Lv 6
Inga asked in PetsDogs · 9 years ago

Your definition of "Pack Leader"?

An earlier question gave me the feeling that most peoples' definition of "pack leader" comes from Cesar Milan's constant repetition of the phrase. But his is not mine. I do not use Cesar's methods to attain pack leader status.

For me a pack leader is someone a dog will respect and feel secure with. It does not mean my dog has to follow behind me or sleep on the floor. As long as my dog follows house rules, commands, shows understanding of what's expected of him as a family pet, I feel good about things. When he doesn't, then that means I've failed as pack leader and have some work to do.

So two things...

What's your definition of "pack leader"?


What else can I call it so I don't sound like Cesar Milan?



@ Kaper... Don't humans have a pack structure too? LOL Families? Parents are at the top and I don't know about other families, but I as first born had more priveleges and more responsibilities...whereas the youngest just kind of was... LOL

In the workplace with corporate types on down to the mail room clerk?

HA! But yeah. I think you and I are on the same page. I don't believe my dog is thinking of ways to take the metaphorical scepter from my hand at any moment.

Update 2:

@ Chigirl - I appealed it. We'll see. LOL

Update 3:

@ greek... "Cahm sumisse stet"

And yes, that's what I do. And I've had fosters try it. And no, they didn't.

This dog, my current lab, I get hints of things to come... he only needs a wee bit of a reminder. Except for this barking thing. That one's got me stumped. But I'll get it. :)

Update 4:

@ Rotts - TDIC! I like it!

Update 5:

@ Cjrossi - I do sound like Cesar don't I? In that case, maybe I should get a show and make tons of money. LOL

@ MS Manners - I did teach my dog to walk beside me. It was something I was missing with my other dogs ... and I taught it to my current lab just because I can't stand the weaving back and forth in front of me. It does make a difference though. But I don't make him wait for me to go out first. I do make him sit and be calm before I open the door though. And good point about the "floor" fosters. I learned that the hard way early on. My first ever foster was a young pup and I inadvertantly let her rule the roost.

20 Answers

  • 12345
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    I believe you and I have similar ideas. I don't use "pack leader" simply because it makes it sound like I do follow him.

    I don't believe in the "wolf/dominance theory". I don't believe that my dogs and I need to act like wolves in order for them to listen to me. I believe half of those ideas are irrelevant. Not to mention it was based on flawed observations and even the researcher who was key in this theory no longer believes in it.

    I was told I didn't know anything obviously if I claim that I don't believe in wolf/dominance theory" yet still claim to believe in a pack structure. I wasn't aware wolves were the only species to have a hierarchy.

    Yes, I believe in being in charge. Yes, I believe there is a pack structure. No, I don't believe walking out the door first, not letting the dogs sleep on the bed or not playing tug makes me the pack leader.

    I simply refuse to believe that my dogs sit around all day plotting to take over the leadership role in my household, that they carefully plan each interaction to try and outmanoeuvre me to get the upper hand. I sincerely down that they have a tally of each and every game of tug they win.

    Just a note, I do believe in corrections. I have also been accused of being a bunny hugger for not following this theory.

    I would just call it "leader".


    Dominance - the definition for it by animal behaviorists - priority access to preferred resources.


    @Curtis - I am referring to the dominance theory as it relates to wolves/dogs. Maybe there are other applications of the terms, but what I am referring to is the "alpha male"/wolf theory of pack structure or obtaining dominance, whatever you want to call it.

    It is not simply a leader and follower social structure.

    The "Alpha" implies competing with others and becoming top dog by winning a contest or battle.

    As I pointed out, there are many social structures that have a leader and follower. I do not understand why I have to believe that my dogs and I must act like wolves to establish me as the "leader.

  • jina
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Definition Of Pack

  • 9 years ago

    I have a pack of dogs (actually, two, since I keep the big dogs separate).

    I am the leader of both.

    Everything belongs to, sofa, bed, door. I decide when and how they will be distributed or used. I do not tolerate any dog telling me how I should use my stuff or marking it as his. :o)

    When I bring home a new foster dog, that dog IS a "floor dog" for the first week or so. That is just NILIF (which I like). A milder, better behaved dog will earn sofa or bed privileges sooner than a more defiant one.

    I currently have a really tough little min-pin foster who required some pretty strong corrections when he first came. He did not get sofa privileges until almost two weeks, but now he is doing very well. He tried once to drive me away from a rawhide with his teeth, but that did not go well for him, and he has not tried again.

    I do train my dogs and foster dogs to walk beside me, stop and sit when I stop, and I have found that doing so does wonders for discipline.

    When I first watched Cesar, I had a papillon mix who had taken over the household. She was not aggressive, she just calmly ruled, so I did not recognize it. A couple of walks in, her attitude toward me improved considerably.

    I also had a Lab mix who was very independent (basically contrary), and who I found mildly irritating most of her life. ONE walk with her, insisting that she walk beside me, changed her attitude completely, She was something like nine years old when I started, and I wish I had known sooner... it would have saved me years of aggravation.

    So I think he is right on with that one.

    I currently have one dog who is constantly pushing to take over, and she is the dog least capable of chi. She and I have periodic battles that put her in her place, but it only seems to stick for a while before she starts social climbing again. At one point she was stalking my Westie, trying to better her position, so I had to start crating her when I left.

    If you actually had a scepter, trust me.....she would try to take it. :o)

    Source(s): lots o dogs
  • 9 years ago

    The @ssmites are out in full force today...I see your last Q. was removed.

