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Dominant Dog Behavior

Updated on June 26, 2012
Maggie climbing high exhibiting alpha behavior insisting on being in the picture
Maggie climbing high exhibiting alpha behavior insisting on being in the picture | Source

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.




Pat in the pond
Pat in the pond | Source
Regan fishing with pat
Regan fishing with pat | Source

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    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 4 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Given the right circumstances,all canines seem to exhibit 'Alpha' type behaviour,as all dogs ,from the 'Great Dane',to the 'Chihuahua',are generally thought to be descended from the wolf.Fortunately,they are not like us humans,who can be passively aggressive in order to get their ownway :)

      An interesting Hub.

      Yours Sincerely,

      Romeo's Quill

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

      There is nothing worse than a pushy dog, especially a large one. But with proper training, there is nothing more wonderful than a well behaved dog. My sister has a chocolate lab "puppy" who is an obvious alpha female. At 7 months, she is in need of training. I must get her to read this one!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      East Texas Girl: Yes I have one also and they really love power. They often stand their own with even big dogs. They are hound dogs bred for hunting! Not the typical lap dog!

    • East Texas Girl profile image

      Shana 5 years ago from East Texas

      This is a very interesting read. The Dachshund up the tree is very cute. Dachshunds can be so headstrong. We have a new one and she keeps insisting on putting her head higher than my husband's in his chair. I have never seen a female as dominant as she is trying to be.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      ssiddhanta Thank you and I will share for you in return.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Petfriends thank you so much!

    • Petfriends profile image

      Petfriends 5 years ago from New England Area

      Nice analogy. I enjoyed reading this and will watch for some of this behavior in myself with my dog and in the office as well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Amber Allen: Thank you so much!

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 5 years ago

      Like many others I like the analogies you make between a dog owner and a boss. I think this hub should be required reading for employers as well as dog owners!!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      rajan jolly: You are such a great writer that a compliment means a lot from you! Also I am off to share for you also!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Angela, this is an awesomely useful guide to check a dog's behaviour and thanks for sharing such wealth of info.

      Voted all ends up. Shared it all over.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      moonfairy: Good luck he does sound like her may benefit from this.

      Victoria Lynn: Thanks and I will stop and share for you also.

      910chris: Most of us don't. I only recently learned.

      LetitiaFT: Yes it does sound like he was confused on who the alpha was

      WhydThatHappen: What people often do not know is that dachshunds are hound dogs. They were bred to hunt badgers. Much different than many lap dogs.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Ron Hawkster:Thank you for the comment and also for the information!

    • Ron Hawkster profile image

      Ron Hawkster 5 years ago from United States of America

      I just noticed this most excellent hub. Great points. Right on the nose. The highlights are that the dog has to learn who the boss is, and the boss does bossy things. The best bosses, of course, are kind too, but they are strong and decisive. The great majority of dogs long for a strong boss. Some of them are naturally bossy themselves and don't take leadership well. Nevertheless, an owner invites trouble when they are a weak boss. People don't realize how much of interpersonal relationship is involved between a dog and its master. They don't realize that dogs will take some of your actions (which you aptly highlight as mistakes) as being weak and indecisive, and they naturally rise up to fill the leadership gap themselves. In short: if you are not the boss I'll be the boss.

      The other important factor is that dogs are excellent readers of body posture. In fact, overall they react more to body posture than voice alone. People think dogs are reading their mind and brag about it. NO! They're reading your BODY POSTURE, and your body posture often is consistent with your mood. Your slouching posture, your walking meekly, your lack of projection of power, your making your profile small, your lack of eye contact, none of that goes unnoticed.

      Good hub. All dog owners, read this hub.

    • moonfairy profile image

      moonfairy 5 years ago

      interesting hub. Our golden retriever does just about everything that you mentioned....My husband owned him first and I was last into the picture, so the two bachelors were quite a pair and the dog had my husband wrapped around his paw!! I'm still trying to teach Zack some manners but find that he's incredibly stubborn and only listens when he wants to, most of the time. He's our baby but I do agree that there should be rules. He's an 86 pound dog who tugs and leads on walks (I weigh 100)! I constantly stop and tell him to heel, but he insists on walking ahead. And there's been so many times where he's almost knocked me down trying to get in the door first.....I'm still trying but I'm up against my husband, and with him, it's all just fine...so there's a lot of confusion as far as the dog goes.

