Let’s face it, we all secretly want our buddy to be the alpha dog in a pack. There’s something about our sweet little friend turning out to be the top dog in the area that makes us feel proud! ? Just not in our area, which is why you should know how to identify your dog’s social position amidst other canines. This bit of knowledge is cool, but it’s also important to prevent any dominance behavior that may disrupt your home.
How to identify the alpha dog
In a pack, it is quite easy to tell which one is the alpha dog through the dogs’ behavior. All you need to do is to check for dominance and submission signs.
Alpha dogs are the leaders. They will push through to walk in front of other dogs, make other canines wait for them and impudently steal food and toys from others. Starting and winning staring contests are also their thing and they may mount other dogs, regardless of gender, just to ascertain their dominant position. Oh, and in a tug-of-war, you can be sure the alpha dog will never, ever let go. ✌
If you have more than one dog at home, you can easily see which is the dominant one. They will always get the coziest spots to nap and the best toys, even if they have to chase others out. When playing around, they will also be jealous for attention, trying to make themselves noticed.
However, being a leader also comes with responsibilities and they know it. The alpha dog will usually stand tall and alert while others chill, ready to defend their pack from any attack. ? They also know their hierarchy position and will try to always stand between the owners and the pack, as a proper second-man in command does. They will also lead the troops out of the house and then inside, any time you take the pack out.
The alpha dog at home
Having an alpha dog is all fun and games until they try to expand their dominance in your home… Then it becomes a problem. No matter how proud you are of your buddy, at home, they should always be the second in command, never the first.
Knowing How To Introduce A New Dog To Other Canines, in particular, is much more important if you’re dealing with an alpha dog. If done incorrectly, your old pal will immediately try to make its leading position known. Urinating everywhere to establish their territory will likely be the first sign, but others will follow. Growling and skirmishes are also to be expected until the hierarchy is once again set.
When trying to ascertain their position to the new dog (and sometimes seemingly out of the blue) your pal may start questioning your authority. ? They may start body blocking, soft growling, humping your leg or doing staring contests. Ignoring their behavior is usually enough to let them know they’re not as important as they think they are. However, if things start to escalate you will need to show a bit of dominant behavior too.
Never look away when they’re staring and never let go at tug-of-war. Making them sit before any fun activity also shows them who’s in control. For instance, make them sit before petting them, exiting the door or putting on their leash. When correcting their behavior, you also shouldn’t let them near your bed and do not feed them at the table. Moreover, when feeding the alpha dog, do not let them eat before you command them. You can even pretend to be eating from their bowl to show them who’s the boss. ?
Dogs are social beings with a strong social hierarchy. They need a leader to protect their pack and to guide them through rough times so they can chill and enjoy having fun without any worries. Your dog might be the alpha dog the others look forward to, or maybe they aren’t. The top spot comes with pros and cons, so don’t dwell too much on it. A happy dog will always be the top dog in the end! ❤