As a dog owner, taking on the role of a leader and becoming the "alpha" will help your dog respond and show positive behaviors more frequently, which you may be able to reinforce. This role of being the alpha leader involves sincere concern and the will to protect and direct the whole pack. This paves the way for a healthy relationship built on trust and respect.

It is important to earn your dog’s trust, love, respect, and loyalty before they welcome you as the "alpha" or pack leader. This can be possible by providing your dog with a set of rules, limitations, clear boundaries, being consistent, being gentle but firm, and reinforcing good behavior.

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  1. Signs of Dominance in Dogs
  2. How to Be Alpha Leader for Your Puppy
  3. How to Be Alpha Leader for Your Puppy
  4. FAQs
  5. Conclusion

Signs of Dominance in Dogs

Is a dog's mounting a sign of dominance? How about when your dog is sitting on your feet, leaning on you, or lying on you? Or what about when they are obsessively licking or humping you? Dominance in dogs can be manifested through several signs. Note that when it comes to aggressive dominance, it should be addressed as soon as possible through training and, in some cases, medication. Below are the common signs of dominant behavior in dogs:

  • Licking obsessively;
  • Mounting inappropriately;
  • Not following commands;
  • Sitting on your feet when others are around;
  • Leaning or lying on you to claim ownership;
  • Guarding food or toys;
  • Hostility if reprimanded;
  • Hostility upon eye contact;
  • Herding attempts;
  • Aggressive behavior toward children.

Aggressive dominant behavior is particularly risky for young children, as the dog may snap and bite the child. The behavior may also be concerning when there are other dogs or animals around, as it may lead to violence. Aggressive dominant behavior in dogs should be corrected as soon as possible to avoid problems and accidents.

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How to Be Alpha Leader for Your Puppy

It is important to become your dog’s alpha leader as early as possible. If your puppy considers you the alpha dog, they will allow you to lead them, making them more open to learning, listening, and following your commands. They will let you guide them in differentiating right and wrong behaviors and will show you respect. How do you show a puppy your dominance as the leader of the pack? Below are some tips on becoming your puppy’s alpha leader.

Involve the whole household

When we talk about how to show a puppy your dominance, training should not only involve you and your puppy. All the people in the household, as well as your visitors, should get on board as well. That way, your puppy won’t get confused about the things that you’re teaching them as the alpha leader.

Set ground rules

Have a sit-down talk with everyone in the household to discuss the ground rules. Discuss things such as: Will you allow your puppy to go around the house anytime? Can they lie down on beds or the sofa? You may also set rules, like not giving treats except during training.

Train and socialize

According to NCBI research, training puppies helps them learn commands and distinguish right from wrong behaviors early on. But training shouldn’t just be limited to the home. It’s also important to socialize your puppy while training to see how they react when faced with unexpected situations and challenges. Leading them as your puppy’s alpha while guiding them in new situations and helping them learn what they should do

Be gentle and calm

The alpha leader shouldn’t be cruel, physical, or aggressive. When it comes to how to show dominance to a puppy, using verbal commands and training techniques in a calm way is key. It is important to be gentle yet firm when teaching commands to your puppy.

Correct undesirable behaviors

Remember your ground rules, and if your puppy breaks any of them, correct them in a gentle way. For example, if you have decided that your puppy is not allowed to stay on the sofa, correct him when he climbs up. You may pick them up and bring them down, but don’t throw them out.

Prevent dominant behaviors

Puppy dominance may make your dog assume that they are the boss. However, this may cause problems down the line. It is therefore important to assert yourself as the alpha while preventing dominant behavior in your pup. Some ways to prevent dominant behavior in your puppy include:

  • When eating, teach them to wait until you have finished eating. Let them understand that they will get their turn after.
  • When walking together, don’t let your dog go in front of you. You should walk beside each other.

Show consistency

Consistency is important so that your puppy will learn better and not get confused.

In showing your puppy that you are the alpha leader, it is important to observe and monitor their actions, especially since they are still learning things. A good pet camera, such as the Petcube Cam, can help you monitor your dog 24/7. This camera can help you see whether your dog follows your set of rules even if you’re away. It can also be useful if you want to review their actions while you are training them at home.

How to Be Alpha Leader for Your Puppy

When it comes to how to show your dominance to a dog as an alpha, you should establish yourself as the one that your dog trusts, follows, and turns to for guidance. The tips given above are generally the same for all dogs, especially older ones. If your dog has been dominant for quite some time, it may take a little more time to teach him, but it is definitely possible.
Below are some additional tips:

  • Ignore them when they’re being pushy;
  • Don’t respond until he calms down or follows a command or trick first;
  • Reward positive behavior;
  • When they follow your commands, and if they don’t show dominant behavior, reward and praise them.


Dog aggression vs. dominance — what's the difference?

Dog dominance
Dogs have an innate sense of dominance. How this manifests may vary depending on different factors, such as breed and personality.

Dog aggression
This is a socialized behavior that may be brought about by either circumstance or ineffective training methods. Almost all cases of dog aggression can be corrected and resolved.

Do female dogs fight for dominance?

There are different dominance levels in neutered dogs, regardless of gender. There are several reasons why dogs may fight, such as insecurity, fear, and nervousness, among others. In unneutered dogs, it’s possible for female dogs to fight over dominance if there’s a male dog.


As a dog owner, it is essential to establish yourself as the alpha leader. And as an alpha, you should be able to lead, protect, and direct your dog. This helps build a healthy relationship between you and your dog that is built on trust, loyalty, respect, and love.

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