Are You The Dog Pack Leader?
Or Is Rover The Top Dog?

So, are you the dog pack leader?

bassett houndWell, Who's in Charge?

If you start out your relationship with Fido by letting him know that you are the leader, he in turn will be happy to fulfill his role as your best friend - he doesn't really want to be your boss anyway.

This doesn't mean you have to be mean or tyrannical, it just means you have to let him know the rules and that you are the head honcho!

In dog pack terms, the dominant male and female leaders are referred to as the alpha dogs. Successful man/dog relationships depend on pet owners establishing themselves in the lead role, or in human terms, as the master.

dog being in charge

Life gets confusing for a dog when he doesn't know who's in charge. It's very easy to overlook this when you have a cute new puppy, but behaviors are learned early on and easily accumulate.

Plus, if you have a dog breed that is known to have a stronger dominant side to their personality, it is even more important that there is no ambiguity about who is the pack leader.

Does Your Dog Know The Pecking Order?

Do you have a dog that rules the roost or doesn't behave the way you'd like?

Are you aware that you may have inadvertently set him up to be the one in charge.

This may sound a bit confusing, so let's say for one example:

  • that your dog constantly pushes past you, or in some way gets ahead of you when going through doorways.

If this has been accepted, the dog has received the message that this was okay, which translates into him understanding that he comes before you in the pecking order.

Do you see how easily an owner can give up his leadership?

Have You Led Your Dog Astray?

Here are some other situations that can encourage dominance and make your dog think he's the dog pack leader:

  • Fido gets to eat before you do, plus you may even feed him from your plate when you are eating.
  • You lie on the floor or sit in a position that allows your dog to be above or over you - very submissive!
  • You allow your dog to initiate playtimes and win at games.
  • Your dog sleeps next to you on your pillow, while you teeter on the edge of your bed.

If you think these situations seem too trivial for concern, you may think differently once they start to escalate into more serious scenarios.

white dog lying down looking straight ahead

Has Fido Bitten Off More Than He Can Chew?

Once a dog gets the notion that he's in charge, it is almost inevitable that he will expand this responsibility to take on far more situations than he can handle. This will actually cause him some level of stress.

  • If this happens, life with Fido can get very chaotic as he becomes increasingly dominant - and a touch neurotic!

  • Any owner who realizes that they have let their pet take control in ways similar to those described above can take back the leadership by starting to flip those situations around.

No doubt it will be hard at first, but to avoid serious problems down the road, it will be worth the effort.

Do Your Dog A Favor And Cut His Responsibilities!

So, calmly, firmly and patiently...

  • begin establishing commands until your dog has a good understanding of them, as well as a recognition of your pack leader status.

  • Keep it positive by giving rewards for progress made. Rome wasn't built in a day, so don't expect a dog that been given too much rope, err leash, to heel overnight!

When confusion no longer reigns, your pet will be a happier member of the pack and your relationship together will flourish as it should.

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