Whether your fur baby is a small breed like a poodle or as big as a Great Dane, they all have something in common. Whether they seem as sweet as a spoiled rotten princess or an embattled watch dog, they still thrive on the very same pack mentality. Every single dog craves the same thing…they are looking for an alpha dog to lead the way. And if someone doesn’t play their role well, most dogs will quickly begin to act up. With that understood, it is absolutely critical for all dog owners to quickly learn how to become the alpha dog and ensure all is running smoothly in their home.
Remember that a dog is related to the wolf and can only be at peace and calm in his or her environment if there is a clear pack leader. If you are not it, they will be unsettled . Either they will not respect you and will act out accordingly, or, even worse, they will assume the role of alpha on their own. They want order and the pack mentality. If you don’t provide it, then they will replace you as the one in charge. So, unless you want to have your dog own you, rather than owning your dog, here are a few tips to show your puppy that you are the alpha.
First, make sure that your dog understands that they have to earn what they get from you. Just like we work for our wages, they need to do something to “earn” attention, a treat, time on the couch with you, eating or even going for a walk. If they learn that they need to do something first, then they realize that they are following the rules of the pack. Nothing comes for free and they begin to learn their place.
Next, make sure that you do everything first. I know it is tempting, because they are so cute, to give our puppies treats when they want one or to share a sandwich with them. However, the rule of the pack is that the alpha dog ALWAYS eats first. No exceptions. Ever. The beta dog and the others in the pack must wait while the alpha eats. Even if this seems mean, it isn’t. They are comfortable knowing that you are the alpha and their turn will come soon enough.
So, at meal time, eat first. Then, after they see you have eaten, ask them to follow a command and earn their food. Again, this isn’t being mean, it’s helping them follow what they instinctively want to do.
One more thing that sounded really strange to me the first time I heard it is to walk “through” your dog when they are lying in your pathway. An alpha dog would never change their course. Instead, shuffle your feet softly under your dog until they move, once again reminding them that you are the alpha male and they should allow you to pass through.
Add these ideas to your normal lifestyle, combined with normal commands like wait, sit and heel and you will soon help your dog to become very comfortable with you as the alpha male. Never rest on your laurels. Your dog will need this training and re-training every single day. As you remind him or her of your place and theirs, you will both be much happier. So, be the alpha male and enjoy your new, happier relationship with your fur baby!