Ask The Trainer: Do Dogs Need A Pack Leader?

dog and trainerOnce Again, Here’s Our Ask The Trainer Feature!

I often get asked the question: do dogs need a pack leader? My answer is yes, dogs need a good pack leader. Dogs by nature need some one to lead them. Even the small breeds need a leader. Problem dog behavior such as social issues, fear biters, separation anxiety and other dog behavior issues develop because the dog does not have a good leader.

dog tricksHow To Be The Alpha Dog/Be A Good Pack Leader

So, what is a good pack leader? A good pack leader has calm, assertive energy.  A good pack leader does not yell or scream.  A good pack leader is consistent in what they are asking of their pack. They do not ask the pack, “Would you like to do this?”  Instead, they lead the way . A good pack leader has great focus on what they are asking of the pack…and is also very clear in communication.

How To Solve Dog Behavior Issues

Some of the ways you can become your dogs pack leader are: Always have your dog walk beside you and be your partner. Reward calm behavior. Never reward a dog when they are feeling nervous or scared.  This only makes the dog think they are doing the right behavior. Pack leaders always go out the gate or door first.  As the pack leader, you should be able to take food and toys away from your dog. Always feed your dog when they are calm.

dog and soldierYour canine friend will be a happy well balanced dog, if you will be a good, calm, assertive pack leader.  And here’s a great video to demonstrate how to be the alpha dog with subtlety!

Tina CaldwellTina Caldwell, our Training Editor and author of “ask the trainer”, has been training dogs and their families for about twenty years. She likes to work with all kinds of dogs and people, and has shown and competed in many different events over the years.   Some of her specialties are conformation, obedience and agility trials.  Her favorite breed of dog is the Cane Corso. You can contact Tina through Petsmart Eastgate in Cincinnati, or at