Dog Behavior & Training Pet Daily News

Myths behind the term alpha dogs

Alpha dogs is a very controversial but popular subject. Many dog owners, trainers, behaviorists, veterinarians and other experts believe they should be the dominant one over dogs. Over the years, it has been conditioned into our minds that we can expertly control our dogs by implying negative force to render them into submission.

Where has the love gone if we somehow have to bully our dogs or coerce them? We’re told to control a dogs dominance, but in turn, we become the dominant one without even realizing. Let me tell you, the alpha dogs theory is a load of rubbish and is totally cock-hide!

Spotting the alpha dogs syndrome

Dominant behavior does not mean alpha dogs; dominance is a negative force wishing to be in control.

Over the years there has been various studies about alpha dogs and experts have particularly homed in on wolves to gain understanding.

It is in fact abnormal for wild wolves to behave viscous, they are family orientated creatures. The only time a wolf exhibits hierarchy is when they have to live with other packs.

I fostered three wolf dogs in the past plus I have my own dog so that equated to four wolf dogs in my house. Hierarchy was only exhibited by one of them who was an not a spayed female, she was up against three neutered males. This lady did not exhibit the ‘alpha dogs’ syndrome, she was a dominant – period! Pulling on a lead, jumping on humans and dogs, pinning other dogs down, food aggression, whining for food, whining to go out etc is not an alpha dog; this behavior is sheer rudeness with no etiquette!

Love, kindness gentleness, bonding etc conquers everything!

Some expert trainers have taken the whole concept of leadership out of proportion. It’s not about who can attain the upper hand, it’s about living in harmony and at peace with other species.

The problem is we trust those in authority to have mastered the correct approach and we follow them wholeheartedly. We need to dig deeper, when a human has to prove their leadership over a dog, they’ve lost the plot. Trainers such as Caesar Millan have been badly influenced by negative and dominant training. Some of his teachings are okish, but if you’re not good at spotting negative training, it’s better to find a trainer who offers 100% positive reinforcement.

On the surface, it appears that all negative trainers are successful since many dogs respond to their methods. However, this kind of training produces suppression, the downside to this is that at some point or other those suppressed feelings will rear their ugly heads later in life. Often their rise will be worse than the first time around.

People sometimes buy a dog to increase their desire to control, enhance their ego, manipulate and/or lord-it-over with many rules and regulations. This technique subjects a dog into submission through fear. If a dog is already suffering with fear, anxiety and aggression ( and they’re all linked to a pathological disorder), they will not thrive with an oppressive human.

dog games

So, what happened to a dog being a man’s best friend if owners and experts have to use these methods? The friendship would clearly dissipate and you’d own a robotic dog.

Humans ought to embrace dog’s as loving animals to work alongside humans. If you want to use the term ‘alpha dogs’, then it should mean love, respect, kindness, goodness, gentleness, consideration, faithfulness and self-control. These considerations are what forms a strong relationship between human to human and your dog.

Simplifying the term alpha dogs

Today, the term alpha dogs has become over complicated. Yet, it isn’t so difficult to train a dog if proper reinforcement was used correctly. Here are some common questions and answers:

  • Should your dog go through a door before you? – It’s good to embrace good etiquette with love and treats, waiting patiently at the door is respectful. It shouldn’t be an issue if your dog forgets, check out ‘The mysteries of unleashing the best dog behavior
  • Should dogs eat after humans? It’s not an issue but I prefer to feed my dog at the same time as I eat, it makes me feel close to my dog similar to a family who eats together.
  • My dog is in my way or laid in the doorway, should he move? Always ask your dog to politely move such as saying ‘excuse me’. Eventually, he will understand what this means. Show your dog where you want him to sit using treats or ask him to go to his bed.
  • Should there be rules in the house? Dogs are quite capable of understanding that you don’t want them to go into certain places such as upstairs if taught well, check out ‘Become an expert at dog training commands
  • Should my dog sleep up stairs or on my bed? Your dog needs his own bed in a designated area. He shouldn’t sleep in or on your bed, but if you choose to allow this, he should be able to come down on the first command. If his bed is in your bedroom, he needs to respect your sleeping area by not jumping up on your bed, especially when you’re asleep. I love my dog sleeping in my bedroom but he has his own bed and is not allowed on mine.
  • Can I display anger to another human in my house? A dog only learns what you teach, even with unspoken words. Think about what are saying and what are you permitting unconsciously? It’s not okay for your dog, then it’s not okay for you!
  • My dog doesn’t come back when off the lead, should I exert alpha techniques? Your dog should never be off the lead until he can listen to you and can respond to you 100% of the time. He must be a responsive and respectable dog to the community.
  • Can my children give treats to the dogs? Encourage children under supervision, but be aware that dogs never see small children as adults, they see them as prey or puppies to be played with, check out ‘Better dog training treats suggestions’.

About the author

Jennifer Pitts

I love pets and I love animals. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats and it's not enough for me.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment