The fact that dogs descended from wolves, makes it obvious that they share several common traits with their predecessors, including the pack behavior. Therefore, when it comes to their social structure, each pack has a leader who dominates the entire pack, and is referred to as the alpha dog. While the alpha dog demonstrates superb leadership skills, his dominating behavior can become troublesome at times. In such circumstances, it is important for you to step in and correct this behavior, which is best-suited for wilderness―not your home.
Alpha Dog Behavior
If you own a pack of dogs, you must have noticed that a particular dog leads the way and guides, or orders the other members of the pack. This dog which takes the lead is the alpha dog―the most dominating dog of the lot. All the other dogs in the pack follow this leader when it comes to any activity, including eating, moving, sleeping, etc.
Simply put, the alpha dog is the boss who makes all the decisions for the pack. The problem arises when the alpha dog starts considering himself superior to the owner. This dog can turn out to be a serious threat for you as the owner, or your family for that matter, and therefore, it is important to identify the dominant characteristic traits and correct them at the earliest.
Basically, alpha dog psychology is an intricate concept and therefore, you need to handle this situation with utmost care. You need to understand the basic fact that dogs are pack animals and therefore, they need a leader to guide them. If you don't portray yourself as the leader―the 'alpha', some other dog will try to get an upper hand in the pack.
Being the leader doesn't mean you have to be aggressive. The ability of dogs to learn is unquestionable. They can pick the smallest things happening around them with immense ease. If you don't take the reins of leadership into your own hand, they will do it themselves and that can spell trouble for you.
How to Correct this Behavior?
You simply need to make him realize that you are the boss and you make decisions. Given below are some simple measures of dog training that you can resort to in order to correct the dominating behavior in dogs.
- Never tolerate your pet dog growling at you. Growling is the basic sign of dominance that animals demonstrate when they defend their position and territory.
- Never let the dog move out of the door first. It should be your dog following you outside the house; not the other way round.
- Never feed your dog before you eat. The leader always eats first, so should you. You also need to make sure that the dog notices that you are having your food.
- Never let the dog sleep on your couch or bed. Dogs have the tendency of jumping into the couch or bed when you try to sit. Encouraging such behavior would be like encouraging the dog to get an upper hand.
- Never let the dog sit in your lap in the car. Make sure that he sits on a separate seat and buy a seat belt for him if required.
One of the most common mistakes most dog owners do, is to treat the dog like a human being. The rule of the thumb is to treat a dog like a dog. Instead of being over protective, you need to inculcate in him the habit of exploring and living independently. Similarly, we quite often misinterpret the act of the dog pawing us or jumping on us as signs of affection. These actions, mind you, are signs of dominant behavior, and sooner you understand this, the easier it will be for you to bring the dog in control.
Even though it is important to correct alpha dog behavior, not many people understand its significance―especially in the context of their own safety. This, in turn, results in the dog becoming dominant, taking an aggressive stance, and attacking you. Basically, your aim should be to reinforce your position and being violent is not an option.