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Interview: Marc Goldberg, Author of ‘Let Dogs Be Dogs’

Note: “5 Question Friday” is a new feature on That Mutt where I interview authors, trainers, veterinarians, bloggers and others who work with dogs. It’s a way to share different opinions and experiences. If you would like to be featured, please email

Dog Trainer Marc Goldberg is the author of the new book “Let Dogs Be Dogs: Canine Nature and Mastering the Art of Living with Your Dog.”

He co-authored the book with Brother Christopher from the “Monks of New Skete.”

The “Monks of New Skete” have supported themselves for four decades by breeding and training dogs from their monastery in Cambridge, N.Y. The monks sold over 1.5 million copies of their past books including “The Art of Raising A Puppy.”

Marc owns a dog training company in Chicago and is the former president of the International Association of Canine Professionals, a group dedicated to the education and support of dog training professionals worldwide.

“Let Dogs Be Dogs” is available on Amazon in hardcover and for the Kindle. Order here.

Here were my five questions for Marc:

Marc Goldberg co-author of Let Dogs Be Dogs

Marc Goldberg and Brother Christopher

That Mutt: What can people expect to learn from your new book?

Marc Goldberg: Pack Leader is a term coined decades ago by the Monks of New Skete.

In the last few years it has become a popular way to describe how people should relate to their dogs. The big problem is that nobody has adequately defined how to be a good pack leader in a compassionate, sensible way.

In “Let Dogs Be Dogs,” we lay out a roadmap … a very thorough and detailed pathway to a happy relationship with your dog.

You’ll learn what your dog really wants from you, why, and exactly how to provide it. In short, you’ll learn how to have the relationship of your dreams.

TM: What is something you believe in that other people think is crazy?

Marc: I believe dogs have souls. And I believe we will be reunited with our beloved companions on the other side.

In a real sense we are their guardians on earth. We are responsible for creating their physical and emotional well-being through good and kind leadership and appropriate forms of love with the right balance of exercise and affection and authority.

But, once gone, I believe they wait for us to guide us and make us feel safe on the other side of life. So basically, I believe that one day I will go to the company of my loved ones and dogs.

TM: What does “Pack Leader” mean to you in dog training?

Marc: A good pack leader is very much like the most inspiring teacher you will remember from school.

The “inspiring teacher” was never the impatient or unpredictable one. In fact she or he set high standards for you yet believed in your potential to accomplish great things. She may not have gushed constant praise, but when you got a word of encouragement you took it to heart because it was deeply meaningful.

Similarly, a good pack leader meets all her dog’s physical and psychological needs while inspiring the dog to comply with the rules of safety and good behavior. This actually grants the dog a great deal of physical liberty and freedom from emotional conflict.

A great Pack Leader knows everything a dog wants and needs, and then trades those resources to the dog in return for the basic elements we humans need.

TM: Do your dogs sleep in your bed?

Marc: At night my dogs own the couch and I sleep with a cat who hogs the covers a lot less than my dogs.

TM: Is there anything you’d like to say to That Mutt’s readers?

Marc: Don’t believe the malarkey that being a Pack Leader to your dog has anything to do with trying to dominate or scare him. It has everything to do with granting him the grace of liberty, safety in this confusing human world into which we have brought him and it also allows for the greatest level of relationship.

A dog who actually wants to please you – – and knows how to do it – – is a dog you can take everywhere with you. And after all, isn’t that what dogs really want?

Thank you, Marc!

If any of you have any questions for Marc, please leave them in the comments.

For more from Marc Goldberg:

Marc Goldberg Let Dogs Be Dogs

More about the book:

Marc’s training site:

More about the monks:

If you would like to be featured in an upcoming “5 Question Friday” post, email

Related posts:

5 questions with author Laura Koerber

Is Pack Leader a naughty word in dog training?

Common dog training advice I’m glad I ignored

Putting in the work: Any dog can be a good dog


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