      I have made some progress but it's slow going, so wish me luck!!!

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 5 years ago from Paris via California

      This is interesting. I have a friend who lost a new boyfriend when her dog, a male, wouldnot stop mounting her sweetheart's dog, also a male! I think she could have used this advice!

    • profile image

      WhydThatHappen 5 years ago

      My mini dachshund has alpha issues, lol. Thanks for sharing this Victoria, I'll pass it along ("on the left hand side")

    • 910chris profile image

      910chris 5 years ago from North Carolina

      First, I would like to say this was a well thought out Hub, with great ideas to take away from it.

      Second, even though I have had dogs for most of my life, I never knew this,"Do not play tug-a-war with your dog as he will consider this as a challenge". I have played this game with every dog I have ever had, but thinking back; I guess I was wrong. Thank you for all the great tips.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I know I've made some mistakes with my little alpha dog. I need to work on some of these tips. He does pretty well until he just really doesn't want to mind (gets distracted by squirrel, barks at neighbor, etc...). Then he acts like a cat. LOL. He has grown up around 5 or so, so maybe he is kind of cat-like. Awesome hub. Many votes and sharing!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Pamela Kinnaird W: Thank you! I will hop over and share an article for you also!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I enjoyed this hub. I'm no expert on dog training, but my daughter is so I'm always hearing how I do things wrong. I'm much too soft on a dog.

      I am not sure if some of this information is from the Dog Whisperer. I do have friends who are really against his methods and they have told me why, but I haven't retained the information very well. These friends do their training differently -- one word commands though like you have said.

      I did see a short video clip on the news one day about the fact that if we are approaching a mean-sounding dog, do not look the dog in the eye.

      Great hub, Angela. Voting up, interesting and Sharing.

    • haggard50 profile image

      haggard50 5 years ago from Florida

      Very good information. I have the feeling lots of dog owners are realizing now that their dog is leading the pack.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      tillsontitan Thank you for always stopping by! My dogs are so far from perfect it is crazy!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Daughter of Maat (my favorite hubber) It willl depend on the dog. Does she display any of the other dominate behaviors; getting on high places, jumping up on people, does she nip at people? You may not want to use all the suggestions at once or it could be to much. The doorway would be enough to handle at once!

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg OSC 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Wow, I didn't know a lot of this!! The way I treat my dog, she probably thinks she's the alpha female!! She's very stubborn, and always pushes through doors. So, I have a question. Do you know if you've had a dog for a couple of years and you suddenly stop allowing her to go through the door first and you essentially start asserting your dominance, will the dog fight it at first? I assume the dog would get confused, and ultimately fight it in the beginning, but I was wondering if you had any experience with this?

      Voted up and Shared everywhere!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Vinaya Ghimire: Thank you!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      As a dog lover, I found this hub very useful and informative. Thanks for sharing your views.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      This was a very good hub. I like the way you use the employer/employee relationship to describe the discipline needed between you and your dog. The more you love your dog the more well behaved you want him to be, not just for your sake but for his.

      We discipline our children to teach them how to behave and surely we love our children, so why not our dogs. When I took my to puppy kindergarten the teacher (a veterinarian) constantly said "keep his floor on the floor and remember he is the dog!" While I remember that, I still love him to pieces....he's my baby.

      Voted this up, useful and interesting.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I certainly do not follow this to a T. I understand exactly what you are saying!

    • Virtual Treasures profile image

      Virtual Treasures 5 years ago from Michigan

      Great tips, Angela. I am guilty of many of the things you say I shouldn't do. My husband always corrects me, but I can't barely look into those sad looking eyes and resist! I at least take the few table scraps I give her and make her eat them outside. My dog is the absolute opposite of alpha, though, so I think I can get away with it a little more. She knows my husband is the alpha, so hopefully I'm not interfering too much!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      agvulpes: Mine are much the same! Thank you so much for your comment!

