Q. My 4 month old puppy does not see me as a pack leader, what do I do? I'm worried this could get serious.

I ordered two dog training DVDs (puppy & pack structure) from you guys and they are fantastic! Both really opened my eyes to what I've been doing wrongly.

I have a 4 month old female Boston terrier/pug mix, who has quite a personality to match.

She recognizes my husband as leader of the pack but not me. I admit it is my fault as I babied her so she only listens to me at times and even growls at me when I tell her to stop doing something like jumping on the couch or letting go of a shoe. She also pulls on walks. Clearly I've not done much to earn her respect.

How do I reclaim my status as another pack leader? Do I crate her as in the pack structure DVD, only letting her out for walks and meals? We plan to start a family and I want to correct my mistake and get her under control or else I'm in trouble. Please help, what would you advise?

A. I think you should back up to the beginning and start over with your pack structure training. It’s not unusual for a dog to need a ‘refresher’ course and your dog is only 4 months old so she’s still a youngster.

I would definitely go back and revisit the Pack Structure video as well.

Don’t be afraid to use the crate a lot, and try not to baby her because dogs don’t see that as you being nice… they see this as you showing weakness. Dogs need structure and to know their place in the family. When you try to treat them like little humans or feel bad for treating them like dogs they pick up on that right away and try to make their move up the ladder to gain a higher rank.

Q. In pack structure training, what does 'full crate submission' mean?

I just purchased Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet DVD and I don't understand what 'full crate submission' means. My dogs are going in & coming out submissively, however they still have moments when they cry/bark, especially at night.

A. Crate submission is merely total acceptance. If the dogs are barking, vocalizing then they are not fully accepting of the crate yet (or maybe they need to go out to relieve themselves).

Q. Do I need to treat my 3 dogs like they are each a new dog to the pack in order to fix my pack issues?

I have read tons of your articles and will watch the DVDs, but I need to know right away if I need to treat my 3 dogs like they are each a new dog to the pack in order to fix my pack issues. I read the groundwork articles, but you seem to specifically talk about when you get a new dog and I need to fix problems with the three I already have. I couldn't find any articles about how to begin fixing the mess I am already in. I have a 12 yo neutered Lab/Pit Bull, a 6 yo spayed Pit Bull, and a 3 yo spayed Carolina Dog. 99% of the time, we are a well-functioning pack, but the Carolina Dog and Pit Bull have had a few altercations and the last has made me fear for my Carolina Dog's life. Now mind you, the Carolina Dog is instigating the altercations. I could write for hours explaining her strange behaviors and how friendly my PB is, etc but I know you have heard it all. I am willing to follow your instructions to the letter, but I want to make sure I am starting on the right step with an existing pack.

But a bit of background, the Labrabull has been through obedience training and achieved CGC, but I have been lazy in keeping him tuned up. The PB was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 8 months. She went to basic obedience, but we discontinued obedience drills/repetition because it seemed painful for her. She is now a spoiled princess, but is still friendly with all people and other dogs, except the CD on rare occasions. The CD is everything a stereotypical CD is. I believe her parents may have been feral. She is still learning how to be a domestic dog but I have to learn to be a better pack leader. I know that I was unprepared for her challenge when we got her, and I regret not doing something sooner, but I am ready to fix this!

A. Dog owners often misunderstand the fact that 3 dogs are a dog pack. Two dogs are not. The pack instincts are dramatically increased with three dogs – especially if they are not well supervised. Problems can and often do come up over a period of time – as dogs mature and test their position in the pack. Remember in the wild – pack leadership develops over time. Often when older dogs weaken younger dogs test them – that's when fights develop. What needs to be said is this is not the case with every 3 dog pack – but you have found that it happens with some. I have a folder full of emails from people who chose to ignore the signs of problems and ended up with a dead dog.

We have house dogs that are never together. Each dog has his own dog crate and they are never out at the same time. This is what needs to happen. This is all covered in Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet DVD (the article is only a small part of the information that's needed).

Our dogs are also well-trained. The CGC is a joke. It has nothing to do with the kind of control required for pack structure issues. When people have behavioral problems like you have – they need to go back to square one and start the training from scratch. Basic Dog Obedience.