- from Dogs
Dogs don’t understand democracy. In their world, the leader of the pack is the dog with an attitude. Its body language says, “I’m the toughest, smartest, bravest dog you’ll ever meet.” Once the dog proves it, the rest of the pack follows its lead.
The dominant dog in a pack is called the alpha dog. It leads the pack in tracking down food, patrolling the territory, or driving off intruders. In exchange, it gets the best of everything—the best food, sleeping spot, and toy. When dogs live in a human pack, food rules. Because humans control the food, most dogs consider them to be alpha. The dogs willingly act as followers, or “underdogs.”
But dogs keep a close eye on their bosses. If a dog thinks the human pack needs some leadership, it may volunteer for the job. When a dog tries to take control of its owners, its alpha behavior may land it in the doghouse. This is the last place a dog wants to be, physically or emotionally. More than anything else, a dog likes to be with the rest of the pack. All it needs—and wants—is a leader to tell it what to do.