“My pug just attempted to bite me! All I did was request him to move over so I could sit on the sofa next to him.”
“My pug went into the garbage bin and when I chastised her, she hissed at me. What’s wrong with her? I thought she loved me!”
“Our pug is quite friendly most of the time but when we attempt to make him do anything he doesn’t want to do, he snaps at us.”
What do these three pugs have in common? Are they unpleasant or simply vicious? No – they’re “alpha”. They’ve taken over the leadership of the families who adore them. Instead of accepting commands from their owners, these dogs are issuing orders! Your pug might love you very much and yet want to control you or other members of your household.
Dogs are sociable animals and believers in social order. A dog’s social structure is a “pack” with a well-defined pecking order. The leader of the pack is the alpha, supreme ruler, Top Dog. He (or she) gets the best of everything – the best meal, the best place to sleep, the nicest toy, etc. The leader also gets to be first in everything – he gets to eat first, to depart first and to receive attention first. All the other dogs in the pack accept the alpha dog’s desires. Any dog who questions the alpha’s authority receives a harsh physical reminder of precisely where his position in the pack truly is.
Your family is your dog’s “pack”. Many canines are able to blend in seamlessly with the lowest levels of the pecking order established by their human group and don’t cause any ripples. They are compliant and do not question those in positions of power. Other canines do not exactly have the same level of compatibility. Some of them are born with inherent leadership abilities and are always testing the limits of their human alphas. Other dogs are known to be social climbers, meaning that they are continually seeking for new methods to move up the family hierarchy and become more dominant. When a family is unaware of their dog’s inherent pack tendencies, it may be difficult to deal with natural pack leaders and social climbers, and these behaviors can become problematic for the family.
There are some families that, unknowingly, give their dogs the impression that they should run the “pack.” They do not see their canine companions as inferiors but rather as peers. They accord them particular privileges such as allowing them to sleep on the sofa or bed instead on the floor. They do not train their dogs and allow them to disregard orders with little to no consequence. In a true dog pack, only the dog that holds the position of alpha would get treated like way. The concept of alpha has nothing to do with size at all. Even the smallest Chihuahua has the potential to become Adolf Hitler in dog form. In point of fact, the smaller the dog, the more likely it is that people would coddle and pamper it, which will result in the dog feeling even more powerful and in charge of his human companions.
Alpha dogs frequently appear to make terrific pets. They have a high self-esteem, are more intelligent than the ordinary person, and are loving. They may be excellent with youngsters and pleasant to talk to complete strangers. The relationship seems like it’s going fine so far, but then someone messes with him or forces him to do something he doesn’t want to do, and everything falls apart. Then, all of a sudden, this great dog growls or attempts to bite someone, and no one is able to figure out why.
In a true dog pack, the dog who holds the position of alpha does not have to justify himself to anybody. Nobody instructs him or tells him what to do, and he decides everything on his own. His status among the pack is respected by the other canines. If another dog is brazen enough to confront the alpha dog by attempting to grab his bone or his preferred resting location, the alpha dog will immediately put the other dog in his place by giving him a harsh glare or a growl. In the event that this strategy is unsuccessful, the dominant dog will use his teeth to assert his authority. Within the context of a dog’s environment, this is perfectly normal and instinctual behavior. However, this kind of conduct is not appropriate and may even be harmful in a human family.
Dogs both need and want to have leaders. They feel compelled to conform to the social structure of the pack. They desire the comfort that comes with being aware of where they are in the hierarchy and what is expected of them. The majority of them do not want to take on the role of alpha; rather, they would like for someone else to take charge and make all of the important choices. If his human caretakers are unable to give the necessary leadership, the dog will take it upon himself to do so. If you have given your dog the authority to rule the pack, you are at his whim and, depending on what kind of leader he is, he may be either kind or cruel to you!
If you believe your dog is the dominant member of the family, it’s likely because he is. You still have a problem even if your dog respects just one or two members of the household but controls the others. Your human family’s pack order should be structured such that the dog is at the very bottom of the hierarchy, not at the very top or somewhere in the middle.
In order for your family to restore their proper position as leaders of the pack, your dog has to be taught how to behave appropriately as a submissive rather than an equal. You are going to demonstrate to him once again what it means to be a dog. Your dog’s mother instilled in him a healthy regard for her at an early age by demonstrating to him that she was the dominant member of the pack. He was guaranteed a safe and secure position in the pack of his litter when he was a little pup, and as a result, he was able to devote his attention to developing normally, gaining new skills, enjoying himself, and just doing what dogs do best: being dogs. Your dog is not particularly interested in taking on the responsibilities that come with being the alpha, such as having to make choices and protect his place at the top of the pack. He yearns for a master to bow down to and revere so that he might return to his former state of being a simple canine.
