What does “Pack Leader” mean?

Posted: January 12, 2012 in At Home with dogs., Uncategorized

A few days ago, I was asked,  “What is my definition of a Pack leader?”    It was a thought-provoking question, and so I posted it on the Omorrow Facebook page for others to answer as well.  The responses were uplifting, interesting, and thoughtful.  But I still owe Kyrie my definition…so here goes.

The Pack Leader is that central individual (either 2 or 4- legged) that brings balance to the Pack.  Emotional, physical, and mental, Balance.    The Pack Leader is an individual that sets a predictable and consistent example for the rest of the Pack to imitate.  The Pack Leader is able to restore a pack member to balanced behavior without brutality or dishonoring personal dignity.  The Pack Leader has a short memory when it comes to holding personal grudges for perceived slight or insult by other Pack members. He or she  lives in the moment, and the moment is balanced.  The Pack Leader is approachable,  leading without causing fear.  The Pack Leader is able to discipline and give correction without causing others to feel beaten down.

That’s the paragraph that I’ve wrestled with for two weeks.  It assumes that the human and the canine can be Pack Leaders in the same way.  My conclusion is that Humans as Pack Leaders, and Dogs as Pack Leaders are two very different things.  We two-legged Pack Leaders are often times ruled by emotion that we can’t control.  Frequently, we humans don’t even perceive our own emotional energy, the vibes we are spewing in all directions.  But our dogs detect each and every one of them as easily as they can detect a pork chop dropped on the kitchen floor.  Our dogs are not influenced by their emotions as are we.  That’s not to say that they don’t possess emotions, as evidence is pretty plain that they do, but they are not moved by them.  Many humans are like an autumn leaf in a flooded river…pushed and pulled in random and sudden motions among the swirls and eddies.

I suppose that if a dog were to write this post, it would sound somewhat different.  (It would certainly look different, since dogs can’t type.)  But dogs expect something different from humans, than we expect from ourselves or other humans.  Dogs don’t think in terms of, “Does my Pack Leader love me?”  We humans do think that way.  “I love my dog, and I’m going to prove it to him by giving him the best of everything!”  But dogs that live with a homeless man in a van down by the river, are often the happiest of dogs, because they frequently have a  Pack Leader as I described above.  Material things mean nothing to a dog, but stable leadership is their most prized and deserved  treasure.

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