Dogs are animals, not human beings. They are pack animals by nature. Every pack has a leader, known as the “Alpha” dog, which dominates and leads the other members of the pack. The alpha is the boss who makes decisions for the entire pack.
Alpha in the dog pack let the others know when they can eat, drink and sleep. The alpha dog gets the best of everything – the best food, the best place to sleep, the best female dog etc. The alpha dog also gets to be first in everything – he gets to eat first, to leave first, and to get attention first.
All the other dogs in the pack respect the alpha dogswishes. This is the individual you must be in your dogs eyes. You must become alpha and earn his respect. Alpha is an attitude an air of authority. It is the basis for mutual respect, and provides the building blocks of communication between the two of you. It involves confidence, dignity and intelligence - it does not mean you have to be big and aggressive.
A dog can sense alpha almost immediately – it is how his mother acted toward him. Gentle but firm, loving but tough, all at the same time. Most dogs are immediately submissive towards this type of personality because they recognize and respect alpha when they see it.
In a natural state, dogs would live their entire lives within the closely structured social order of their pack. While young, they would begin to learn the workings of the packs social system and, as they grew, begin to establish their place within the packsdominance hierarchy.
Dominance, submissiveness, leadership, obeying others - these are all concepts that are understood by every dog. These are all concepts that people must understand and learn as well to relate to their dog in a successful manner. Part of good leadership and respect habits branch from the control of resources: food, water, rest areas, and access to outside. A good alpha provides an adequate amount of each; not too much and definitely not too little.
Dogs need – and want – leaders. They have an instinctive need to fit into a pack. They want the security of knowing their place and what’s expected of them. Most of them don’t want to be alpha – they want someone else to give orders and make decisions. But if his humans do not provide that leadership, the dog will take over the alpha-role himself. To reclaim your family’s rightful place as leaders of the pack, your dog needs to learn how to be a subordinate, not an equal. He knew this once, as a baby puppy, because his mother taught him. She showed him very early in life that she was alpha and that he had to respect her.
In your home, you and your family become your dogs pack. It is your responsibility to establish yourself in the alpha position. If you fail to do this, your dog will do it as a natural behavior. Many people assume that they are automatically alpha just because humans are superior to animals. But are you really the leading alpha? Does your dog know it?
So how do you become the alpha leader? In the wild, the adults of the pack begin early to teach the cubs the rules. The cubs learn to greet the adults with respect by approaching them using a slightly crouching posture, with ears back, tail down and wagging, and they lick the adults' muzzles. The cubs do this as a sign of respect and affection, not out of fear.
Leadership exercises can confirm humans as the alpha of the family pack. Once you establish this relationship, your dog will seek you out. He will want to be with you and will treat you with respect and affection. After he learns to submit to handling, all other tasks such as grooming, nail clipping, cleaning ears, and medicating will be easier to accomplish. But first he must learn that you have the power to handle him, and that handling will not lead to any harm! He must come to trust you entirely.
Your dog will accept you as the leading alpha
as long as you are consistent and fair in your demands.
The social hierarchy of dogs is easily transferred from the litter or pack to the human family when owners understand the dynamics of dog communication and community interaction.
If you do not know how to communicate with your dog, he never will obey you.
You don't have to do anything to acquire your dogs love.
But you must do a lot to gain your dogs trust and respect!