Becoming the Alpha Dog of your Pack
Dogs are pack animals. Even though your pooch may not seem
like it sometimes, all dogs come from wolves and their genes
still cause them to have the same instincts.
All social animal groups have leaders, and one of the most
important things you can do is make sure your dog knows that
you are the "alpha dog" of your pack. When your dog believes
you are the pack leader it will listen to and take direction
from you far better. If a dog doesn't feel that it has a
leader, it will instinctively be driven to act as leader
itself, which can make it nervous and lead to many bad doggy
Here are a few steps to help you stake your claim as leader
of your pack.
* Never allow your dog to growl at you or other family
members. When a dog growls at you it is meant to tell you
that it is the dominant one. Even if the dog is defending
its food or toys, if it gives a warning growl at a human,
tell it "No!" in a firm tone of voice so that it can learn
that growling at family members is not acceptable.
Try not to let your dog walk in front of you when you are
walking it outside. The alpha dog always leads the pack.
This means you must keep your dog close on a leash and walk
through doors first and then invite the dog in once you are
through the door. When you stop the dog from exiting or
entering before you, tell it "Stay" and wait until it is
calm, then lead it through the door.
Never let your dog ride in your lap in a car. On top of
making it think it is on top and the alpha dog, this is very
unsafe for your dog. Instead have it sit in a
dog crate, in its
own seat with a harness fastened to a seatbelt, or at least
on the floor.
Another thing to watch out for is a dog that jumps up, leans
or puts its paw on you too much or generally invades your
space. This may feel like your dog is just loving on you,
and he may be, but in fact he is also being the alpha dog.
Dogs associate space with respect, so if he is not
respecting your space he has the idea he is in charge. If
you want to cuddle with your pooch, make sure you do the
Making sure you are the leader of the pack is important for
everyone's safety. When everyone knows who is in charge it
allows you to create an environment where your dog acts the
way you want him to act and you will both be calmer and
content in your relationship.
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