In this age of political correctness some words we use in dog training now have a negative inference.

The word dominant for example is one of these words, it is now often mentioned as a terrible thing. Yet isn’t it just a natural development in the canine world?  Just as people are different and have their own personalities, so do dogs.  Some dogs will develop as shy, some fearful some as submissive and some as dominant. If you watch a litter of puppies on numerous occasions you will begin to see which puppies fall into which category.

There is an excellent YouTube video by Leerburg:  ( demonstrating the pack mentality within a litter of puppies. So many so called experts discount the idea that there is a hierarchy in a dog pack.  A dominant dog is not the same as an aggressive dog but these terms are sometimes used interchangeably.  A dominant dog can perhaps move more quickly than a less excitable dog into aggression but is not naturally aggressive. Of course dogs are not just products of nature either.  How a dog is trained or not trained makes a huge impact on their development.

I don’t think we have to be ashamed for being the dominant one in our canine relationship. You can be your dogs “friend” but still be the one in charge. Some people think if you love your dog you can get the behavior you desire.  I’ve seen way too many dogs who rule the household and their owners “love them”.  Just because you love your dog doesn’t mean you can control them.

Do my dogs know I am in charge? …yes, they do. Does that make me dominate? …probably. You only need to look at them to see they live happy lives. The rules are in place, yes you can do that, or no you cannot. Are my dogs perfect? ….no, they are not, but, no dog is.  I don’t shy away from being in charge and I don’t negotiate.  Call me dominate, alpha, the pack leader or mom. The word doesn’t matter, what does matter is do they listen, can you stop them from continuing a behavior you find undesirable?  Don’t get hung up on the words but rather concentrate on the behavior.