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Establish as pack leader with dog

Question: Once I establish myself as pack leader with my dog does this position stick for life, or is it something I have to maintain?

Showing a dog leadership is a lifetime commitment, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is not training, it's a lifestyle when living with a dog. You can lose your position at any time, at any age. A dog is constantly looking for the strongest being in the home to be leader. 

Instinct tells him that the packs life depends on it. In the wild when a pack leader gets old or sick another dog will take over as leader. This can happen at any time, at any age. The strongest beings are the leaders. That being said, if you have lost your leadership position or never had it in the first position, you can gain it back if you change your ways.

Can I get a high-energy breed

Question: I am not a very active person. Can I still get a high-energy breed if I choose a puppy that is not as active as the other littermates?


When choosing a dog, picking a dog with an energy level that matches or is lower than your own is one of the most important factors to consider. If you choose a dog that is more active than yourself or your family, you will always struggle to provide what the dog needs to keep it stable-minded. If you do not consider yourself an energetic person it is not wise to get a breed that is considered high-energy. In a high-energy breed even the lower energy puppies within a litter will be energetic, just a little less, but still high.

Think of it this way, hypothetically. Let’s assume you have the energy level of the average person. Now think of a number scale from one to ten.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

We will call the average person’s energy a 6 on the scale.

A low-energy dog can range from 1 to 3 on the scale.

A medium-energy dog can range from 4 to 7 on the scale.

A high-energy dog can range from 8 to 10 on the energy scale.

Therefore, if you choose a high-energy breed that is one of the less energetic in the litter, the dog may be an 8, however you will still be a 6.

How much affection should I give and how much should I play with my dog

Question: I just rescued a dog. How much affection should I give and how much should I play with it?

If you have adopted an adult rescue dog it is recommended that you refrain from lots of play and affection until the dog gets to know you and understands her place in the pack. 

After you have had the dog for a day or more and you see the dog is well-adjusted and understands the order, during the times the dog is acting calm and submissive you can love on her all you want. You can also play with her all you want when she is submissive. It is just important that you as the human are the one who starts and ends the play. The more the dog is submissive, the more you can play with and love on her.

How do I balance this to keep the dog as a guard dog?

Question: If I am 100% pack leader will my dog still act as a guard dog if it is ever necessary? How do I balance this to keep the dog as a guard dog? I wouldn't want a person to get a free pass that broke in to my home.
You can never take the guard out of a guard dog. no matter how submissive that dog is. If there is a threat all members of the pack defend. Also, since dogs can read the moods of other beings the dog will know if someone has bad intentions. 

A dog will not ignore that if they think you are in danger. The other point is, if you know for a fact that your dog is perfectly balanced and he starts acting out of the ordinary, that is, when you will know for sure that he senses something that is not quite right. As submissive as my Boxer Bruno is, he still will bark at the door if he sees someone coming down the driveway. 

I could possibly teach him not to bark, but I can never take the guard out of him because it is an instinct.

What is the best way to introduce one dog to another

Question : What is the best way to introduce one dog to another?

The best way to introduce one dog to another is to pack-walk both dogs. Meaning, both dogs are walking together and heeling on the lead. This sends a signal to the dogs that they are not in charge; the humans are in charge and they are to follow the humans. I realize you cannot pack-walk your dog with all dogs you come into contact with, but consistently pack-walking your own dog will communicate to your dog that he is following you and looking to you for commands rather than the other way around. 

You should be going through all doorways and gateways before your dog as well, especially at the vet, and the dog should be heeling beside you while you walk him over to your seat. As soon as your dog begins to see you as someone to follow, he will respond to your corrections much quicker when you tell him to leave the other dog alone by giving him a tug on his lead and/or a verbal command.

Is it possible to get my own dog and raise my friend to be balanced even though the other 2 dogs in the home are not

Question: I live with someone who is not pack leader to his two current dogs. Is it possible for me to get my own dog and raise him to be balanced even though the other two dogs in the home are not?