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 5 years ago from Australia

      G'day Angela and this hub is a great starting point for the new dog owner. I have found that most of the dogs we have owned over the years all looked for a leader and reacted very well to firm and consistent discipline :)

      Shared out :-)

    • profile image

      caribbeanmedskuls 5 years ago

      Oh my! My labrador is a true blooded ALPHAn . Thank you for all the "dont's" . Will immediately apply them. Great hub!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Well thank you Napetv! Just go to my profile and follow whom I have they are great and current followers and will follow you back! GREAT HUBBERS!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Geoff Marova thank you!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      dndwordsmith: I am so happy you find this useful.

      Geoff Morova: Thank you for your comment.

    • Geoff Morova profile image

      Geoff Morova 5 years ago from South Dakota

      Great information. You can't start too soon teaching them their place in the home.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      cyndigreen: Thank you!

    • dndswordsmith profile image

      Nique 5 years ago from Philadelphia County PA

      I'm loving your hub. I have a Pitbull 2 years old, he's very playful and stubborn. The information is very helpful in my case. We are already doing some of the suggestions but your insight has given us more to work with. Great read!! Thank you.

    • profile image

      cyndigreen 5 years ago

      Good sharing and informative.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Oh it its contant trying to keep up with training the dogs. I have to retrain my with any slight change!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Wonderful Hub! I'm a dog lover and have had them all my life. I don't have children and have a dog, so you can just imagine who's the alpha in my home. I was making progress to reverse alpha roles, then my pup became very ill from pancreatitis. I reverted back to mothering. She's doing much better, but I am at square one with training. I will follow your advice to work on regaining my status as pack leader! Thanks!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      We love them but they are like children and want to push us!

    • Oscarlites profile image

      Oscar Jones 5 years ago from Alabama

      My Little rat Terrier is pushy especially in wanting to climp up on my leg if I am writing etc.. I talk to him,and tell him, DOwn! haha.. he keeps coming back.. sometimes I do pet him, but like your article, I try to use the invitation thing.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Leigh Anns page thank you for reading! :)

    • leigh anns page profile image

      leigh anns page 5 years ago from New Jersey

      This article is packed with good information. I knew a few things but learned a lot reading this. I had a couple of dogs years ago and wished I had read this article then! Very interesting and useful.Voted up

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank you! Yes and sometimes their listening can save their live. My little almost 5lb dog decided to run up barking at a Coyote. Being able to retrieve her quickly spared her being lunch!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      An excellent hub, Angela. I have seldom seen something so sensible and clearly written and explained.

      I obviously was doing everything right, because I have agreed with everything you have written. I loathe pushy dogs (and their owners who have made them that way), and have always felt that a dominated dog is a happy dog. She or he knows the parameters.

      It doesn't stop one loving them, just makes them easier to love.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank You Fitness Pro Dee!

    • FitnessProDee profile image

      Dana Gore 5 years ago

      This is a great hub. I like the comparison to how we expect a boss (leader) to behave.

      Shared on Facebook, Twitter, my followers on Hubpages and voted up with plenty of adjectives.

    • profile image

      MyHollyDale 5 years ago

      Hello Angela; you're getting good reactions from a great hub. What I think we all need to understand here is that what you have said isn't a "black and white; sealed in concrete" set of rules to follow and if you don't, you're a bad pet owner. We all have our tolerances of aggressive behavior in our pets but the question is; is the public, in general, going to be as tolerant of them as you. Here is where responsible pet ownership comes into play. I put up with things out of my Labs that, perhaps, some people would never tolerate. My home, my rules. However, when walking my Labs in public and someone politely asks to pet them, I tell them it is okay with the males but I cannot answer for my female. This is because I am tolerant of her "aggressive behavior" in my environment but it, on the whole, may not be tolerated by other people. Now, on the flip side, when someone comes into your home, your dog's den, I feel you should allow your dog to bark at the visitor long enough to say "This is our den. Be aware I am here as I am aware that you are here", then stop the barking, reward the dog with a "Good boy" then a "Go lay down".

