Are You More Accountable Than Your Dog?


When a dog is scolded, she acknowledges immediately she has done wrong. In dogs, this is often signaled by a yawnyawningdogs, a release of anxiety that often follows being disciplined. But this ability to be accountable allows them to move past the shame of being disciplined, to learn and to change.

Unfortunately, too many people today have a great deal of difficulty being accountable in this way for their behaviors. They seem unable to apologize, accept blame, admit they were wrong or admit they don’t know something. Their response is almost always to lash out at others in blame, rather than be self-aware and appropriately self-critical.

As I write in “Pack Leader Psychology,” this is because they have low self-worth and self-acceptance. Any additional shame or blame feels unbearable to them, so their choice in self-protection is to attack others. “Dominators” have personal relationships based on manipulation and control. They seek to manage others to prevent the inflow of potentially shaming messages, so they intimidate and bully as a way to get others to back down and not criticize.

These “Dominators” are all around us today, even in our immediate families, and their behavior can wreak havoc on relationships.

Without the ability to be honest with ourselves about our behavior, we cannot hope to truly understand why we behave the way we do and see its effect on others.

It is interesting to me that even people who have read “Pack Leader Psychology,” where I explicitly and directly describe this behavior and its roots fail to recognize that they have these very traits. Of course, this is exactly the problem. They are almost psychologically unable to recognize their faults. It is this very inability to be self-aware that prevents these people from moving forward with positive personal change in their lives and relationships.

Sadly, this personality disorder could have been avoided if someone had called them out on this behavior earlier in their lives before it became an ingrained pattern of self-protection. Until we break this cycle by improving the quality of parenting, these behaviors will continue to flourish in each new generation. We need good, assertive Pack Leader Parenting to start right now!

Are YOU a Pack Leader? Take the quiz to find out!

The Dog That Taught Me About Leadership


Reilly, the Muse for “Pack Leader Psychology”

As I say in “Pack Leader Psychology,” a growl instantly moved me from pack member to pack leader with my dog, Reilly. But if I hadn’t had a dog that understood how to be a pack member, I might never have learned this lesson. And I might never have made the connection that being a pack leader to people might also be a good thing for my interpersonal relationships as well.

The story begins when I got Reilly as an eight-month-old dog. She had grown up in an outdoor kennel with her birth pack and several adult dogs. Living for so long with this normal dog pack taught Reilly how to recognize and honor the pack leader or leaders — probably her mother and father.

Continue reading

Welcome to the inaugural Pack Leader Psychology blog post!

I’m very excited to begin this new adventure that has been about six years in the making. I have written a non-fiction self-help book called “Pack Leader Psychology,” and this blog is the first step in introducing the ideas in that book to the public. A full website will follow soon and the book is now available as an e-book on Amazon (Kindle fans!). Print and e-versions on B&N and other sites will be due shortly.

So what is the book about?  Tough to shorten 230 pages down into a few paragraphs, but here goes:

“Pack Leader Psychology” recounts the lessons I learned while becoming a pack leader to my dog, Reilly, that helped transform me from a submissive, abused wife into a calm, confident, independent and assertive human pack leader. Read More