How To Become The Packleader Of My Dog

Dog kissing ownerHow to become the packleader of my dog

Of all the things that you need to learn when raising a dog, how to become the packleader is the biggest and most important of them all. Of all the questions that people ask “how to become the pack leader of my dog” is the big one! – The Packleader is the one in charge, the decision maker of the pack. The reason why this is soo important is because if you do not teach your dog that you are its leader it is very hard to teach it anything else. When your dog consider you to be the packleader it will expect you to take decisions and to show him/her what to do and how to react in strange situations.

Why being the packleader is soo important

Dogs are pack animals and therefore it is natural for them to follow their leader. Therefore if you are to live smoothly together with your dog, it is very important that you establish yourself as the leader because if you don’t, your dog will take on that role and consider herself to be the leader of the pack. Can you imagine a DOG in charge of your family? No neither can I. If you leave important decisions to your dog then things can go terrribly wrong. Especially with bigger dogs.

So if you establish yourself as your dog’s packleader then raising it and teaching it various things will be easy because the dog will respect you and listen to you. Most dog related problems are due to the fact that the dog considers itself as the packleader.

dog paying attentionFor example, a dog who is aggressive towards people act that way because she is protecting her pack, that means you and considers other people as a threat to you. If instead your dog sees you as its leader it will follow your example. If you are calm your dog will act the same way. With a dog who is pulling the leash it is the same thing. The dog sees itself as the leader on the walk and is taking lead, so when teaching your dog not to pull the leash you first need to establish yourself as its leader.

Understanding what makes your dog see you as a leader

As with all dog training, it is important to remember that dogs are dogs and humans are humans therefore with need to use a language  that dogs understand.

Calm Energy

Dogs are very good at feeling your energy and your state of mind. So you must show your dog that you are calm and in control. This is what she expects from her leader. That calm, assertive energy will spill over on your dog and she will then also remain calm. This is the state of mind a mother dog shows her puppies. That calm, confident energy is making the puppies feel secure.

Controlling the territory

In the wild, controlling your territory is very important, this does not only concern dogs but a lot of other animals have territories as well. Letting your dog know that she is living in YOUR territory will make your dog respectful of you.


As a leader YOU are the one who should decide when things happen. You are the one who decides when to go for walks, when it is time to eat or play. So if your dog is very exited about going for a walk and tries to pull you along, you should get her to calm down first before putting the leash on her. The same goes for eating. When serving dinner she should only start eating when you tell her soo. Remember, you are the leader so you decide.

Owner with two dogsBeing the Packleader

Making your dog work before eating is another way to show that you are the packleader. It could be as simple as taking her for a walk before serving dinner or at least have her perform a simple task such as sitting down before and waiting before eating. If you have a dog with high level of energy this will also help to calm her down. It is important not to feed her until she is calm and submissive. Reward her when she is.

These are a few tips on how establish yourself as a leader, there are of course more than that. Jus keep in mind that YOU are in charge. You decide and go first. When serving dinner you and your family should be served first and then the dog. When walking you go out of the door first and your dog follow you. Showing the way and letting your dog follow you is how to establish yourself as a leader.

What does not work however is trying to dominate your dog physically. This can actually backfire on you later on. Imagine you have a big strong dog who decides to challenge your leadership and domination. This can lead to a dangerous situation. Dominating your dog physically will not make it respect you, only fear you, and fear is not good for asserting leadership over a dog.

Regardless of what breed of dog you have, the process of becoming the packleader is the same and it is, once you know how a fairly simple process.

Once you have acheived this, training your dog is going to be easy because your dog is going to want to follow you and look to you for directions and advice. All you need to do then is to show your dog what you want it to do or not to do. There are also plenty of easy to use methods for teaching your dog a variety of things, but first you need to establish yourself as the packleader.

Summing it up

When you have established yourself as your dog’s leader it is going to make life with your dog a lot easier. This goes for your dog as well. A dog who is not sure about who is the leader will feel stressed and worried and will have a tough time to relax. When your dog knows you are the leader it will hand over the responsibility of leadership to you and it will be able to relax. It will feel calm and confident as long as you show her the way.

