The Puppy to the "Pack" Mentality | The German Shepherd
We all love puppies, especially furry, cute German Shepherd puppies. Naughty, mischievous, and impishly behaved, puppies represent the most innocent and fun-loving stage of doggie development. German Shepherd puppies aren't supposed to know any better, so when they run rambunctiously through the household, or sniff at your shoes and chew them up, or use the lavatory all over your favorite Persian carpet, these behaviors can be seen as adorable and naïve, rather than irritating. Unfortunately, however, a long-term human-dog relationship cannot be sustained without a clear sense of mastery of the part of the dog owner, and a dog that is obedient enough to know not to “go” in the house, eat the couches, or hump the legs of strangers. It is therefore important that you learn to train your German Shepherd dog early on, lest your dog develops bad behavioral habits that persist for the rest of his or her life.
Dogs, particularly wolf-like breeds like the German Shepherd, are by instinct pack animals. While they may be bold and assertive in their own homes, they are nevertheless sensitively attuned to the dynamics of the “pack” - the dog family unit that exists together in the wild. While there might only be one dog in a given home, your dog's “pack” instinct is still there, and you and all the members of your family are your dog's “family” or “pack.” It is thus important to establish a clear pattern of pack dynamics, including a well-established hierarchy, so that your German Shepherd, or any other dog for which you may have, knows that you, and not he or she, are the alpha dog, and therefore are to be obeyed. Establishing this dynamic early on is important for your relationship with your German Shepherd, especially considering the size of this dog alone. It will facilitate your dog's learning of various commands and words, make him or her more amenable to following your orders, and otherwise keep your dog in check.
While we humans love to joke that “our dogs are the owners; we're just the pets”, following this dynamic to its natural conclusion is harmful to both dogs and dog owners alike. As much as you may love and cherish your precious German Shepherd pooch, you must never forget one vital fact: you, and not Fido, is the boss of the household.