Do Alpha Dogs Walk in Front of Their Pack ?

The leaders of the pack (alphas), don’t necessarily lead or follow, they just are. And I will use the alpha terminology very loosely, as it doesn’t really exist as we think it does.

So much is written and adhered to by the dog training community in regards to who should walk first, you or your dog. The pretext of the thought process here being, alpha dogs are always first in everything. This inaccurate canine behavioral information has been taught to us for so long, that it has now been so firmly ingrained into our own minds psyche, that it’s virtually impossible for most of us to modify our thought process as to exactly what is, alpha dog attributes.

So, do alphas walk first? Or do they walk wherever ?

I’d like to see if some of you guys can notice anything special, in the following video.

You can also watch this in a wider format on YouTube

The Spirit Dog

Copyright © 2009 a.s.papszycki


9 Responses

  1. He’s saying all the dogs are looking back to see where he is, they aren’t leading him, they’re just in front of him. He’s the one they are looking to for direction. If he walked off the trail, doubtless they’d all follow him. If he turned the other direction, they’d run back (and probably get in front of him again) – he’s deciding the direction they walk.

  2. I missed the video point as I dont have a relationship with your dogs.

    With cattle (my other passion) the strongest go through the gates in the middle, the weaker go in front or behind ie, the predators get them and not the strongest.

    With the danes, both stop and wait for me, more for instruction on where we are going than power…

  3. True Alpha dogs walk wherever they want , it’s usually the more excitable dogs that run out in front.

  4. Still hanging… 😉

  5. The think the Saint Bernard is the alpha.

  6. Yeah, Al, I thought I noticed they mostly stopped walking when you did. In fact, a few who had run ahead came back.
    “Does the Alpha lead the pack?”, no-YOU DO!!

    Are you gonna leave us hanging…what were you hoping we would see?

  7. Hi Michele,

    The little old guys name is Spanky or Dootle Dandy or just Doots, the Shepherds name is One Way or Doofy Dog. Before we went on the walk, all those guys were running around and playing in our front pasture, that just means Spanky likes to take a moment to rest on occasion.

  8. Not quite sure what you want us to see. All I can say is that most of the crew is taking their direction from you. Several of them “check in” over their shoulders. And when you stop so does most of the pack. (Aside from the couple of goofballs a couple hundred yards up the road.)

    Seems too obvious though. Of course they are taking their direction from you! Oh, I think they think you walk too slow too. 🙂 I;know my dogs do.

  9. What intrigues me is small black dog that interacts with the Shepard then stands in the same spot during the rest of the video while the other dogs are milling around. Don’t know what it means, if anything, just looks odd.

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