If you want to learn more about how to become the packleader I know a very good training program where you can watch the process on video. This is an online training program created by the New Zealand dog trainer Doggy Dan. I have written a review of his program and there you will also find a link to his site. He also offers a free video course for anyone who signs up to his news letter. Here is the link to my Online Dog Trainer Review

If you have any questions or concerns please leave your comments below!


Comments 13

  • Great article on how to become the packleader of your dog as I have gained some much needed insight on how to do so given the situation I am in.

    I have recently adopted 2 of my friends dogs, aged 3 and 4, as he is having to immigrate. I feel the dogs are going to be very confused when they do not not wake up to their usual owner everyday. Can I start the process of being the “packleader” at this stage of the game or is it to late for that?

    • You can certainly start the process of becoming their packleader even at this stage. The pack needs a leader and since the owner is gone, you will be his replacment. Just be patient and consistent and you will succeed in this. Once you have establish yourself as the leader, it will be much easier to handle and train the dogs.

      If I can be of any help, feel free to contact me at any time.


  • I wholeheartedly agree with this. I work at an animal hospital and I see it all the time with clients. Those who let the dog walk all over them and have such poor manners, when it comes time to do treatments sometimes the only option is to muzzle a very poor mannered dog just to complete a simple task as a nail trim or routine exams.

    Then there is the flip side the owners who take the time to establish themselves and teach their dog well. Treatments become so simple and easy and they are in and out of the hospital in no time with everyone happy.

    • You are soo right, Establishing yourself as the Packleader really is the base for all further training as well as an easy life together with your dog.

  • I am definitely not the packleader of my dog. It’s pretty clear she’s the leader. She goes where she wants and always pulls the leash. We got her as an adult dog so she was already pretty set in her ways. Is it possible to re-establish your leadership with an older dog or has that time already passed?

    • Yes you certainly can establish yourself as a packleader even with an older dog. The hierarchy among dogs are never set in stone and they change. Therefore you can establish yourself as the packleader even with an older dog. It is also important to remain the packleader and not let your dog take this place.

      I can recommend that you check Doggy Dan’s five golden rules to becoming the packleader, You can read more about Doggy Dan and his online dog training site here:

      Good luck and feel free to contact me any time should you need any help


  • You are absolutely right, being the pack leader is so important. But sometimes that can be hard if you have a very headstrong dog. I have a miniature Schnauzer that would like to think that he is the boss, so we are working on that and he is getting better. I do believe Doggy Dan has the right approach though, just have to stick with it.

    • Yes, if your dog does not see you as the Packleader it will not listen to you. Once you have established yourself as the packleader your dog will choose to follow you. It is natural behavior for any dog. Doggy Dan’s 5 golden rules on how to become the packleader works really well so just stick to it and you will soon see results.

      Good Luck!


  • You are absolutely right, being the pack leader is so important. But sometimes that can be hard if you have a very headstrong dog. I have a miniature Schnauzer that would like to think that he is the boss, so we are working on that and he is getting better. I do believe Doggy Dan has the right approach though, just have to stick with it.

  • I’ve always been a big believer that dogs do feel our energy and they do show that in their behavior. As you said in this post.

    I think you can see this very clearly when you see some dog owners who are very neurotic and they are always nervous especially when they approach other people and dogs.

    This energy transfers right over to the dog and bad things can happen when you have a nervous dog.

    As you said, calm energy is important. I’ve noticed a big difference with my dog when I remain calm.


    • Thank you Robert. A friend of mine once said: A dog is a reflection of his owner and what you are saying confirms it. Dogs take on our behavior, mood and attitudes.

  • You have brought up some good points on being a pack leader, like eating before your dog and walking out the door first, in front of your dog. When a family member keeps my dog for the afternoon, she comes home thinking she is the pack leader. I will take her for a walk and she will try to pull me. Then I have to remind her that she is not the pack leader by stopping immediately. She will turn to look at me and we will walk in the opposite direction and then she remembers who the pack leader is.

    • You are absolutely right, when another person takes care of your dog, he or she will have to show the dog who is the packleader. If a dog follows its owner, it will not automatically follow anybody else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *