When you purchase an adult American Dirus dog and bring it into your home, you automatically make a promise to that living soul. The very act of willingly including that precious life into your pack binds that dog to you. Its life and well-being then become your responsibility.

As in the wild, the canine assumes the pack leader will be its provider and protector. Your new dog immediately seeks to find the answers to the following questions:

  1. Who is in charge?
  2. How does the leader govern? Is the leader a tyrannt, a dictator, an authoritarian, a laissez-faire, a protector, or diplomatic leader?
  3. What are the other members of the pack like? Can I trust them or must I defend myself from them?
  4. What will my new role be within this new family dynamic?

Unfortunately, too many humans do not understand this important aspect of a dog's nature. The new furry family member may feel alone and abandoned by those who brought it into their world.

Dogs that lack a strong pack leader in their life will do one of two things:

  1. seek to fill the void left by the absence of someone to guide them.
  2. flounder in a pool of uncertainty until the circumstances force them to stand up for their own fragile emotions.

When the human is not the family protector, the dog has to protect itself.

American Dirus dogs, in particular, are bred to be submissive and rarely seek leadership roles. Some owners have even surmised that the Dire Wolf Project founder, Lois Schwarz, unknowingly chose puppies that had omega-like temperament structure, which is why many of our dogs appear to determine human emotion and automatically respond in a way that dispels the anguish and turmoil within.

Regardless of whether most American Dirus dogs show true omega qualities, leadership roles do not come easy for most American Dirus dogs. They prefer to allow others to declare the rules for the pack. Following another's lead is easiest if the leader is clear, concise, consistent, fair, and unyielding.

In contrast, following another's lead is difficult if the leader wavers in his/her enforcement of the rules, creates rules for one family member that doesn't apply to another, or makes the rules so complicated the dog becomes confused.

A new adult actively seeks to learn if it can trust your authority or not. Since a dog cannot verbally ask you, it must find out by other means.

Many people may describe this as "challenging authority:, but I prefer to describe it as the only way for a dog to discern how clear, consistent, fair, and unyielding you are as an alpha figure in the family structure. If you pas this test, you will earn the new dog's trust. But if you fail it, you will have lied to your furry friend, disregarding that promise you made to your hopeful companion when you first chose them to become the newest family member.