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How to establish a pack order?

Updated on January 12, 2012

Socialising a new puppy and establishing a pack order within the family is very important. Your dog needs to know it's place. It is crucial and natural for dogs as they are pack animals. If you can establish a pack order early, you will be able to avoid problems later.

The first step would be to socialise your puppy from a young age. Other dogs will sort out your puppy and will tell it its place in the pack.

We have set up regular puppy playdates with our friends dogs from the time we got our Schnauzer at the age of 9 weeks. These have been great and the older dogs naturally teach the puppies appropriate dog behaviour.

We also enrolled for a 6 week puppy preschool at our local vet centre. I highly recommend this, especially for new dog owners. Ypur puppy will get in contact with other dogs and you will learn a lot of valuable things about dogs as part of the 6 week course.

Things we do to establish a pack order

The most effective thing we have done in our family to establish a pack order was the strict routine around the feeding times. This is what we do in a nutshell:

  • Our Schnauzer always eats last, after the family has finished their meals.
  • We never feed the dog food from the dinner table.
  • Our Schnauzer has to sit in front of the bowl while we fill it up with the foos. We give the command "sit"
  • We also give the command "stay" and the dog will sit and wait in front of the full bowl until we give the command "OK, Moya" and then she will go and eat
  • Everybody in the family does this, even our 5 year old daughter, and I believe this has established a healthy pack order where even the kids are placed above the dog

What do you think about this feeding routine?


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    • profile image

      Chris 2 years ago

      laura h - Looks like a Maine Coon. These guys don't reach full size 'til their a several years old! It's not unoommcn for them to weigh 20+ lbs and have size 8 feets. For the most part, if this breed was any more laid back, they'd be dead. Love shot #2 — he looks so regal looking over his kingdom with the clouds around his head!

    • Matt Edmondson profile image

      Matt Edmondson 5 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      With two adult dogs and a new puppy so keeping them separated at meal time is a fun little job :)