You must be the “Alpha Dog” in your relationship with your puppy or your dog, to create the confidence and trust your pet will need in order to have the best possible relationship with each other. Being your dog’s “pack leader” means that you can control any behavior problems that may come up, and much more easily obedience train your puppy or dog-because your pet will want to do what he thinks will make you happy.
Dogs grow up in a pack society, and learn proper behaviors from the interaction they have with the other puppies and their Mama. Now you are the pack leader and your family is his pack.To have the best relationship with your pet, he must understand that you are the Alpha leader. Dogs need to know their place in their pack, and it is up to you and your family to provide the guidance your puppy is going to need if he is to grow up to be the well behaved and obedient pet you all want.
To become the Alpha dog in your pack you must avoid the common mistakes so many people make of communicating with their dogs as if the dogs were people. These mistakes will confuse your dog, and a confused dog may end up at times trying to assert his own dominance by growling or snapping at its human family. This is clearly a problem that you must avoid by establishing yourself as the Alpha dog. A puppy or dog that snaps or growls at you and your family does not know his place, and must be corrected before he can become a real problem and bite someone.
It is much easier to train a young puppy to be submissive than it is to retrain an older dog that has become confused about who is the alpha dog around in your pack. Therefore, make sure you learn how to assume the Alpha dog position right away with your new pup. Many times, your puppy will test you with aggressive rough playing, chasing and nipping at your ankles, or growling to protect his food at dinnertime.
Rough play is a natural part of a puppy’s behavior, and so is chasing and nipping. This rough play is part of how they determine their status in their pack. You need to set a limit to this, so your puppy doesn’t learn to develop aggressive behavior. You don’t need to be mean to your puppy, but you do need to show him guidance, if you want to be considered the Alpha dog.
Here are a few exercises to use if your puppy is acting too aggressively, and needs a lesson in submission.
- Demonstrate your dominance to your puppy by holding him still and staring directly into his eyes until he stops struggling and completely relaxes. His relaxing is a sign that he has submitted to your dominance.
- Another way to test your puppy’s willingness to submit is to hold him upside down, supporting his back and his head. Once again hold him still until he relaxes and submits to you.
- A variation of this exercise is to hold him down on the floor with one hand on his belly and one hand holding his neck, and push a little bit. If he squirms, hold him until he calms down and submits.
- You may add a growl and show your teeth in a snarl to demonstrate how serious you are. Combine the eye contact, the growling and the holding to really make your point if your puppy does not quickly submit.
Use these simple exercises regularly with your puppy until he has learned to recognize you as the dominant member of the pack, and readily is submissive to you without any fussing or struggling. The key to attaining the Alpha status and retaining your status is always be fair and consistent about how you treat your dog, so that he always knows his trust and confidence in you is well placed. Once you have established yourself as the Alpha leader of your relationship, your dog will be well balanced and well behaved and a joy to take anywhere with you.