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Behavior Mod.

Is My Dog an Alpha?

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Naturally, dog packs always have an “alpha” or a pack leader. It is the most dominant member of the group that leads and provides guidance. Some dog trainers and behaviorists today emphasize that with a household dog, the family members have to take over that alpha role. You have to be the leader of the dog pack so as to make him a well-mannered member of the family. Otherwise, your dog may dominate and take over your household.

Signs to Watch Out For

You may have an alpha dog on your hands if your dog displays the following indicators:

1. Preference for Height. An alpha dog in a dog pack tends to sleep on the highest spots all the time as this lets them keep an eye over their territory. At home, you will know that your dog plays the pack leader role if you always see him sleeping on the bed or couch, usually hesitant, or worse, aggressive when made to jump off.

2. Leash Pulling. An alpha dog in a dog pack tends to lead while the rest of the members follow. At home, an alpha dog is likely to pull their owner, dragging them around helplessly, rather than walking nicely alongside.

3. Resource Guarding. Another sign suggesting that your dog might be an alpha is if he shows aggression while he eats a bone or plays with a toy that he finds valuable. You’ll likely hear him growl or try to bite if you, or anyone around you, try to take his food or toy away. Even just stepping too closely toward him can make him aggressive.

4. Staring. An alpha dog in a dog pack likes to stare at another dog to intimidate. At home, he wouldn’t look away if you stare at him in the eyes.

5. Disobedience. Alpha dogs are likely to refuse to obey the commands of their owners. If your dog refuses to lie down then you can say that he must be challenging your authority as his owner seriously. When corrected, he might respond aggressively.

What to Consider

As a responsible dog owner, you have to understand that living with a dog that assumes the alpha role can potentially mean serious trouble. Because alpha dogs can demonstrate aggressive behaviors especially to weak leaders as well as children, then it would be highly recommended that you consult a dog behaviorist as soon as you can. This is to let the expert regain your dog’s alpha status, have him obedience trained well, and finally transform your dog into a calm, submissive, and well-mannered family companion.

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