What do you think of the "alpha dog" approach? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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What do you think of the "alpha dog" approach?

Well my dog is a little brat and thinks he runs the show, (not to mention he is terrible on walks) so I have recently started trying to put my dog in his place and be the "Alpha", but it is harder than I thought. Meaning it is emotionally hard for me. For example, I am supposed to ignore him when I get home, but he looks totally dissed when he runs up to me and I ignore him. It makes me feel really bad. It's also really hard for me to not let him sleep under the covers with me. When he chooses to sleep with me at night, that is the only way I know he loves me, and if I can't let him do that, I don't feel like he does. It's just hard. idk....

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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 01:30 AM
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I completely understand, it's human nature to feel this way. Dogs naturally have positions in their packs, as you know. This is what their comfortable with. To tell a dog to get off the couch, he will not be thinking "she is so mean" he will either maintain leader position and stay on the couch or get off the couch and be perfectly content with it. Now, I would gently push this dog off the couch if he didn't listen and when he got down he would probably stare at me or try and get back up. Remember he is not thinking "well she sucks" he is thinking he is the alpha dog and he is challenging you for that position. I would in this case wait for the dog to show he is relaxed, then I would praise him with love, affection, attention or treats :) If a dog thinks he is the alpha dog he will push to be in that position and tell YOU what's what, if he knows you are the alpha dog he will be content in knowing so ! dogs are not humans, remember that ;) Be calm and assertive, your dog will feel this.
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 01:43 AM
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a submissive dog is a happy dog :) praise him when you see behavior you like, ignore him when you don't. My dog still sleeps in bed with me sometimes but he listens when I say down. Make sure he is warm and has a comfortable place to go and he will be happy. It will also make it even MORE pleasurable for him when he gets to come up :D Also, I am not sure if you know, but a pack leader enters new territory first(house, gates ect.) eats first, walks ahead or right beside. Leaning against or putting his paw on you are also signs of him showing a leader role.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your input :). I have been pretending to eat out of his bowl before he does, then making him sit, and then "leave it" and when I say "okay" he can start eating. I haven't been letting him on the furniture at all anymore, and when I take him out to go potty, he has to FOLLOW me to the door and not beat me there. Then when I open the door, I go through it first.

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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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I am not ready to even begin walking him yet. I am going to start training him on a leash in the house and slowly we will work our way up to an actual walk.

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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 08:29 PM
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I hate the word 'alpha' in regards to dog training. Dogs aren't even really a pack animal. If you google 'pack theory/alpha theory debunked' you should get quite a number of articles explaining why its erroneous to approach dog training that way.

Not everything dogs do is because they are dominant and have aspirations of taking over the household.

It's like entering the door first. For me it's not a dominant behaviour when they push in front of me, it is a rude behaviour. Therefore, I don't tolerate it.

There is the NILF (nothing in life is free) approach that you may want to look at.

Just don't try and alpha roll your dog. I wish Cesar Millan hadn't made that such a fad amongst owners who don't know any better.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish View Post
I hate the word 'alpha' in regards to dog training. Dogs aren't even really a

There is the NILF (nothing in life is free) approach that you may want to look at.

Just don't try and alpha roll your dog. I wish Cesar Millan hadn't made that such a fad amongst owners who don't know any better.
Totally look up NILIF, it's huge. Get The Power of Positive Dog Training: Pat Miller: 9780470241844: Amazon.com: Books As well as Culture Clash: Jean Donaldson: 9781617811128: Amazon.com: Books

Cesar is entertainment, not education. Dogs don't feel love, hate, revenge, any of that. When you start attaching human attributes to dogs you're asking for problems with training.
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 10:29 PM
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We have operated from the dominant/submissive context for all 9 family dogs (way before Caesar) plus the 4 I've trained on my own since then. Like anything, it works when done right - doesn't work when it's done wrong. My two chihuahua rescues have responded exceptionally well to this approach. I do not train with food rewards. My dogs do what i tell them because I told them, not because they think they're going to get a treat.

it works equally well with other people's (more unruly) dogs. That business about Caesar walking in to a house and the dog instantly respects him? Yeah that's real. Been doing it all my life. 90% of our communication is non verbal - I imagine it's pretty high for dogs too. They don't need commands to know what I want from them.

It is a fact of life that dominant/submissive dynamics are present in every single relationship you have, whether you are attuned to it or not. Yes this includes the dog.

Quite honestly, I couldn't care less how anyone raises their dog as long as it works. If it doesn't work.... And the dog breaks free and comes after my perfectly behaved dogs, it will certainly meet my blade. I've seen too many little dogs get turned inside out....
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by finnfinnfriend View Post
I am not ready to even begin walking him yet. I am going to start training him on a leash in the house and slowly we will work our way up to an actual walk.
That's what I did with my chis. I walked them around the house with shoelaces for leashes. When I rescued them they had never been outside before, let alone on a walk. They were afraid of EVERYTHING, so initial attempts at walking were failures.

I don't know if you use a harness or not - i think they are awful for large dogs but good for small dogs. However, they are not good for training the dog how to walk. I made a choker from the shoelace to control their head. Once they walked around the house wagging their tails, it was time to take them outside again. Also was concerned about them being a flight risk at first, since they were completely neglected prior to coming home with me.
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Last edited by jaysee; 01-06-2014 at 10:36 PM.
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 01-06-2014, 10:51 PM
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Oh dear. My dog Barkley is so smart he will out guess me if I allow him to which I have no problem with sometimes , he is who he is and I love him for it . That being said I am just a easy going person and not forceful I will follow his lead as much as he follows and respects mine, he teaches me as much as I teach him, I don't see him as something I need to train we are in this together so we train each other... ArrOOooo this post is Barkley approved :)


P.S. I got lucky it just works for us, know your dog and the rest will follow or something profound like that

Remember the Light at the end of the tunnel may be You.
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