The wellbeing of the pack is the most important imperative and individuals are only encouraged and tolerated if they contribute to the success of the “home team”. We could indeed take a page or two out of their book!

So when your dog comes home from his stay at school, remember that he will need your guidance, not only to continue with his education but to start to follow your lead and not get distracted by his fellow canine pals. This may mean addressing his needs separately from the other guys until he learns to look to you first for information. You may find that once he becomes accustomed to having a human pack leader, his team mates may start to follow his example!!

Wishing you all a Happy and Growthful New Year with your Canine Pals!! See you on the Trail!!

– Janine Lazarus, Hashtag #97. January 2018. | Hire Janine at!

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