Are You Worried About Off Leash Aggression Issues?

18 02 2009

It seems like you have a wonderful dog, you have given him a great home, but when you go out to the off leash dog park, things change, right?  Being off leash is truly a fantastic feeling.  Running around with the wind blowing through your hair as your ears flap in the wind is almost as much fun as riding in the car with our head hanging out of the window.  However, such a fantastic joy as it is, being off leash is ALWAYS a privilege.  This is something that needs to be earned. Read the rest of this entry »

Aggression Parts 4, 5, & 6: Protective, Territorial, And Possessive Aggression

2 02 2009

mailman-and-dogSince these forms of aggression are pretty similar and involve the defense of something the dog considers to be of great value, I have combined their information into one article.  The traits associated with each of these types of aggression are similar, with slight differences that we will examine.

Protective Aggression:

This type of aggression is generally directed toward another animal or a person that the dog perceives to be threat to his pack or his position in the pack.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Is An “Alpha Dog”?

28 10 2008

Mom says that dogs are basically nothing more than bred down versions of wolves.  A dog’s hierarchy is generally not as well-defined as those in a pack of wolves.  But we do hold to that system, as is suits us very well.

Mom also says that humans are the ultimate “alphas” and should be respected as such. This is why I must not jump on a human or go into a door ahead of a human because I am showing respect for their position.  I was trained to do these things, and all dogs should know these rules.

However when it comes to a group of dogs, known as a pack, we need a dog in charge!  It is not always the biggest dog or the oldest dog or a male dog.  People cannot pick a certain dog to be the alpha and it has nothing to do with size, weight, age or sex.

Alpha is an attitude.  Some of us want to be in charge and some of us do not.  I am an alpha.  I was not always the alpha, however.  When I came to my pack, the alpha dog was a six pound Pomeranian!  One day, I could not find him and mom said he had gone to doggy heaven.  Since he was gone, we needed a new alpha in our pack.  I decided to be the alpha of the pack, even over my own doggy mom.  She was one of those dogs that did not care to be the alpha.

After I became the alpha, my mom knew it was very important to show the rest of the pack that I was now the dog in charge.  Whenever we ate, I was the first dog fed.  Whenever we went outside, I was the first dog after the humans.  Whenever we were told to SIT, I was the first dog mom released.  And when we got our treats, I was the first to get them.  These actions are the only way a human can to reinforce the alpha position to other pack members.  These actions will not change the hierarchy of the pack, as that is determined within the pack.

I have certain duties to perform to maintain my role.  Sometimes mom says that I rule with an iron paw, but I established myself as the alpha quite well.

For me, I found that intimidation works well.  The first part of my intimidation is eye contact.  Also, my body language shows no fear as I approach with my head held high.  If I am challenged, this is followed by a growl as I continue to move forward and maintain eye contact.  If a challenger has not backed off at this point, I will show him or her my teeth.  Any time during this period, a challenger may back off and he would be well to do so, since my packs rolls three deep.

In my own pack, if I want a bone, I just need to stand over the possessing dog, and he will leave it and walk away.   If I want to sit somewhere, I  walk over and stand until they move away.  This does not work with humans like mom.  She is the ultimate alpha, and she will tell me to go away.  All of these actions are reinforcement of my position as the alpha.

When two dogs meet for the first time, they will stare at each other and after a few seconds, one will drop their head.  This is a sign of submission.  The submissive dog will smell the alpha dogs lips, ears and gradually work his way to the rear end.   Humans think this is gross but at least we don’t have to touch each others paws!  We transmit a lot of information from our anal glands and basically, a submissive dog now has all the information he needs to ensure that he is in the company of an alpha.