All dogs and puppies need structure in their life. When they were still with their litter mates they were learning all the time how to be acceptable members of their ‘pack’. Once you bring your new puppy home he will only have humans to teach him what is acceptable. Since we have chosen to remove him from his pack; you, as the new owner of the dog must now take on the responsibility of teacher or pack leader. If you fail to take on this responsibility you will, most likely, end up with a hooligan dog – and no one likes a hooligan!

Think of your new dog/puppy as part of your team with you being the captain, team leader or ‘pack’ leader. You, as pack-leader are the one who sets the rules. Without rules there will be no harmony in your home. It is your job to provide gentle but firm discipline combined with easy to understand, simple basic training. Remember how confused and uncertain you were on the day you started your first job? That’s how your new dog will feel when he first comes into your home. He will need help understanding all the new things he needs to learn. For example, where to go to the bathroom, where he is going to sleep, is he allowed to sit next to you on the sofa?

If your dog does not recognize the family as a pack and has no sense of who is ‘pack-leader’, he will take longer to settle down. It is your job to start creating a social order in your house immediately he arrives.

Dogs and puppies need this understanding of leadership and who is to play that role in order to be happy and feel a sense of belonging. It doesn’t matter to your dog who is considered the leader in your family. As long as there is one, your pet will be happy and feel a sense of security.

For those family households that have more than one member living in the home, your dog will recognize the specific hierarchy given time. For example, my dogs only have to be aware that I am the pack leader because I live alone. The dogs establish their own hierarchy between themselves but all know that I am in charge. Because there is structure and they are trained to know who is in charge, their sense of security and well-being is guaranteed.

So, in order to make your new pet’s transition to your pack as stress free as possible, make sure to be clear in your training so he knows what is expected of him in this strange environment. Simple, easy to understand and consistent is the general rule for teaching your new pet.

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