Since they're his dogs I don't want to interfere with his methods, although I consider them wrong. My problem is that I want to get a dog of my own, but to show him that I'm the pack leader. I'm worried that it would be too confusing for my (the youngest) dog if older dogs are allowed on the couch/bed and he isn't, older dogs can pull the leash while on the walk, while he needs to walk beside or behind me, other two can go through the door and get attention first while he needs to wait to go through or get petted.

In order for a dog to totally respect and obey humans, the humans around her need to be consistent. If you bring a dog into a home where one person does not display leadership you are not going to accomplish that leadership with the third dog. Especially if there are two other dogs in the home that are allowed to act in dominant or disrespectful manners. When humans and dogs live together they become one pack. If half the pack is not balanced the rest of the pack cannot be balanced.


I was told by a behavior specialist not to play tug-of-war with my dog. Why?

Question: I was told by a behavior specialist not to play tug-of-war with my dog. Why?
Tug-of-war is not a recommended game for dogs because it is a dominance game. If your dog should win you just reinforced in your dog’s mind that he is in the leader position. It puts him in a dominance struggle state of mind. You want to get him out of thinking about being the leader, not play dominance games with him. When he is pulling he is fighting for the leader spot, while for you it is just a game.

 Sure, if you win, then you win, but if you accidentally let go then he wins and winning to him means something different than winning to you. Another important factor when playing with a dog is that you should only play with him when YOU bring HIM the toy; you TELL HIM when and where. You should be the one to end the game, not him. So if you see him getting tired then you must end the game before he does. Otherwise you let him make the decision and in the canine world the leaders make all the decisions.

Question: Why does my dog get mad and destroy things when I leave the house?

Question: Why does my dog get mad and destroy things when I leave the house?


Sounds like a case of separation anxiety. Your dog is not getting mad when you leave. He is stressed either from a lack of exercise, a lack of leadership, or both. Followers are not allowed to leave the leaders and he did not give you permission to leave. Dominant behaviors always get worse over time if nothing is done to communicate to the dog that he is not the leader or he does not have an outlet to release his built-up energy. 

Read more about separation anxiety behind :

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Your dog may look happy when you return, but in truth if your dog is excitable, he may be experiencing mental anguish, which is not healthy.

Did you know that separation anxiety is the second most common reason dogs are euthanized or given up by their owners?

Separation anxiety can occur in any breed and at any age.

Why has my housebroken, full-grown dog started peeing in my bed?

 Question: Why has my housebroken, full-grown dog started peeing in my bed?

Assuming you have ruled out any health issues such as incontinence, this behavior would indicate that your dog is letting you know he is alpha in your pack. He is above you in the order and is marking on "his" bed. I would start looking into human-to-dog leadership and the amount and type of exercise he receives.

If one really understands dogs and how to communicate leadership to them one can get away with having a dog sleep on their bed with them. However, in most cases, I personally do not believe dogs belong on beds because in the dog world the leader sleeps in the most comfortable spot in the house. By letting a dog sleep on your bed most people unknowingly are allowing them to take the bed over. A follower would NEVER dream of purposely peeing in the place where the leader sleeps. just would not happen. If a dog is going to be on a human's bed it needs to be invited up onto the bed by the human and not jump up at its own free will.

What are the signs of a happy, stable-minded, submissive dog

Question: What are the signs of a happy, stable-minded, submissive dog? I walk my dog daily and am the pack leader. My dog is so calm I sometimes think he looks depressed.


The sign of a happy, stable-minded, submissive dog is a dog that is not overly excited and that holds his tail low and is calm. It is not normal, nor is it healthy, for a dog to be so extremely excited that his tail is wagging a mile a minute and he cannot stand still. A dog that excited is anxiety ridden with excess energy. Your dog is not sad or depressed. 

Dogs are not like humans. They think differently because they are different. A wagging tail is not necessarily a sign of happiness. Dogs that are upset and stressed will also wag their tails. The dogs you see jumping around like crazy, running and unable to stand still are dogs that are not stable. Do not mistake this behavior as being sad or depressed and feel bad for him, or you will confuse your dog by giving off weak energy.
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