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For dogs to live peacefully in a pack, they need to understand pack etiquette.

There is a hierarchy at Never Alone, with Frank being the alpha member of the pack. I’m number two because I’m human, and the dogs recognize me as Frank’s mate. We don’t allow any of the pack members to usurp our authority. When caring for a group of unsegregated dogs, maintaining authority is the key to peace. Dogs are like children in that they test boundaries, struggle to share toys, and try to bully others. They need a pack leader who is both authoritative and reassuring. Our pack members trust Frank, which allows them to relax when they are here instead of trying to do our job.

Some dogs are quicker to pick up on pack etiquette than others. It is easier for puppies because they have fewer habits to unlearn. The longer a dog has been allowed to practice a behavior at home, the harder it can be to teach them not to do it here. An example is jumping up on others. Our pack members don’t care for that behavior unless they are already good buddies.

Puppies at Never Alone learn by mimicking the behavior of the older pack members. For dog nerds like us, it is fascinating to watch an older dog teach a puppy how to use the dog door or play tug with a toy. In our way of thinking, this seems like a more natural way to raise up dogs than bribing them with treats. I’m not saying that we don’t resort to bribery on occasion, but we try to avoid it. Rather than using a treat to get a dog to do something, we prefer that they do it just because we asked them to (that’s being biddable), and then we can reward them with a treat after they do what we want.

While establishing authority and teaching good manners is important for maintaining peace in the pack, in the end we encourage our guests to have fun. We want them to bond with each other, not us. We do our best to let the dogs be dogs and learn from one another. This approach might not work well in a pack with members that naturally want to dominate. At Never Alone, we are careful to prevent this from happening. It begins with evaluating each potential new member. If a dog is aggressively dominant, they will not pass our evaluation. By curating a pack of well-mannered and submissive dogs, we are able to maintain a peaceful home for our guests.

This is another way that we provide extraordinary care.

For the love of dogs,