Here’s The Truth About Being The “Pack Leader”, That Will Change How Your Dog Sees You


Dogs need to believe you are the pack leader. Based on that truth, you must communicate alpha status as quick as possible. Here are some ways you can accomplish just that.

The Alpha Provides Direction And Protection

Purple Collar Pet Photography – Alpha status is earned

Dogs need direction to know where they are positioned in the pack (The pack includes everyone living in your home, including grandparents and babies). Your communication skills are key to your alpha status. “So many of the issues people have with dogs come right down to a failure to communicate,” according to Cesar Milan. Therefore, if you can’t communicate in the language your dog understands, there is no trust. Without trust, the pack falls apart. 

A pack is only as strong as the weakest person or pup.

The protection provided by the alpha is an essential element for a healthy family dynamic. Protection is accomplished by providing a safe and secure home, complete with a leader.

One of the communication techniques we use in our home to help new owners gain the alpha position is positive posturing. Think about walking into a room not knowing anyone; do you look around or make your way to the closest chair and sit down?  As others observe you, you are communicating your leadership role. It is the same with a pack. As a pack leader, the alpha, you must assume the position of authority. One way to do this deals with your body stance.

First off, never stare into the eyes of a new pack member as this prompts a defensive behavior. Once the pack order is established, you can look lovingly into your dog’s eyes to connect on a deeper level. Until then, yeah, don’t do it. Choose to stand and sit with authority, don’t allow the dog to determine where he sits, you tell him where to sit.

Another posture that works is, to ignore the new dog on occasion. This will actually make him come to you more often seeking direction. Don’t cater to his every whim, set a schedule and keep to it. Don’t allow begging. One way to accomplish this, never give people food to your dog, it sets him up to fail and he doesn’t need it.

Yelling, Screams A Lack Of Pack Leadership

Yelling is telling your dog you have lost control

Milan suggests dogs communicate through the energy projected between animals and humans. In that case, when you yell, you are telling your dog you are not the leader. Dog’s don’t yell, they act! 

In that same vein, I use body language and finger snapping to get the attention of my dogs. Others use clickers to reinforce positive behavior. I snap in expectation of the pack coming to the sound. My posture is tall and my voice is calm. We actually teach our grandchildren to use their big voices with the dogs. No yelling, just a firm, and confident voice. 

Put down the bullhorn and engage with your dog in ways he or she will understand. Here are five essential commands all dogs should respond to according to Juliana Weiss-Roessler at Responding positively to the commands sit, come, down, stay, and leave it will help your pup feel safe in the pack. And, that’s exactly what every dog wants, to feel safe, protected, and loved.

This tip will help you handle aggressive behavior in your dog.

What other ways have you gained alpha status in your home? Share it in the comment section below.