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.

Breaking Up Dogfights

Dog fights don’t occur if your dog is well trained. This is true even of the so-called alpha breeds with hard-wired instincts. If your dog is so hard wired that you can’t train it then it is not suitable to be a pet.  

If you know your dog is a fighter then you need to take him or her to obedience school. If your dog suddenly turns into a fighter with no prior history of fighting it means that you have lost control of him. A dog that is suddenly irritable like this might also have a physical problem so it may be time to take him to the vet.  

Keep in mind too that dogs don’t have to be vicious to get into fights. A dog that is nervous or submissive can simply irritate other dogs with its presence.   A nervous dog also makes other dogs nervous because it is obvious that you don’t have control of it. This can inspire a strange dog to ,take charge.,  

The reason it is so important for you to get control over an aggressive or nervous dog is because dogfights can be expensive. If he harms another animal or person you could be sued and your dog could be put down.  

However you can’t always prevent two animals from squabbling.   The first rule of thumb — If your dog does start to fight with another dog don’t try to get between the two of them!   They will snarl and bite at anything that gets in the way.   Your own dog could harm you. To put it in a nutshell the fighting dog is not your pet anymore , it is a wolf.  

If you do not want to make the fight worse or get hurt then you might have to stand by and let the fight take its course.   The second rule of thumb to remember , you need two people to do this or you could get hurt.   Your best course of action is to get the owner of the other dog to grab it by the hind legs and pull it away from the fight while you do the same thing. Be prepared to be kicked and scratched in the face while you do this.  

Don’t try to drag the dogs away by their collars, as you will risk getting bit.  If you are near a water source, you can try to throw a pail of water over them or spray them with a hose. The shock of this is usually enough to get the two scrapping dogs to separate. If one dog has his jaws clamped on another’s neck as is often the case with a pit bull then try pouring a glass of hot water into the dog’s mouth to make him release his jaws.

 Unfortunately so often when it comes to dog fights only one winner emerges which is why it is so important to make sure your dog is obedient and well socialized before you take him out for walks.