Pack Leader: How To Know If It's You

Pack Leader: How To Know If It's You

Last update: 13 December, 2018

There are several theories about how to have a good day-to-day relationship with your dog. In order for this to happen, you need to make it clear to your dog that you’re the pack leader. How do you know if you are?

What it means to be the pack leader

You probably are the pack leader if you’ve made your dog understand that, in your house, are the alpha. For example, this is true if your dog does the following:

Dog respecting pack leader during a walk

  • Waits to eat his food until you say so, even if they need to wait until all the humans have eaten.
  • Doesn’t even try to go out the door before you. Also, if they stary by your side during walks, rather than walking in front of you.
  • Understands that they will not get affection from you except when you feel like it and that it won’t happen when they demand it.

However, the big question is: Is that what you want from your dog?

How do I train my dog? Should I make it clear that I am the leader of the pack? Do I have to be cold and distant with my dog to get him to respect my authority? Before asking these questions, you should ask yourself why you want a dog.

Why do we have pets?

Most people assume that you decide to have a pet because you want to give and receive affection, have the company of an animal, or the desire to taking care of another living being.

However, what happens to the idea of a man’s best friend if people try to exercise their dominance over their pet?

Maybe you hate your boss or your spouse doesn’t always do what you ask. Should your dog pay the price of your desire to be the alpha male or female in some aspect of your life?

Does being pack leader help?

First, you should really consider if being pack leader is useful. Is that what you want? The ideal situation is being able to establish clear, coherent, and precise rules of coexistence for your pet and the people in your household.

Perhaps your puppy has behavioral problems. However, do you really think they’re doing it because they want to show they’re in control? It seems unlikely that your puppy is trying to challenge your authority.

So if your dog breaks things in your home, has difficulties getting housebroken, or shows aggression, maybe there is a better answer. It could be that:

  • They’re afraid or have unresolved traumas.
  • They get stressed out by specific situations.
  • They’re anxious when they’re alone for too long.

The theory of domination is out of style

Some animal specialists still abide by the theory of the dominant alpha male or female.

However, the reality is that these theories —  although they were popular a while ago — are generally ignored because research shows no evidence that it’s effective.

Even though wolves — famous for living in packs — are the ancestors of domestic dogs, there are centuries of evolution between wolves and your dog. The coexistence among dogs and humans has led to significant changes.

Does your dog see you as pack leader?

Man showing dominance to his dog

The best outcome is that, without humanizing your pet, training your pet about the basic rules of behavior. That way things will work well between all members of the family.

If there are behavior problems that rise, try to find the reason why. Also, never hesitate to seek advice from a professional.

Besides that, just try to enjoy spending time with your pet. Your dog most likely just sees you as their best friend. They most likely have no idea what it means to be the pack leader. Therefore, they’re not trying to take that title away from you.