I was inside the house when I heard some growls outside. I walked out to find Mia trying to take a bone that was in front of Bruno even though there was a second bone not too far from the two of them. "HEY! Excuse me! I don't think so! Knock it off you two!" I yelled over to them in my growling voice. Both dogs looked up and immediately walked away from the bone trotting towards me. I picked up the bone as they both watched.
For the two dogs to abandon the object they were both trying to get from one another and happily without fear, trot to me shows a high level of respect. Had I not earned my high alpha position in a fair and balanced way, yelling for them to stop most likely would not have worked and it could even have set them off into a fight.
Neither dog cowered away, both immediately responded to my voice. Had either of them responded in fear or run away from me it would have been a sign that I am too harsh.
Had I not been a strong enough leader it could have set them off into a fight as a follower decided to get involved in their disagreement. Had their little tiff been at a higher level of intensity it could also have set them off as at some point dogs no longer think, they react. I could tell the two of them were not at that level and I also had the confidence to know I had what it took to stop them. My dogs are always kept at a lower level making it easy to stop their unwanted behaviors with voice commands.
Both dogs knew their behavior was unacceptable. They knew they were busted and they also knew that the only thing they had to do was stop the behavior and the consequence from me would end.
When I correct the dogs as soon as they do what I want I back off. For example if I call a dog and they do not come after the second call I will go get them with the intention of leading them to the place I wish them to be. As I am walking towards them, as soon as they take a step towards me I stop and turn back away from them walking in the direction I wish them to go to teach them coming is all I wanted.
Being a pack leader is not about yelling, hitting, pushiness or force. It is about leadership and respect. You cannot demand it. It must be earned. This point is one that many dog owners and even some dog trainers fail to understand.
"Stay" The dogs cannot get out of the van until they have permission. They step out one at a time when we say their names and that tells them which one is allowed to go out. Not only does this keep the dogs watching their handlers for commands, but it also keeps them safe.