How to become leader of your pack:
Your dog never stops watching you and is able to interpret your posture and facial expressions. He is aware of whether you are insecure, if you feel uneasy in a leadership capacity, or whether you will not enforce a directive. This conduct confounds him, causes him to feel uneasy, and if he is the kind of guy who thrives on social climbing, it will push him to take the role of the alpha and tell you what to do.
“Alpha” refers to a mentality. It requires a level head, a sense of dignity, an intelligent demeanor, and an air of authority. Because this is the manner in which the dog’s mother interacted with him, the dog can almost instantly detect this attitude. Observe a competent obedience teacher or a qualified professional trainer. They portray the concept that they are able to obtain what they want by standing tall and using their voices and eyes to communicate their confidence. They are kind but resolute, compassionate yet unyielding; in a word, they are balanced. The vast majority of dogs automatically assume a submissive position when confronted with this sort of personality because they are able to identify and accept dominant behavior when they encounter it.
Exercise your ability to lead. Maintain an upright posture with your shoulders pulled back. Walk tall. Get some practice adopting a different vocal tone, one that is deep and authoritative. Tell your dog what you want him to do rather than asking him to do it. There is a distinction to be made. Additionally, he is aware of the distinction! Keep in mind that as the alpha, it is your responsibility to establish the rules and issue the commands. That is something that comes naturally to your dog’s understanding.
For the vast majority of canines, all that is required to turn things around is a shift in perspective on your part and participation in an obedience training program. You won’t be able to establish yourself as the pack leader just by deciding to do so if your dog has already established himself as the dominant member of the home, has asserted his dominance by growling or biting, and been permitted to get away with it. This is the dog.
going to need a shift of perspective on your part as well.
People that are born to take charge and socially ascend the ranks are not going to willingly cede their alpha status. They are going to be startled and intimidated by the abrupt shift in your conduct. It’s possible that your dog may behave even more belligerently than previously. Challenges to the authority of an alpha dog will compel the animal to react instinctively. It is in his character to seek the suppression of revolutionary movements among the peasants. Don’t be concerned; there is a method to avoid it.
Because an alpha dog is already aware that he can win a physical confrontation with you, responding to his hostility with violence of your own is not going to be effective. Corrections such as beating, shaking, or employing the “roll over” tactics outlined in certain publications will not work until you have effectively established your place as the alpha, and they may be downright hazardous for you to try. These tactics will elicit a violent response from a dominant dog, and you put yourself in danger of suffering catastrophic injuries.
What you need to do is make advantage of your mental capacity. You are more intelligent than he is, and you have the ability to outthink him. You’ll also need to have more tenacity than he has in order to succeed. Your dog should be placed back at the bottom of the family totem pole, where he belongs and where he needs to be, and I’m going to reveal an effective, non-violent approach for doing so. This method will remove your dog’s alpha position and put him back where he belongs and where he needs to be. Everyone in your household has to be on board with this strategy for it to be successful. It necessitates a shift in mentality on everyone’s part as well as a different strategy for interacting with your dog.
This is a really important matter. Regardless of how much you love your dog, if he attacks people or threatens their safety, he is a dangerous dog. Remember that our culture does not condone the ownership of hazardous dogs in any form, therefore if the idea of treating your dog as a dog rather than an equal sounds cruel to you, bear in mind that our society no longer tolerates harmful dogs. If someone is injured by your dog, you might potentially lose your house and everything else you possess if they file a lawsuit against you. These lawsuits are now settling for millions of dollars. You or your children run the risk of suffering lasting disfigurement. And there’s always the risk that your dog may pass away. That is the crux of the matter.
Canine Boot Camp for Alpha Attitude Adjustment
You have decided that today is the first day that you are going to educate your dog that he is a dog, and not a little human person dressed up in fuzzy clothing. Once upon a time, his mother instructed him on how to behave like a dog and how to obey commands. Along the road, he forgets, either due to a lack of training or because his goals were misconstrued. He is going to recall who he is and where he belongs in the world with the assistance of people like you. It won’t be long before he starts to appreciate it.
Dogs have been raised to be dependent on their human masters for food, companionship, and leadership. In order to get what he wants, an alpha dog does not bother to beg for it; rather, he just demands it. He makes it quite clear to you that he wants his meal, that he wants to go out, that he wants to play and be caressed, and that he wants all of these things “right now.” You are going to educate him that from this point on, he is going to be responsible for “earning” what he receives. There will be no more free rides. This is going to be a rude awakening for him at first, but you’re going to be astonished at how fast he’ll get used to it, and he’ll really become eager to do what he can to make you happy.
