Taming an Alpha Dog

An Alpha Dog is a dog that thinks he is the boss. You need to teach him that the opposite is true.  As alpha dogs are very sensitive to body language, using your body language is the best way to train them. If you are displaying body behaviors that confuse him then he is not going to be able to read your ,position, and decide that you incompetent. He will then try and take over your position as master.  Oddly, many behaviorists believe that most dogs actually dislike the position of alpha dog, but take it on as a necessity when they see you being weak.  Most dogs would prefer to be a dog lower on the social rung where life is more secure, well defined and easier.   So part of your dog’s aggression might be due to the fact that he is irritable at having to take on the task of doing your job as the master.  To get your dog to respect you, you are going to adopt body language that will impress him. You need to have a confident posture, a dignity and a calm. This is why emotionally ill, mentally ill or people with addictions often end up with an alpha dog The dog picks up on the addict or mentally ill person’s insecurity, inconsistency and inability to communication. Dogs can sense such problems as low self-esteem and will ignore the commands of someone who is uncooperative.  If you need your dog to be submissive, (but not too submissive) you need to have good posture and the ability to make meaningful eye contact with the animal.   You should speak to him in a normal voice and never lose your temper. You should never stoop to use baby talk or your dog will never learn. You should also never beg your dog to do something. Dogs respect personalities that are a bit tough but still calm in tone.  With most dogs, just this change in your attitude and an obedience course will be enough to train an alpha dog. However if the dog has already been allowed to get away with growling or biting, then he might not give up his alpha position that easy. Usually your assertion that you are the leader of the pack can cause your dog to act more aggressively then before. This is where you might need a trainer.  If you decide to train the dog yourself, keep in mind that you are the same owner who trained your dog to be the alpha dog in the first place.   Don’t try the same thing twice and then expecting a different outcome. If your dog is jumping, biting or snapping and snarling at strangers your first responsibility is to put a muzzle on the dog until you figure out what the problem is. Also you must always keep the dog on a leash.    If you own a dog that displays aggression, then take out liability insurance. Your dog is out of control and unpredictable.

Dogs and Companionship

Choosing a new pet so that your other pet will have some company while you are at work is a fantastic idea. Just keep in mind that your costs of owning a pet will be double , including food and veterinarian bills.

Of course it is important to choose dogs that are peaceful and make easy friends with other dogs. It would be a bad idea to combine a Yorkshire Terrier with a Rottweiller for example, as the Rottie may perceive it as food. You are much better off to pair that Yorkie with a Dachshund who is very sociable with other animals. However just because an animal is small does not mean it is more sociable. Jack Russell Terriers have been known to kill other pets simply because they are jealous of the attention they are getting from the owner.

There are some dogs that are hard wired to see smaller furry creatures such as cats as prey

Watchdogs and guard dogs do not necessarily make the best pets. For one thing, the instincts that make them such good guardians are the same ones that compel them to attack strangers or even a member of your family who may accidentally come too close to you.

The best guardians are usually the dogs that qualify as alpha dogs. They respond well to training but untrained they can attack loved ones and strangers, make a shambles of your house and yard and incur lawsuits for noise, injuries and damage to other people’s property.

Guard dogs and watchdogs usually comprise the larger breeds such as German shepherds, Bull Mastiffs and Akitas. This means that they can easily overpower a small animal or child. Most of them also tend to shed quite heavily and do not make great house residents.

Some smaller dogs such as Maltese, Daschunds and Yorkshire Terriers do make keen watchdogs but they are not really capable of defending you in case of an attack. In fact some little watchdogs, such as the Pomeranian are more likely to sound the alert and then make friends with the intruder.

The key is to choose the dog according to what you need as security. As a rule of thumb the larger and more ,alpha, the dog is the better he will be at protecting your person and your property. The smaller the dog the more likely he is to sound the alert not only when real threats appear but also when he perceives just about anyone approaching you or your yard. Some animal owners find this tendency for small dogs to bark at the drop of a hat to be very irritating (and so do the neighbors.)

Owning a pet requires self-discipline and responsibility. Unfortunately many people adopt athletic larger dogs that need plenty of exercise and then drop the dog’s walking schedule as easily as they do the latest fad diet. If you are going to adopt a dog of a breed that requires plenty of exercise then make sure you are ready to commit to walking it at least three times a day for the span of its entire life.