Basic Training

How to Be the Alpha (Even if You’re a Woman)

Going back thousands of years dogs evolved from wild wolves. While today’s modern canine makes a great family pet, they still retain many characteristics from the past. One of these is what is known as “pack mentality” passed down from their forefathers, the wild wolf. It is important for you to be the alpha male with your dog so he or she knows you are in charge. It does not matter what your sex is: follow these guidelines and you WILL be the Alpha!

Alpha male with your dog

Packs of wolves had one dominant male who was known as the Alpha male, and all other wolves in the pack were submissive to him. Modern dogs are also pack oriented animals, and when in a family environment with humans they will try to dominate unless you establish in no uncertain terms you are the alpha male with your dog. Many dog owners are unaware that their dog or dogs view their human family and fellow dogs as their pack. If you do own more than one dog you have already witnessed this alpha male trait as one of your dogs is “in charge” of what the other dogs do. On the next level is this question: does this dog know you are in charge of him and the other dogs? Unless this is clearly understood by this dominant dog there is going to be chaos around your home.

Let’s look at few common things you can do to establish you are the top dog or alpha male with your dog. These are everyday things most of us do not give a second thought to, but your dog is learning from them. Who eats first, you and your family or your dog? Wolf packs know the alpha dog eats first and then the rest of the pack dines. Avoid the habit of feeding your dog just because he or she is bugging you as you prepare dinner for your family.

When out for walks do you allow the dog to pull you in the direction he wants to go? If so this needs to stop as you train your dog he is going to go where you decide. As explained in an article on

The number one way to communicate to a dog that you are his pack leader is to take him for a walk. Not the type of walk most humans take their dogs on but a pack walk, where the dog is made to heel beside or behind the human who is holding the lead. This is most important for all dogs, as in a dog’s mind, the leader always leads the way.

Who enters your door first after a walk? Leaders of your family pack go through the door first and then the dog follows.

Here is a big one for many people who need to demonstrate who is in charge. Allowing your dog to sleep in bed with you shows him he is your equal so stop this by placing a dog crate or sleep cushion near the bed.

Teaching lessons about who is the Alpha male with your dog need not be harsh or traumatic for your dog. He or she will actually be more comfortable knowing where they fit in with your “pack”.

Is your dog running the show? Please leave comments and advice below.



  1. Haley

    Jan 1, 2014 at 11:27 am

    As a woman this article helped me. Beth and rosemay don’t know what they are talking about. As a multiple dog owner i have seen this pack mentality and with male owners , like my husband, dogs do seem to pbey him better and in a different way. Just like dogs are used to following the alpha male, women are more nurturing and sometimes see their dogs as as babies or treat them as such. That is not all women but it angers me when women get so upset that something is sexist when the fact is, men and women send off different vibes and women are not naturally alpha MALE material. Women and men are equal but in different ways. Stop being ignorant and don’t comment on an article if it’s negative. Authors work hard on this stuff and don’t need your criticism when its a stupid point. Heck, you go me to write a response haha.

  2. Rosemary

    Apr 17, 2013 at 6:48 am

    You are absolutely right on both counts Beth. Not only is the title of this article pretty offensive to a significant number of those of us who love and share our lives with dogs, it is based on outdated (and discredited) information. Why would you post something like this? Posting these kinds of articles really brings your credibility as a reliable source of information about pet care and training into question. What else are you posting on your website that is also incorrect?

  3. Beth

    Jan 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

    The title of this article is sexist and your science is off. Alpha dog theory is based on old science from the 70’s. Since then, our knowledge of wolves and domestic dogs and how they behave has evolved greatly. Current research with domestic dogs actually disproves this outdated, “be the leader of the pack mentality”. It is sad to see these confrontational training myths are still being perpetuated.

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