Teach your dog the straightforward command “Sit” if he is not already familiar with it. Praise him and give him something to nibble on as a reward. Be careful not to heap unwarranted praise on someone. It is sufficient to only exclaim “Good guy!” in an upbeat tone. Now, if your dog wants anything – his food, a trip outside, a stroll, some attention, anything – tell him (remember, don’t ask him, -tell- him) to SIT first. This should be done regardless of whether your dog wants his dinner, a trip outside, a walk, some attention, or anything else. When he does so, you should congratulate him by telling him “Good Boy!” and then you should tell him it’s OKAY and give him whatever it is that he wants as a reward. If he is unwilling to SIT, you should leave the room and ignore him. Without SIT, there is no reward. If you do not believe that he understands the command, you should continue to work on his training. Ignore him if he just does not want to comply, and DON’T give him what he wants or reward him in any way if he continues to disobey.
Make him sit before providing him with his meal, make him sit by the door before allowing him to go outdoors, make him sit in front of you so that he may be caressed, and make him sit before providing him with his toy. Stop leaving food out for him all the time if that’s how you regularly do it. You should switch to a twice-daily feeding schedule, and you should choose the times of day during which he will be fed. Insist that he take a seat for his meal. There will be no food for him if he refuses to accept the instruction. Turn your back on him and walk away. Bring the food out a little later, and when he asks, remind him to SIT. If he already comprehends the instruction, there is no need to repeat it to him. The first time he heard you, he was attentive. Deliver orders while standing up and speaking in a tone of voice that is low and commanding.
If there are certain members of the family who the dog respects more than others, it’s best to allow those other individuals be in charge of giving him food and other positive reinforcements for the time being. Demonstrate to them how to get him to follow the SIT instruction and how to walk away and ignore him if he refuses to do as he is instructed in the event that he does not comply. It is essential that every member of your family participates in this program. Dogs are similar to children in that if they can’t get their way with Mom, they’ll go to Dad for approval instead. If your dog discovers a member of the family whom he can control, you may expect him to continue to exert his dominance over that person. You want to instill in your dog the understanding that he owes everyone, including himself, respect and obedience. Keep in mind that he has the lowest possible position on the totem pole. It is helpful to remove him from the top position, but if he continues to believe that he is somewhere in the center, you will still have troubles.
Consider the fact that you are familiar with your dog and are aware of the actions that he is most likely to do in the majority of situations. Keep one step ahead of him and try to predict his behavior so that you can steer clear of it or make adjustments to it. If he gets into the garbage and reacts negatively when he is reprimanded, you should make the trash can difficult to reach. Put a leash on him if he has a tendency to run ahead of you when you open the door. Instruct him to take a seat and wait there while you open the door and provide the OK signal for him to leave the room. Do not let your alpha dog to go outdoors without a leash if he does not want to come when he is called (this is likely the case!). If you don’t have a leash, you have no control over him, and he is well aware of this fact.
Alpha dogs are used to having their needs catered to in terms of petting and attention. In a true dog pack, the lower-ranking dogs are always nuzzling, licking, and grooming the dominant dog, who is known as the alpha dog. It’s a sign of deference and surrender on your part. Reduce the amount of time spent snuggling with your dog for the time being, at least until his demeanor shows signs of rehabilitation. When he seeks attention, you should first make him SIT, then speak a few sweet words to him and pet him, and then you should cease. Get back to whatever it was that you were doing and completely disregard what he has to say. If he continues to bother you, calmly but firmly tell him “No,” and then ignore him even more. Pet him just when you feel like it, and not because he is begging you to. Petting your dog shouldn’t need you to go on your knees or get down on the ground for the time being. This is another sign of surrender on your part. Praise, caressing, and prizes should be given to the dog when you are positioned higher than the dog.
Stop playing any games with your dog that include wrestling, roughhousing, or tug of war. This includes all members of your family. These activities teach canines to physically control their human companions and to utilize their fangs. In a dog pack or litter, these activities have a purpose beyond simple entertainment; rather, they contribute to the establishment of pack order according to the dogs’ relative levels of physical prowess. It’s likely that your dog is already more powerful and more agile than you are. Games that are rough and physical convince him of this. It is unnecessary to bring it to his attention!
Discover some new games that he can play. It would be more acceptable to play hide and seek, fetch, or catch a Frisbee. Be sure that you, and not the dog, are the one who initiates and concludes the game. Put an end to the game before the dog becomes uninterested and is more likely to attempt to hoard the ball or the Frisbee.
