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Basic Training

Are You the Alpha For Your Dog’s Pack?

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Dogs are such great pets, and bring joy and love into the lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. From the young child with a puppy, to an elder person who has only a dog for company, these lovable animals enrich our lives in more ways than we can number. They become as much a member of our families as another human, but there can be problems if the dog does not understand you are the Alpha of his pack.

Those new to dog ownership, and many experienced dog owners, miss a vital fact concerning how a dog looks at his home and the people around him. He or she will do their best to become the dominant member of what they feel is their “pack”. Dogs do not know they are different than humans.

Have you ever watched a dog see himself in the mirror for the first time? He barks like crazy at the “strange” dog looking back at him because he assumes he looks like we do. And in all canine family units/packs there has to be one person in charge, and to a dog this person/dog is the Alpha member. All members of the unit are submissive to the Alpha. This is why your dog must understand you are the Alpha of his pack and he or she has to listen to your commands. Otherwise the dog will try and run the home creating a real pain for everyone involved.

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  1. Avatar Of Es



    I was going to post about how utterly nonsensical and outdated this was but Sue beat me to it. Dogington post should be ashamed that they allowed this on their site.

    I was taught canine behavior in veterinary medical school by a veterinarian who was both board certified in canine behavior and has published multiple studies on canine behavior. This was three years ago, and I learned then that the “Dominance theory” had been outdated even for years before that. So this is at least probably ten years out of date. The dominance theory (or rather, hypothesis) came from studying unrelated wolves confined within enclosures. In situations like that, they do indeed form a sort of hierarchy. But this is very different from the sort of familial associations that wolves form in the wild. It is unfortunate that this dominance training regime has become so firmly ingrained in the collective psyche (no thanks to the Dog Whisperer show either), when scientific evidence has refuted it.

    This topic is too expansive to do it justice in one post. I could elaborate on proper training techniques, the reason why some “dominance” training superficially seems to work (like teaching a dog to wait before you enter a door, wait before eating – what you are teaching is patience, not submission), but it would be pointless. A proper article written by someone who actually knows what they are talking about would suffice in that regard.

  2. Avatar Of Sue Penn, Abcdt Professional Trainer &Amp; Behavior Specialist

    Sue Penn, ABCDT Professional Trainer & Behavior Specialist


    Wow, your information on training & is outdated and based on outdated myths about dogs…perhaps you need to get with a Certified Professional Behavior Trainer who can give you proper info instead of info that winds up doing damage to dogs. If you were to educate yourself on dogs & behavior you would realize that this information in incorrect. Behavioral sciences has come a long way and made alot of progress on proper & proven methods that do not employ a mythical “dominance theory” methodology. Putting info out there that is outdated does harm to dogs.

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