Dogs have lived by the same set of rules for many 1000’s of years and the interaction with humans is still a relatively new idea to them in the grand scheme of things.
In the wild, each member of a pack of dogs will have a set role to play and once they’ve established this, it’s important that we are careful not to ‘upset the applecart’ by intervening and dishing out our own hierarchy amongst the animals. Firstly, it’s important that WE are seen as being the highest ranking and there are ways in which to do this that use kind methods the dog will understand.
I’m always keen to point out that ‘being the boss doesn’t mean we have to be bossy!’ I can help to explain the rules to you and ensure the dogs accept where you fit in.
However, I often find that people with more than one pet dog will try to keep the eldest one as the highest ranking and will scold a younger animal for trying to dominate.
However, it’s important to appreciate the brutality of nature and if an 11 year-old arthritic dog were placed in a forest with a three year old canine at its peak of health, then it’s likely that the latter would be the most dominant and longest surviving.
We therefore need to accept that as time marches on, sometimes the dynamics of a pack structure can change and we should be mindful of this when dealing with two or more pets. If you’d like further help with how to handle this situation, please get in touch.