Who’s The Boss In Your House?
Does Your Dog See You As The Alpha? If not, learn how to establish your dominance and take the “top dog” position in your pack.
All Alpha’s demand respect and with that respect, they have the complete attention and appreciation of all pack members. The pack members do as they are told and learn what behavior is acceptable and is not acceptable through the guidance of the pack leader. Teaching your dog that YOU are the alpha in your pack will give you control of your pet, his total respect, and make life easier for both of you.
If you have a new puppy, establishing dominance will be easier than if you have an older dog that has established bad habits. No matter which you have, it’s imperative that you move up the ranks so you can stop bad behaviors and have your dog’s full attention.
A dog that knows his place in his human pack is a happy dog! He’s less likely to be destructive and more likely to respect your belongings (shoes, food, etc.)
How To Establish Your Alpha Position
1. Take your dog on walks! Not just any walk but a “pack” type of walk. In this type of walk, the dog is expected to heel beside OR behind the pack leader who is in control with a lead. This is very important to a dog because in the dog world, the pack leader always goes first. Never allow the dog to walk ahead of you as you’re telling him that it’s okay for him to lead the pack.
2. Always walk through doors and up stairs before the dog. Again, you are teaching your dog that YOU lead the pack. Do not let your dog enter doors or stairs before you. Ideally, it is helpful to establish this ritual by teaching your dog to “sit” at doorways or stairs before being allowed to enter where you can go ahead of the dog and call him when it’s okay for him to follow. Teaching the dog to “sit” at doorways can also help reduce jumping on visitors.
3. The pack leader eats before the pack. Do not feed table scraps during a meal. If you want to feed scraps, do it once you’re finished eating.
4. Any obedience command should be given before any pleasurable experience so your dog knows he should work for his attention, treat, or anything else. Simply ask your dog to “sit” before offering the reward of petting. He will know that he needs to obey your requests in order to be rewarded because you are the boss. No treat should be given until the dog obeys your command. Each treat must be earned, there are never any “freebies”. Ask your dog to “sit” before you put the food or water dish down.
5. Do not lie on the floor and roll around to play with your dog because humans should not put themselves in an equal or lesser height position than the dog. This gives them the opportunity to think they can boss you around and possibly take over the alpha position. You can play on the floor with the dog but you should always be in the higher position and in control.
6. Do not allow the dog to greet a newcomer first. The alpha is the first to greet new people or dogs and then let’s the pack know its safe to meet them.
7. If your dog is lying in your path, make him move. Do not walk around him or step over him. The alpha goes first and takes priority. The alpha always gets the most comfortable or prized position, even if it’s a walking path.
8. A dominate dog sees eye contact as a challenge of his position. Whoever avert’s his gaze loses, in the dog’s mind. If you avert your eyes first, you are enforcing the dog’s higher power. If your dog locks eyes with you, keep his gaze until he looks away.
9. In a perfect alpha scenario, your dog should not sleep in your bed. However, we love our babies and not all of us can skip out on sharing our bed with our pet. In the dog’s world, the most comfortable sleeping spot is reserved for the higher members of the pack. When you allow your dog to sleep in your bed, the dog should be INVITED up and not allowed to push any human out of the way. You must keep your spot as the prized spot, and your dog gets the space you allow him to have.
10. Never allow your puppy to bite, even when playing or teething. It may be cute as a puppy but it isn’t cute at all as they get older and could be dangerous. Teach your pup, right from the start, chewing on humans and their possessions is unacceptable behavior.
11. Any games should be STARTED and ENDED by the human, not the dog. It is strongly discouraged to play tug-o-war with your dog as this is a game of power and you may lose the game, giving the dog the idea that he’s in control and could be top dog.
By incorporating these habits in your daily routines, your dog will realize that you, the human, are alpha and he is beneath you. Obedience exercises and classes are great and very useful, however, obedience training alone does not address pack behavior problems. This is a process that must be established by you, the boss, the “top dog”!