Dominant Dog Behavior
Common mistakes we make that promote alpha behavior in our dogs
Is your dog showing dominant traits? I have had dogs my entire life and did not realize that simple errors can cause alpha behavior. Although this is a natural instinct for a dog, most don’t have a desire to be the alpha dog. If you have also made mistakes, it's not to late to make slight changes and get into good habits to become the pack leader. First ask yourself what you would want in a good boss? Most likely consistent guidelines and rules that would make for a pleasant environment were you would feel valued and be able to excel to your full potential.
A good boss would make clear consistent rules. Do not leave dog food down, It is important that you establish leadership, you let the dog know that he does not get to choose when to eat. Also after sitting down the dog dish make him wait to eat until you say “eat”. Setting up a regular feeding schedule according to your availability will also help when house breaking. Although not always practical it is best if you eat first. This sends a loud message in dog language, that you are the alpha dog that always eats first. Do not share with the dog any of your dinner, inviting him to be included in your alpha meal.
A boss that has the best interest of both; the company he works for and his employees would never yell. Likewise do not yell at your dog, use a calm controlled voice. Only use clear concise one word commands. Do not only correct him some of the time. Be consistent and correct bad behavior immediately every time, otherwise you are letting him know that this behavior is acceptable. Immediate correction does not leave the dog confused as to what he has done wrong.
Employee's tend to test the boundaries and attempt to redefine them. To avoid complete chaos and provide a functional, pleasant work environment is the reason bosses are necessary. If you are holding a dog that is squirming to get down do not let him test the boundaries, only let him down after he has stopped wiggling.
A respectable boss does not tiptoe around or mislead employees to think they are in charge. Do not walk around a dog that is laying in your way, the alpha male would never do this, either step over the dog or have him move.
A great boss never acts like he is just one of the guys or sends employees mixed messages. Dogs have the understanding that a dominate dog, the alpha, literally stands on a higher level to watch out over his domain. Due to this you should not lay on the floor with the dog to watch television or to wrestle. You need to sit at a higher level, furniture is the perfect example of higher ground. Even if you intend to allow your dog to access the furniture, do not let him jump onto it at will. You may invite the dog up by patting your hand against the couch and calling his name. This makes it clear who is looking out for the domain. Do make the dog a place of his own on the floor and introduce him to it.
A good boss does not tease his employees or get into personal competitions with them. Do not play tug-a-war with your dog as he will consider this as a challenge. Also do not look your dog directly in the eyes as this is also considered a challenge. Which ever of you blinks or looks away first leaves the other is in charge.
A good boss will make certain that you are trained with all the skills that you need to be a vital asset to the company. Your dog may also need to be taught some new tricks! Because it is the quickest and most effective ways to establish pecking order and respect from your canine friend he may need to be taught to be walked properly. The leader of the pack always walks in front. This is an important detail to discuss with your children. They can not let the dog walk a step ahead of them. Walking ahead of the child leads the dog to believe he is dominate to human children. In extreme cases this can lend to danger. Also a dog should never walk through a door before you, this tells him he is in charge. Another way to enable dominant behavior is to allow your dog to jump up on people. This again is dominate behavior.
A boss has everyone working together as a team. Be a good boss and have the entire team agree on command words, “ Come" "no" "sit" "stay" "drop" "quiet" "enough", this will spare confusion for the dog.
Traits that show alpha behavior: Stubbornness, Insistent, Pushy, Begging, the dog pushes toys at you wanting you to play, Scratches and nudged against your hand tying to get you to pet them, Climbs onto things to elevate himself and looks down on everything, Protective of humans from other people and dogs aapproaching. This may merely seem like guarding but in essence it's actually showing ownership. Your dog believe he owns you, Barking at humans. High-pitched whining not wanting to obey, Jumping onto people with their paws. Nips at people that are trying to leave because the dog has not given them permission to go. Dog acts like he owns a particular piece of furniture, Forces his way through doorways going before humans. Insists on walking in front of humans while on a leash. Forces his way through doorways in advance of humans. Ignores commands that he knows. Does not want people touching his food. Walks proudly with his head held high, Walks on humans feet and insists on being on top. Standing proud on a human lap, wants to sleep on the bed in your spot, grumpy if his sleep is disturbed.
If your dog exhibits extreme alpha traits, or he causes you fear, you may need the help of a trainer. Even if not, training can always benefit a dog.