Even though dogs in the home are domesticated and unable to live on their own in the wild, they are still hardwired to respond to the rituals and rules of a pack.
The pack life of dogs in the wild has always revolved around the presence of an alpha male or female that leads the others. Accepting the direction of their leader, the other dogs in the pack would ideally get all of their needs – for food, protection, and direction – met.
Domestic dogs instinctively project this idea of a pack leader onto their owners. If you own a dog, you don’t need to shy away from being the authority. Your dog knows how to accept this and actually wants you to live out the alpha role.
You can assert your dominance while still being considerate, fair, and humane to your pet. Dogs are generally happier when they are obedient and they recognize your authority. But you must get the idea across clearly.
If you have a puppy, then the early stages of housebreaking can be an ideal place to start. With both puppies and dogs, you can use the simple “sit” and “stay” commands to demonstrate your authority.
There are plenty of normal incidents throughout the day that might call for such commands, but you should set aside a longer period of time to do this, once a day. This will get your dog used to the idea that you’re in charge. Always stand tall, and use your deepest voice when giving commands.
If your dog doesn’t respond to your words, you can reinforce those demands with gentle force. This also occurs in wild packs, and all dogs understand the meaning of such gestures. Lifting his chin when you say “sit”, or putting pressure on his hind legs, will not only make him comply but will also help him to understand the verbal command better.
As you grow more comfortable with being in charge, you will also become more effective. Dogs can tell when we’re feeling conflicted or ambivalent about being the one in charge. In such a situation, your pet may even get the idea that he’s supposed to be the pack leader. Remember that dogs want to be shown their place. That’s the natural order of things in the wild, where their ancestors lived. It should be demonstrated clearly and firmly that you are the one who makes the decisions and sets the rules.
Deep in their instinctive brains, dogs carry the idea that an all-knowing leader will protect, teach, and love them and provide for all their needs. However you may feel about such a role, you’ll make your dog – and, by extension, yourself – a lot happier if you step in and be that leader yourself.
Every dog needs to be, or have a pack leader. While many people feel bad about making conflicts with their dogs to achieve the pack leader status you now know that being a pack leader for you dog is nothing more than a great way to improve you and your dog's communication and companionship.