Alpha dog training is not nearly as complicated as it might seem on the surface. Dogs are just like other pack animals in that they recognize one leader…one alpha dog…in their existence. In the wild, pack animals have very clear delineations about who is in charge. These lines are rarely challenged and if they are, it is a hostile takeover of sorts. Dogs need to know that you are the pack leader and your other family members are alpha pups. Here are some tips to make sure your dog sees you as the alpha leader from the time he or she is a puppy.
Tips for Alpha Dog Training
Always enter a room first
This small thing can pay large dividends. Demand that your puppy defer to you when it comes to moving around. This works hand in hand with leash training and will quickly teach your dog to follow your lead. Even walking into a room can send a good message to the dog that they must wait and follow you. If you have to, use the leash to prevent them from entering first (carefully) and walk inside ahead of them.
Spend lots of time with your dog
The absolute best way to establish yourself as alpha dog is to spend lots of time with them. Over time, that dominance will naturally progress and show. Everything from playing in a position of dominance to rubbing them while they are prostrate on the ground shows that they can trust you as leader. That trust is the key to alpha dog training.
Understand the messages
If your dog growls at you when you or others approach their bowl, they are showing dominance. In the wild, the alpha animal always eats first. Then others eat when they are done. The dog growling is a sign of aggression and challenge. It can elevate to biting if you are not careful so you need to stop this behavior right away….the first time you see it. Send that message by taking away their food when they do this and saying a sharp “no” to the dog. Do not return the food until they stop. If the growling happens again, do the same thing. Eventually they will get the point…you are in charge and you will not be challenged.
Understand that dogs are simply doing what is in their nature
Many dog owners take it personally when a dog tries to defy them but it is only natural behavior for them. Dogs are just like any other pack animal in that they are only as strong as the leader. That means that the leader has to be challenged on occasion to show they are still capable and dominant. If you feel as though your dog is challenging you all the time, you likely need to work with a pro at getting that behavior taken care of. If your dog ever decides that he or she is the real alpha dog instead of you, you can have a real problem on your hands.
It is also important for the other members of your family, including the children, establish a daily routine as well. Although they are not the pack leader, they should assume higher hierarchical positions than your dog. Have each of them separately command the dog to “sit,” and “stay.” A treat, such as a biscuit or bully stick, should then be given if the dog complies. Soon, your dog will feel comfortable with its position in the household and respond to the commands given.
If your dog growls, snaps, or is otherwise behaving resentful and you are afraid, seek professional help. Otherwise the dog’s behavior can get out of hand, and may force you to make the regrettable decision of giving it up.
Follow the steps listed above and it’ll hopefully never come to this.