In recent years, the terms “alpha” and “dominance” and the whole “wolf pack theory” of dog training have become popular again. The appeal, I think, lies in the way it is sensationalized on television and in other media. It grabs attention. Unfortunately, most of what is espoused in the name of dog training and behavior is more fiction than fact.
I read John Bradshaw’s book Dog Sense, which lays out the scientific evidence that having to dominate your dog to establish your position as the alpha or pack leader is not an appropriate method to follow when it comes to training our dogs. (Great book, I highly recommend it!)
Trainers and others who claim to be experts in dog behavior who espouse “wolf pack theory” and establishing your dominance over your dog are spouting misinformation. They haven’t bothered to keep up with what we have learned about dogs – and wolves – in the past several decades. It’s a bit scary if you think about it. Can you imagine going to a doctor who has not stayed abreast of the latest in health and medicine over the last twenty, thirty or fifty years? Yet people pay dog trainers and people who claim to be “behaviorists” good money to be told outdated info that, in some cases, will actually make things worse instead of better.
Take a look at the article and YouTube video below from David Mech, the guy who REALLY knows what wolves do in the wild.
The next time you think about emulating the “alpha” wolf, remember: your dog is not a wolf and neither are you!