2.) Pack Theory – or how our dog fits in.

Dogs don’t practice democracy. Dogs are pack animals just like their ancestor the wolf. A pack is a social structure where some pack members rank above and, with the exception of the pack leader, below others. Your dog views your family as his pack. Generally, members of a pack fall into the following, basic hierarchy:

Dominant dogs: Very headstrong dogs with good nerves (well balanced, calm, friendly, but also very secure and fearless). The so called “alpha-dogs” belong in this category. Dominant dogs can be quite challenging for an inexperienced trainer.

Mid-level dogs: Most dogs fall into this category. They are usually friendly, balanced and generally easy to train.

Underdogs: These are the more timid and fearful dogs (suspicious, nervous, uncertain, and afraid). The so-called “omega-dogs” that get picked on by other pack members belong in this category. Training dogs in this category can be as challenging for a trainer as working with an alpha-dog.

To keep things simple, I will focus on the training of dogs that fall into the mid-level category. That however does not mean that you can’t use the techniques described on this website with dominant and fearful dogs, you just have to keep the following in mind: (Read on about dominant dogs here). Any behavioral problems that your dog may have already developed should be addressed before you start any training program.

(Note: This post belongs to a series of multiple articles about the fundamentals of positive dog training.
Click here to go to the overview page that allows you to easily navigate to each article in this series.)

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