      Love and patience go a long way. Peace out.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Opps I mean I neglect to do most also!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I do at most as well. Probably taking my dog through the drive food for a hamburger is equivelant to feeding at the table... LOL

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I think I fail at each point here! lol! especially giving food to the dog from my table! great ideas, and so simple if you know how to do it, nell

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Alocsin than you once again!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank you alocsin!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I don't have a pet atm but these sounds like sensible strategies to use with a dog. I used to have dogs when I was younger but they were no trouble at all. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Peggy my reply button is not working just crazy and I don't know how to fix it! I have seen the ad's for the show and it looks really good I will have to be sure to watch. Yess they have us trained for sure!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      There is a new television show called Dogs in the City which of which I have seen a few episodes. Fascinating! As to training our dogs...they have done a good job of training us. Haha!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Angela... great hub and interesting n the behaviour of our furry friends... each have a different personality.

      Hugs from Canada

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 5 years ago from Spain

      Great hub Angela. I see you are now following me so I´m ditto. Thanks :)

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I have a somewhat dominate male.... or is he just acting like a dude?

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      What a great hub! I have a dominant female, but she loved to please and so that made training a lot easier---

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank you very much... sounds like great doggies!

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Hi Angela, this Hub brought back memories of my Dogs, Burt & Brandy...I felt like I could always read their minds...Brandy was a Belgium Shepard and Burt a Mutt...and the best of Friends. But I'd have to say, Brandy was the leader. Wonderful Hub, girlfriend.

    • CriticalMessage profile image

      Murphy 5 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      *blushes*

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      It means I Know... I read your mind, new exactly what you were talking about!

    • CriticalMessage profile image

      Murphy 5 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      not so good with the acronyms so I do not know what 'lkw' refers to... but I like your laugh anyway... ~smiles~

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Ikw right. LOL

    • CriticalMessage profile image

      Murphy 5 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      WOOF!!, says this this dominant dog.... who happens to be at the top of your followers list... *grins*

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thanks for reading!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      You are welcome!

    • jines86 profile image

      jines86 5 years ago from Hawthorne CA

      thanks for the advice I am a dog lover so good to know

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank you! Always nice to see you on here!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have always stepped around a dog, and I still don't know if I would be brave enough to step over it. Great hub topic and so well covered. Thanks for the good read.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Well you don't have to have leadership qualities but, it helps to understand how the dog thinks.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      I have never realized until today that you got to have certain leadership quality to own a dog. What an eye opener, absolutely interesting hub!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Cute comment... most of the things we just end up working out from neccesity!!! LOL Sounds like you have a great relationship with them.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

      Interesting hub and enjoy the pictures. I guess me and my furry ones go halfway with each other. I do put the food up cause my youngest will eat what the others don't and she has to slim down. She also thinks she's the pack leader, and I keep telling her no one is the boss in the house. But she still gets bossy, it's her way and my way is to take care of them and love them like crazy. Over time, I quit table scraps, my oldest female has allergies. So now I get to eat the table scraps!

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Wow we need to get some funding and follow this... would't that be great... you make such good points about not having to play little tricks because it comes naturally to you. Also I do know they say few dogs are born leaders!

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

      Angela, here is something to think about. i think my Delta made me leader because i am a natural leader. it isn't something i think about or try to be, i just am. it shows in my attitude, personality, character and actions. if you study the alpha canine, the exude a confidence that is easy to see. only other dogs/wolves that have that same confidence in themselves will challenge the leader, the others willingly follow. while Delta was the alpha among our dogs and other dogs, she acknowledged me as her personal alpha. she willingly followed me because she felt secure that i was able to lead. i am a willing follower if the person leading knows what they are doing. i wont follow someone who WANTS to be a leader but has no clue what they are supposed to be doing. in that same way, Delta was willing for me to be leader because she sensed i knew how to lead, if that makes sense, i can't always express myself or my knowledge so it can be understood by others. in teaching your dog to respect you as leader, i think you would have a greater impact if you FELT like the leader. if you feel like a leader you act like one. it has nothing to do with wanting to be dominant or the boss. it is a state of mind and a state of being. a good leader takes care of those who follow them, ensuring they are not put in a place where they can be harmed, ensuring they have the needed food, shelter and affection. a good leader knows when and how to punish or praise, when to comfort and when to have tough love. BE a leader and your dog will naturally follow you. i hope to goodness i made sense in this. =)

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Sounds like you are doing great with the dogs. I have a long way to go with one that got re-homed to me...lol... I am following you and can't wait to see what you write.