Where does your dog sleep? Absolutely not in your bedroom, and above all else, not on your bed! Your bedroom is an important space since it serves as your “den.” Because an alpha dog views himself on par with you, he believes he has the right to snooze in your den whenever he pleases. On point of fact, he may have already made himself at home in your bed, refusing to get off even when urged to do so and snarling and snapping at anybody who asks him to move so that humans may use it. The bedroom need to be off-limits until such time as your dog’s dominance issues are brought under complete control! The same rule applies to dozing off on couches or chairs. If you can’t keep him off the sofa without a fight, then you should prevent him from entering the room until such time as his behavior and training have changed.
Crate training: There are a thousand different applications for dog cages, and one of them is training an alpha dog. Your dog will find it to be an ideal location in which to sleep soundly at night, to eat, and just to hang out in when he wants to relax and be reminded that he is a canine. Your dog will refer to its crate as its “den.” Begin the process of crate training him by giving him his meal inside the crate. After you’ve finished talking to him, close the door and make him wait there for an hour. Ignore him if he throws a fit under any circumstance. Do not release your dog from his cage until you hear that he is calm and content. Show him an attractive treat before night, tell him to SIT, and as soon as he complies, put the treat in his kennel. He won’t be able to resist it! As soon as he begins to reach for the treat, you should congratulate him on being such a good boy and then shut the door.
Graduating from Boot Camp: What’s next?
Boot camp, much like basic training in the military, is basically simply an introduction to a new line of work and a different manner of doing things. There is no guarantee that sending your alpha dog to obedience school will resolve all of his or her issues permanently. There is no need to resort to physical force in order to achieve the desired result of gaining fundamental respect from a dog that has been intimidating you by using this method.
How long should the period of boot camp continue? That is dependent upon the canine. Some may exhibit an improvement almost immediately, while others may take a much longer amount of time. Alpha Dog Boot Camp will become a way of life for people who are very tough cookies, natural leaders who need frequent reminders of their status in the pack, and other people like that. If you relax your standards and inadvertently allow social climbers to go back up a notch or two in the order of the family pack, social climbers may need repeated excursions to boot camp.
How can you tell whether the change you’re trying to make is really happening? Your dog should start looking to you for guidance and permission if the boot camp training was effective. He will demonstrate a willingness to do what is asked of him. Observe the manner in which your dog approaches you and greets you. Does he approach you “standing tall,” with his head, ears, and body held high and in an upright position? It may give the impression of being proud and impressive, but it really indicates that he is still the alpha, which implies you still have issues! When a dog recognizes that people have more knowledge or experience than them, he will approach you with his head slightly bowed and his ears retracted or positioned to the side. As a gesture of surrender, he will “shrink” his whole body just a little bit. Observe the manner in which he shakes hands with each member of the family. If he adopts a subservient stance toward some of them, but not others, then the latter group is the one that has some more work to do on developing their own authoritative demeanor and strategies. They should put him through another round of training at the military academy, this time with the assistance of the rest of the family.
After your dog has shown signs of beginning to adjust to this new way of life and his new role in the family, you should enroll him in an obedience class taught by a trained professional as soon as possible. All dogs, including alpha dogs, need to be trained, but alpha dogs require training the most. It is not necessary to wait until he has finished boot camp before beginning this training; nonetheless, it is essential that he respects at least one member of the family and is prepared to accept direction from them.
You will learn how to train your dog via attending obedience class. It teaches you how to be the alpha, how to enforce directives and regulations, how to acquire respect and how to maintain that respect over time. Attendance at the lesson is required of all members of the household who are mature enough to comprehend the material and exercise control over the canine.
Training in obedience is a process that continues throughout one’s life. A dog is not considered trained after completing only one obedience course. It is necessary to put obedience directives into practice and make them a part of one’s regular routine. In a dog pack, the animal that holds the position of alpha utilizes intermittent reminders to reassert his dominance. Certain commands, such as “down” and “stay,” are particularly useful, non-aggressive reminders of a dog’s position in the family pack order and of who is in fact in charge of this situation.
A well-trained obedient dog is a happy dog and a joy to live with. Dogs have a strong desire to please their owners and require mental stimulation. They are able to participate in both because to their training. A dog with proper training enjoys more independence. Because he understands how to behave, he is able to accompany you to more locations and participate in more activities. A relaxed and assured canine is indicative of a dog who has received enough training and knows his position within the family group. He is aware of the standards that have been set for him. He is aware of his limitations and the leaders of his team. He is relieved of the need to govern the home and make choices on its affairs. He is at liberty to serve as our loving partner rather than as your superior. He is no longer restricted from being a dog, which is what he was destined to be and what he has always desired to be in the first place.
When You Need Professional Help:
Before beginning Canine Boot Camp, you should discuss your situation with a certified professional dog trainer or behaviorist if your dog has ever harmed you or someone else, or if you are terrified of your dog. Your dog should also be examined by your veterinarian to rule out the possibility that his behavior is caused by any underlying medical conditions.
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