Is it okay to snuggle with your dog as the pack leader?

Yes! Absolutely! Dogs love to be touched and cuddled and studies have proven that petting a dog causes your heart rate to slow and your cholesterol to lower! Any pack leader that doesn’t show this soft side is missing on a wonderful opportunity to bond with your dog. Dogs in the wild cuddle (even with the pack leader), so it is absolutely acceptable to cuddle with your pup.

The important part is that you are able to recognize when it’s a good time to snuggle with your dog. First thing in the morning is not the best time because it communicates to your dog that friendship is more important than leadership. Exercise, then discipline, and then affection is the way a pack leader should operate. Cuddle when your dog is already calm as this will reinforce calmness in your pup (I will give you attention when you’re calm). This is really hard for Americans–we like show affection to dogs quicker than you can say “bow wow”. But remember, as a pack leader, you will gain the most respect from your dog if you show affection like a pack leader in the wild shows affection: at the right time, after the pack has been exercised, and after disciplinary issues are taken care of.

Lead (then cuddle) your dog!