Dog Training: Are You The Alpha? Are you the “Pack Leader”?

I just found this pet related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

YouTube Description The BEST DOG TRAINING PAGE on FACEBOOK Follow me on Twitter: My main channel: My second (video blog) channel: My secret channel: ??? follow me on twitter or “like” me on facebook to find that one:) Is pack theory the best approach when dealing with our dogs?

What do you think?

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25 Responses

  1. jimlupi
    | Reply

    Ex. Most world class retrievers are trained w E-collars due to the distances involved. Are you against this obviosly aversive technique used in the hands of profesionals trained in there use, or just the general public?

  2. MsJayree
    | Reply

    Hey Zak I just got a random question for you.. Do you let your dogs sit/sleep with you on the couch/bed? do you have an opinion on when people say that it makes the dog “think they’re equal to us” in the whole wolf-hierarchy thing? just wondering!

  3. easyitsashley
    | Reply

    MY dogs follow behind me always, listen to my every command, and are super well behaved, also have a super strong bond. Idk if im pack leader, but they are “trained” well.

  4. mtjor156
    | Reply

    Zak, I enjoy all of your videos and I respect what you’re saying, but I’ve yet to hear an actual explanation of how to correct a dog without using a leash correction, or any other correction that may be considered aversive. I’m open to any methods that would eliminate unnecessary physicality, but in my experience a dog has to at least have a reason to associate no with doing something wrong ie no – leash pop. Can you explain how you correct negative or unwanted behavior in a dog? Thanks

  5. kokkeibunni07
    | Reply

    @fellyfell23 If you were enjoying a really yummy piece of cake and someone came up and yanked it out of your hand, wouldn’t you be upset? Try, instead, to “trade” with him. At first you hold a treat to one side of his mouth and take the treat with the other, so he immediately gets a reward for giving it to you. Then work so the treat is further and further away until you have built up enough trust that he will drop it on command. Worked with my pit bull, will certainly work with an Aussie! 🙂

  6. AgilityFox
    | Reply

    @jimlupi Retrievers have been trained at a distance long before the existance of E-collars !
    Some “pro’s” use them to save time, but the same job can be achieved with positive methods.

  7. AgilityFox
    | Reply

    @mtjor156 The thing is, if you do your positive training correctly, you’ll never need to “correct unwanted behaviour”.
    Dogs are taught what to DO instead of unwanted behaviours.

  8. jimlupi
    | Reply


    thanks Zak???????

    I know some in this field and their is virtually none, if any, top retrievers trained w No aversive. Most heavily use marker training but basically NONE use it exclusively. Same goes for working dogs.

  9. ABengelke
    | Reply

    I like Susan Garrett’s saying about this: “Be your dog’s TEAM leader, not pack leader!”.

    And also, is important for people to understand that POSITIVE IS NOT PERMISSIVE.

  10. fellyfell23
    | Reply

    @kokkeibunni07 yes i’d be upset but i didn’t take anything away from him. i went over to pet him. if you read it closely you would see that. He already knows the “let go” command and does it anytime i’ve asked. even with food. i was just surprised he growled at me with food in his hand since he’s never done anything like that before.

  11. grejotte
    | Reply

    @MsJayree First thing you gotta know is that it is impossible to have a hierarchy between two different species, so it is impossible that your dog perceive you like a part of a “pack”. Second is that, about that hierarchy and dominance theory, it was proven to be all wrong. Dogs aren’t like wolves at all and they do not have a solid hierarchy between them. It has been proven that using dominance over them isn’t effective. So, he can sleep in your bed if you want, it doesn’t make any difference.

  12. mtjor156
    | Reply

    @AgilityFox I just can’t seem to completely connect the dots with this type of training I guess. I appreciate your response but I still don’t understand. You make it seem as if dogs only perform actions that are taught to them and don’t act on their own volition.

  13. AgilityFox
    | Reply

    @mtjor156 Of course the dogs act on their own will.
    Your job as a trainer is to reinforce the behaviours you want, and not reinforce or allow self reinforcement of behaviours you don’t want.
    You will not need to “correct” unwanted behaviours, because you will prevent them from happening.

    You will either redirect the unwanted behaviour, or manage the environement, or build more value for an alternative behaviour. In some cases, it could be necessary to do all 3.

  14. AgilityFox
    | Reply

    @mtjor156 I know it may seem difficult, but it can be done.
    You need to change old habits, be pro-active, and think out of the box. 🙂

  15. blackdogxx
    | Reply

    I learned that the person with the toys,food,water, house, crate and dog bed is the leader by any measure. Whether you are a humane and effective leader for your dog is up to you. The dog cannot be responsible and does not have human reasoning ability. You have to be the trainer and caregiver. But remember that dogs have been the only species that has a real relationship with another species in all of nature. For thousands of years, people have had dogs as companions. YOU are responsible!

  16. MsJayree
    | Reply

    @grejotte i don’t believe in it, i was just wondering if he has them sleep with him, lol

  17. thatoneguy2
    | Reply

    @grejotte I hate to bust your bubble, but in Dr. Yin’s article on dominance she says, “My goal is to use whichever techniques will work best with the least likelihood of side effects in the pet. If that best technique involves a punishment such as, for dogs, a pinch collar “pop” or reprimand, or booby trap of some sort, or even an electronic collar, then I will use it.”

  18. Poettetree
    | Reply

    I just have to say that I love what you advocate. I am a first time dog owner. I’ve had people show me how to flip him on his back and hold him down… but that doesn’t really fit well with me or my teaching style. So far we’ve worked through sitting, staying, and the prolonged stay. Next is walking on a lead without pulling. What you’ve taught me is painless and fun. My wonderful fluffy and silly dog thanks you 🙂

  19. jimlupi
    | Reply


    isn’t that semantics? LOL people are so politically correct its sickening

  20. video5junkie
    | Reply

    I totally believe in your philosophies Zac, thanks for all you do!!

  21. skimble2
    | Reply

    Great video Zak. I have been thinking a lot about ‘opening channels of communication’ – through training (whether formal or informal) and all interactions we have with our dog. I feel you are talking about exactly the same idea here with referring to connections we make with our dog. If we can communicate clearly and helpfully to our dogs, and if we give them the opportunity to communicate with us, and are open to that communication then we have a relationship. Without that we have nothing.

  22. triscleeire
    | Reply

    Great video!! I would like to add that training is not the only way of connecting. As a trainer that’s your (Zak’s) main focus in the vids but I’m sure you agree that there are other important things too? Cuddles (gentle – no beating on top of the head and thinking that’s nice!), enjoying a walk together by paying attention to the dog rather than chatting away among humans and ignoring the dog until s/he “misbehaves”, sleeping in the same room, nose-games, hide and seek (not in fear period)…

  23. PaulAndMuttley
    | Reply

    Wow, just went through all 117 comments. There are some good ones and some terrible. I think it’s good to shift the focus off CM and onto some traditional dog trainers, who really are all about forced dominance and constant correction with little or no R+. Some of these people falsely claim to use CM’s methods, and others do not, and are much worse. There is some misinformation presented in the video as absolute fact, and that is disturbing. But overall it was pretty good.

  24. suckittomcat
    | Reply

    Being rather a stickler for semantics, and also towards the end of making your videos shorter and/or more concise, I suggest that you edit videos such as this so that you can (1.) stop and check a thesaurus to find more appropriate words for what you are trying to convey and (2.) offer examples to back up some of your statements. Overall, you are a good speaker and of above average intelligence. Good stuff.

  25. IanthWoW
    | Reply

    Ni kissing up, but I think that you are best dog Trener on youtube…:)

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