Signs Your Dog Sees You As The Alpha (Pack Leader)

Signs Your Dog Sees You As The Alpha (Pack Leader)

We all know that dogs are perfect family pets, but did you know that dogs were initially pack animals? The Canis animal family consists of wolves, foxes, coyotes, jackals, and domestic dogs.

The domestic dog, scientifically known as Canis Familiaris, is the tamed animal of this group. The Canis familiaris or domestic dogs’ history is traced back hundreds of decades.

Although there are controversial opinions regarding the history of dogs, it is evident that they descend from the Canis family.

Animals in this group are often considered pack animals, meaning they stick together to ensure their survival.

Since dogs were domesticated, their behavioral traits and personalities significantly differ from wolves, foxes, and jackals.

However, the pack mentality is still there in dogs despite being raised in households. This pack mentality can be clearly seen through some behavioral traits of your pet dog, especially from them seeing you as the pack leader. 

Due to their genes, dogs commonly consider their owner the pack leader. How can you make sure that your dog views you as their alpha, in other words, the pack leader?

So, What are the signs your dog sees you as the Alpha (Pack leader)? If your dog keeps following you, listens and obeys your commands, breaks eye contact first, lets you go through the doors first, doesn’t steal your food, acts calm in stressful situations, and gets excited to see you, they are the primary gestures to determine that they see you as the alpha. 

Dogs are not just fun and friendly companions. They certainly are, but they are also loyal creatures. As a result of their heritage, dogs indicate pack behavior every now and then.

They might not demonstrate intense pack behavior like wolves; nonetheless, they consider the owners as pack leaders.

If you own a dog and want to figure out whether your dog considers you the alpha, this article will make it easy for you to find answers. 

What are the signs your dog sees you as the alpha (Pack Leader)?

Dogs are loyal to their masters. You do not necessarily have to teach a dog to be trustworthy and respectful to its master because it is a characteristic they inherit through their genes.

Therefore they naturally consider the owner as their alpha. Their behavioral traits and body language help us to ensure that your dog sees you as the pack leader.

Some common gestures can be noted below. 

  • Keeps following you around and lets you take the lead

If your pet dog keeps following, that shows they care for you and respect you. Pack animals usually follow their alpha as they believe it is the one who leads them.

So domestic dogs follow their masters, considering them the alphas. Especially if you see that your dog follows one person rather than everyone in the house, that is an apparent gesture that your dog sees that person as the pack leader.

Furthermore, the dog will typically allow the owner to take the lead. Suppose there’s a door to walk out; your dog will let you go through it first because they believe they should follow the alpha’s lead. 

  • Doesn’t steal your food

Pack animals are highly respectful towards their alpha. So when your dog sees you as the alpha, they will show respect in several ways.

One such common gesture would be not stealing your food. Dogs can be somewhat greedy to eat; unless you train them properly, they might try to steal food.

However, when they consider the owner as alpha, they will naturally avoid doing it. In a pack, the alpha usually takes the lead in hunting and eats its share of food first.

In a household, dogs believe the owner or the pack leader is the one who should eat first; therefore, they will not steal food. 

  • Leaves you a spot to sit 

You might have seen how dogs jump into couches and make themselves comfortable. Have you also seen them always leaving the best spot on the couch free? Why do they do that?

Usually, dogs leave the best spot for their leader, another typical gesture of indicating respect. Dogs like to make themselves comfortable, but they will never forget to give priority to the alpha. 

  • Breaks eye contact first 

Imagine a situation where your dog did something wrong or unacceptable; in such cases, they will break eye contact with the master because they know they did something they should’ve not done.

Dogs communicate a lot through their eyes; it could be joy, love, fear, and more emotions. Although they do not prefer maintaining direct eye contact or staring, they look into the owners’ eyes to communicate their feelings.

As mentioned earlier, your dog will break eye contact and hold its head low to apologize to the alpha when they do a bad thing. 

How do you know if your dog considers you alpha?

Personalities and behavioral traits of dogs can be subjective; therefore, you may not find a fixed way to determine whether your dog considers you the pack leader.

Nonetheless, some common characteristics and gestures showcased by pet dogs help us understand that your dog respects you and sees you as its pack leader. 

Dogs are initially packed animals, but as they have been socialized over the past decades, they are now considered domestic animals.

You might not notice intense pack behavior from a dog as in a wolf; however, you will still see gestures indicating their pack mentality.

Dogs usually prefer to show their love and gratitude to their owners; sometimes, they will show similar signs to demonstrate their love and respect as a pack leader, so there are possibilities where the signs may overlap.

Either way, if you often notice them following you around, let you take the lead, do not steal food, show affection to you, and be obedient to the commands that indicate they consider you the alpha. 

How do dogs choose alpha humans?

Growing up in a household is completely different than growing up in a pack. Domestic dogs have to merge with everyone in their human family.

Moreover, a human family is not the same as a pack. Under these circumstances, how would a dog choose an alpha human? Let’s find it out.

Forget the term alpha for a minute; if you own a dog, you might have noticed that your dog favors one person in the home over the others; ever thought, what’s the reason behind it?

It probably happens when the dog considers that person as its alpha, the pack leader. How does the dog pick one person that way?

What dogs expect from their alpha is to guide them and be their leader, so they will pay attention to several facts choosing their alpha. Dogs strongly get connected to their owners during early socialization, meaning around 2 to 6 months.

In this period, puppies learn things faster, and they learn to socialize very well. When you bring home a puppy, they tend to be close to the person who cares for them the most and spends time with them, but that will not be the only criterion for them to pick their alpha.

A dog will observe the personalities of family members. Dogs prefer their alphas to be somewhat dominant, so the one who typically gets the lead in the house will stand out from others. Also, the dog expects the alpha to show them care and affection. 

Do dogs know who the alpha human is?

A dog might not know who will be its alpha human as soon as they meet the human family. Nevertheless, your dog will bond with family members without taking a long time.

The way the dog bond will differ from one member to the other. Eventually, the dog will feel more connected to one person and consider them the alpha.

So a dog will not pick their alpha in one night; the more they spend time with the family, the more they get to know them, and it will help the dog to select the pack leader. 

Do dogs cuddle with the alpha?

When you hear the word pack leader, respect typically pops up to mind. Dogs certainly respect their alpha; this might make you wonder whether respect creates boundaries between the alpha and the dog or if the dog would still show their love along respect.

We cannot deny the fact that dogs are highly socialized animals. Therefore they will always show their affection to the family, even to the alpha. Seeing a pet dog lick and cuddle with the human alpha is not unusual. 

Final thoughts 

This article provided insights into understanding dogs’ signs when they consider you the alpha. As comprehensively discussed, dogs are now regarded as domestic animals, but they have inherited a pack mentality.

Therefore growing up in a human family, a dog will select a person as its alpha. A dog does not choose their alpha within a day; it will look into several factors and will take some time to select the alpha.

Once they choose them, they will undoubtedly show signs of love and respect. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner. See you next time!


  • Dominic Parker

    Dominic P. is a dog behavioral researcher who graduated from the University of Surrey and holds BVMsi (Hons) in Veterinary Medicine and Science. He has been around dogs since childhood and has unconditional love for dogs. It makes him become a researcher instead of practicing as a veterinarian. Dominic enjoys his work and likes to share his findings with dog parents to give them a better understanding of dogs’ behaviors.

    [email protected]

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