Strong Family Units: Understanding Pack Survival Anxiety in Companion Dogs

Many of todays trainers are eschewing the idea that our modern dogs are pack animals. In spite of their best efforts, the idea that our dogs are pack oriented continues in the mainstream consciousness. Why? Possibly, it is because dogs often display many of the same traits that their wild relatives do. It’s easy to see the similarities between wild and domestic canines. I would suggest that the idea of pack oriented behavior is often misunderstood and stereotyped. Ruthless aggression, and young dogs rising to the top position through dominant violence, are all outdated ideas of pack behavior that have been disproven by modern science.

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Thor and Vinka are easy to walk after Kabler training.

Perhaps, it would be better for todays trainers to say that the modern understanding of pack behavior has changed, rather than throwing out the pack paradigm altogether. I believe that dogs respond positively to being a part of a strong family unit. In the wild, wolf packs are primarily made up of family members. The mother and father are the Alpha female and male. Their children are their followers whose primary job is to learn how to successfully hunt as a pack. Juvenile’s often play wildly, lacking the focus needed to successfully lead, and it is the pack leaders responsibility to clearly guide them.

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A pack is a strong family that spends time together: The Kabler living room.

The canine family pack is misconstrued as being a cold and violent place where the Alpha pair lead with impunity. The reality is far from this popular misconception. The pack is actually a warm and safe place. The wild canines have extremely close relationships with the Alpha pair and the other pack members who are often their siblings. The strong family provides security, safety, and assures the canines ability to hunt large game. If a wolf in the wild loses their pack, they also lose the security that comes with it and suffer from intense survival stress– the wild dog instinctively knows that their future is no longer certain and their anxiety levels increase. Wild dogs thrive within a family pack, but suffer extreme stress when isolated and alone. Through my training experience, I have witnessed countless pet dogs exhibit this same anxiety when they feel they are isolated or part of a weakly structured family unit. Pack survival anxiety can cause behavioral issues and problems for our modern dogs.

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GSD Huck is so excited to be re-united with his family after his Kabler Residency.

It is vital that we provide our modern pet dogs with the security of a strong family unit. This will create a sense of belonging in the dogs mind that simulates the natural need for a dog to have a pack. The strong family unit provides a blanket of security that decreases anxious behaviors and fosters clear communication. Strong families have routines, group activities, and expectations of each member providing all involved with purpose and love. The Kabler training method is designed to teach human guardians how to create a strong sense of a structured family for their canine companions.

Happy Training!

-David

Call David to find out more about his unique training approach at

828-337-5792 & to schedule your dogs free consultation.

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Gus and his guardian practice a loose leash walk at the park.

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