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank you for acknowledging that we can set boundaries with dogs, people, everyone and still have a meaningful relationship! :)

    • Angela Brummer profile image
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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      It sounds as though you are doing a great job! I have so many of the issues in the article to work on however really feel that I have only one dog, the male, although he is a sweet heart, loves to behave as he is in charge.

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      MyHollyDale 5 years ago

      Thank you, Angela, for the interesting hub. I'm not too sure on the not looking the dog directly in the eyes as there are times when communication takes place between pet owner and pet through eye contact. It's, also, important to note that one should never approach a dog they do not know with a smile showing teeth. A dog sees this as direct confrontation. As for walking my three labs, I keep them one-half step behind me or right at my side. I feel I'm dominant AND I can keep an eye on them.

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      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Angela I totally agree that in establishing some boundaries in your household you are not depriving your dogs. Yes, Mary, we can still love them. I enjoyed your analogy of the worker and the boss.

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Yes this is interesting information that just touches on the subject. Dogs jumping the fence and coming after people is scary and makes you wonder if the owners didn’t see the dogs dominate behavior getting out of hand. When we hear in news about dogs that attack is it just that the people were irresponsible, didn't know what to do, or where they overwhelmed? Hopefully this information will reach someone that just doesn't know what to do with a dog that is convienced they are an alpha.

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Wow this only make me want to know more. What great information! I think back to all the dogs that my family has loved and I have had and I see the pack instincts in each of them. I only think they are dangerous to few dogs. We should look into this further!!! Your amazing thank you for all your information.

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Hi Angela! This is a fantastic hub! I was just thinking about what I should have done when running last year and a rottweiler jumped the fence and came for me. He stopped thank God! But I remember yelling at him trying to confuse him and continuing with my run. Probably not the right thing to do but he stopped. I guess I need to bookmark this and do my homework. Thanks! Kelley

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      tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

      Angela, i think they do. when looking at the pack structure, adults naturally protect the young, and all members protect their food or territory, so it would make sense that family dogs will turn that protective nature to the humans they care about, because they are their pack. the things humans focus on as important arent the things dogs focus on as important. dogs think in terms of feelings. family is important, territory is important and food is important, and they protect those things that are important to them. on a side note i did not mean to imply that there was no love between YOU and YOUR dogs, i was using YOU and You're in a general term. as in it seemed to me that in your words, there didn't seem to be any room for love between a dog and its owner. i think, in retrospect you were simply focusing on "actions" rather than the feelings that go along with those actions.

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I did look at the link. I appreciate your input! Thank you!

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I tried to tell you I value your opionion.What makes you an authority or me for that matter? Well you are wrong about my love for my dogs look at my pictures do my dogs look unhappy? I would prefer to continue my day on a more positive note. So what you believe is your opinion... lets just agree to disagree I believe this is the healthiest approach.

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      UGH I can't remember what I said and can't see it!

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I completely agree with all you have said I also feed Gunner my male dog a hamburger from McDonalds. If he sees me grab my purse he starts dancing around ready to go. We went through the bank one day her looked at the window and was completely confused that we never were handed food! I wonder if in all packs not just the alpha have protective instincts for the entire pack? The little research that I have done makes me want to explore further! Thank you so much for sharing.

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      tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

      i do not usually post links to my own hubs on anothers hub, but i think you will find this one interesting Angela, and understand why i feel the way i do.

      https://hubpages.com/animals/Using-The-Alpha-Metho...

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank you so much!

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Yes Maggie must be part squirrel and did literally climb into the picture all by herself. You can see my daughter ready to laugh at seeing her!

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thank you so much!

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Hi Mary, I didn't write the article hoping that anyone that had a good relationship with their dog would change be changing what apparently is not broke. Also as you can see in the pictures our dogs go everywhere with us and make it into most of our snapshots. However, In some instances, some born alpha’s really needed some order shown to them as they bit at their owns and children. Nothing featured in the article is inhuman but can at times with certain dogs be necessary. Also we have heard of dogs family members that have literally killed children or neighbors. Perhaps the dogs were just born with a sever alpha instinct that may have been rectified as a result of demonstrating the non-aggressive methods mentioned and everyone would have faired better in the end. Thank you for bringing up that not everything mentioned is necessary for every dog.

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      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      You are so welcome! Have a great day!