Pack Leadership Technique 1: Project Calm, Assertive Energy

A woman gives her pup some love after a walk.

‘To dogs,’ says Cesar, ‘energy is everything.’

Because dogs communicate with energy, our personal energy plays a central role in our relationship with them. Dogs are our mirrors, reflecting back in their behavior the energy we express. If we are hyperactive and over-excited, our dogs will be the same; if we are tense and angry, our dogs will be anxious.

Dogs Want Stable Energy

Unlike humans, dogs will not follow unstable energy. They instinctually seek and follow pack leaders who exhibit calm and assertive energy. When dogs live with a human who does not fill this role, they will attempt to correct the pack balance by filling what they see as a vacant pack leader role. This is how behavior problems develop.

To establish yourself as the pack leader, you must project calm, assertive energy. Think of it as a perfectly balanced set of scales. On one side is your calm and assertive leadership; on the other is your dog’s calm and submissive behavior. This balance nurtures stability and creates a centered and happy dog.

We can learn and practice projecting calm and assertive energy by using a natural ability that dogs don’t have ‘ our imaginations. Think of someone who inspires confidence in you ‘ a parent or mentor; a famous leader or hero; even a fictional character. How do they carry themselves, and what in them inspires confidence in you? Now imagine that you are this character. Stand like they would stand. Move like they would move. Take slow, deep breaths. Relax your body, but keep your head up, shoulders back and chest out.

Note how you’re feeling. Then practice capturing this state during the day with your dog. Don’t be surprised if your dog spontaneously sits next to or follows behind you wherever you go. It’s because you’re communicating with your dog using only your energy and body language. Now you’re ready to continue the ‘conversation’ with your dog in a balanced way.

Projecting calm, assertive energy isn’t a new skill to be learned. It’s a natural human trait to be remembered, and mastering it will bring your relationship with your dog to a whole new level.

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