    I do like Cesar...but I definitely think an alpha, pack leader, etc is a have to just BE the one in control, you have to have long as your dog knows that it doesn't really matter how you go about it. In some situations...a dog should not be allowed to sleep on the beds or walk in front...remember every dog is different. If I had a dog that tried to claim my bed or become possessive of it....that dog wouldn't be allowed on the bed.

    Some people are natural born leaders as well as followers. I've always been the type to assert myself....doesn't matter if we're talking about with dogs or other humans, so for me it comes naturally... I don't know how else to explain it. I'm just a head strong person. I'm not a pushover. I don't allow other people to walk all over to hell with a dog doing it.

    People try to deny the fact that most mammals live in groups, consisting of at least one alpha. How else would natural selection & survival of the fittest take place...

    *&* believe it or not...deny it or not...there are some dogs that challenge their owners for the "top spot".

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  • 4 years ago

    I think the definition of a "great wrestler" is bias. Because you know that everyone who is going to answer is going to pick out their favorite wrestler. The fact that a wrestler must be able to give out great moves is a necessity and I'm not going to lie...Shawn Michaels is an amazing wrestler, I think his moves reflects his character but that can work out to his advantage because he's a little guy compared to the others. Plus the fact that he has the ability to entertain a crowd through his moves speaks for itself. Anyone of this list is a great wrestler but they are limited to what they are told to do or what their character is portrayed. However, you get guys like Batista or Hogan and from a wrestling standpoint they have NONE. Hogan makes up for his lack of moves by selling promos but Batista has none, he doesn't have mic skills nor does he have technical skills. You can tell because he has been in this company for a long time and he has yet to update any of his moves. The moves are scripted but wrestlers are only told of how long they are going to perform or who is going to win. Batista would've had the freedom to execute any wrestling move but instead we get clothesline after clothesline and then some hits here and there and then a Batista bomb.

  • Being in charge is dominance theory @ Kaper...

    If somebody leads, and other's follow, the leader is "dominant". Domineering doesn't have to be brutal, tooth and claw combat and choke slams. It can be as simple as being the one who makes and enforces rules...which is something ALL dog owners should do...not many people would argue that.

    A "Pack leader" is the leader of a's funny when he says pack leader to single people with 1 dog because that's not quite a pack is it? More like a "Dog leader"...

  • 9 years ago

    "He/she who must be obeyed" ?????? ;)

    I don't think of myself as the pack leader either. I am the human, my house. I know what is necessary for the safety and welfare of my dog(s). I know what is necessary for my dog to be a "part of our family" as well as be a "good citizen" in the human world.

    Pretty much the same concept/responsibility of being a parent. Or a teacher.

    Play by the rules, and you have more fun and earn more "freedoms".

    When you are housebroken you don't have to be kept in a crate overnight.

    When you walk on a leash properly you will get to go for walks

    When you always "come" and stick with me, you can walk off leash and be outside the fence.

    When you watch my body language and listen you can run agility

    When you down and come you can go herding

    I do enforce me out the gate first for dog's safety. My dog is allowed on furniture and sleeps with me...because she will get off if I want her to.

    I do not want to be a tyrant. I want my dog to be my partner, my trusted companion. I want to have fun "doing" with her. And I do consider her wants and desires, and allow her what I call "dog time".

    My dog does get "free" good things. But "all good things" are bestowed by me. And the best good things are "doing" with me.

    What has been the best compliments in our agility and herding trials are comments from judges and peers "what a great team".

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I too consider myself a pack leader, but not in the cesar milan sense of the word. My dogs walk in front of me, but also listen. If I have to stop and tie my shoe I tell them wait and they stop. When I say back, they move away from the door, or out of my space. They know the command to leave it when they find an interesting item on the floor, I tell them to get in, when we are passing someone on our walk and I want them close to me. They share my bed and respond to my commands. They do all this with great enthusiasm and joy because of the relationship of mutual trust and respect that we have developed. I have received countless compliments on how well my dogs behave when we have visitors. I am proud of my furry family and of the great bond we have. It does not have to be done through dominance and fear.

  • 9 years ago

    For a dog co-existing in a human pack, the pack leader is the person who the dog perceives to be in &at the top of the hierarchy & control of every aspect of its life, which includes all the resources & territory, & is a person the dog can look up to & trust to protect it from threats outside the pack.

    The dog may work for other people in the family, but will snap to attention quicker for the person who projects authority when training & handling the dog.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    HE WHO CONTROLS ALL RESOURCES is the simple definition to your question. You can add to that all you want, move it around, turn it upside down, whatever, it will still be the case.

    The pack theory is valid and sound, some dogs need to be shown more and some less of how the pack runs, that is your job.

    Some dogs are more dominant then others and require more "input" then others. I do believe in not allowing animals on furniture, I have seen the effects it can have on some dogs, but, I also don't like to be covered in hair or my guests to be covered in hair.

    I have owned dogs that needed more reminders of who runs the pack, I have owned dogs that did challenge my position and it was not because of training issues, it was because of their temperaments.

    Having said that, all my dogs learn from the time I get them that I am the giver of all good things, everything they have/get, comes from me, I give life, but, I also take it, I am a fair and firm pack leader, but, I will also not brook any BS behavior from anyone and will go to lengths unimaginable to enforce that. So far, 31 years, it has worked great..I see no good reason to change nor fix something that is not broken.

    As far as not sounding like Mr Milan, don't get your teeth that white ever, and don't speak with his accent, you should be good!!

    ADD: Dutch, I cannot believe you still have that pic..its been what, 27 years since then?

    Source(s): Realist
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