How to Be the Alpha Dog in Your Pack Dog Psychology 101

BY | September 30 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
How to Be the Alpha Dog in Your Pack

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Learn about canine psychology. Also, learn how you can use it to your advantage to become the pack leader.

How do dogs learn to beg for food or misbehave while we are not looking? According to one research team, the way dogs learn to adapt to the amount of people's attentiveness reveals something about how canines think about and learn about human behavior. According to their findings, it is due to a mix of unique cues, context, and prior experience.

The alpha dog in a pack is the leader, the one who gets all the attention and all the treats. But it takes work to be an alpha dog. You can't just sit around and wait for things to happen. You have to be consistent with your dogs and teach them what you expect from them. It's not about competition, it's about being a good leader for your pack.

Teach Your Dogs to Wait Patiently

Teaching your dog to wait patiently before getting a treat is a great way to create a positive association with treats and help him learn self-control. You can use either a clicker or treats to train this behavior. 

If you choose to use a clicker, make sure that you mark the right behavior by clicking right before he sits down. Wait until he stands back up, then give him the treat as soon as possible after he sits down again. This is so that he doesn't think sitting was the reason for getting his reward.

If using treats, try teaching him not to get up at all when presented with one. This method takes time and patience.

A few good examples of treats are Greenies for dogs and Milk-Bone.

Make the Most of Your Time Together

If you have a dog, the best way to be the alpha in your pack is to make the most of your time together. A good way to do this is by going on walks with your dog and playing with him. Dogs love spending time outdoors. When going out, make sure you use a harness for dogs or a retractable dog leash.

If you want to take it further than that, consider teaching your dog tricks or training them in other ways, like still for long periods or even shaking hands. This shows them who's boss.

Practice Commands Regularly

Your dog should understand that it is important to practice commands, corrections, and praise when they are first introduced. If you don't practice with your dog on a regular basis, then they will not know what is expected of them.  

If you have never trained your dog before this can be very difficult for them to understand what is expected of them in different situations. You need to clearly show them the right way through positive reinforcement, like giving them treats when they do something correctly. You need to also use negative reinforcement with leash corrections or a dog bark collar when they do something incorrectly. A no-pull dog harness is well suited for this purpose. 

Be careful with the latter because studies indicate that aversive-based training methods, especially when applied in large quantities, endanger the welfare of companion dogs both inside and outside of the training environment.

Don’t Give In to Begging

We all know to begging, whining, pawing, and jumping are annoying. The thing is that they’re also effective. If you give in to the pestering of your dog, then they will keep doing it because it works, so how do we stop this?

Well, there are a few ways.

Don’t give them attention when they pester you. This can be hard as dogs have such expressive faces. But if you ignore them for long enough, they learn that no attention is coming their way. This will stop them from being so persistent in their quest for attention.

Don't reward barking with treats or playtime. Instead, give treats after quiet time has finished. It is even better if they are calming treats for dogs.

Never Directly Challenge Your Dog

Don't give your dog the opportunity to challenge you for a resource, such as food or toys. Don't let him snatch food from your dinner plate. Don't allow him to take toys from you, and don’t allow him to take toys or food away from other people, dogs, or cats in the household. This includes dog chew toys and interactive dog toys.

If he tries it, make sure that he knows it is not acceptable by using an appropriate correction and then turning away and walking off with his toy or food. Don’t give your dog any eye contact until he sits back down without taking anything else away from anyone else in the room. Another good way to teach your dog to be patient with food is to use a slow feeder dog bowl.

It is interesting to note that most kinds of canine aggressiveness are motivated by fear. It is triggered by frightening stimuli to the dog. When hostility is a direct reaction to a challenge or conflict, it is called defensive aggression.

Be Consistent With Commands

Consistency is key when it comes to training a dog. Your dog must understand that you mean business and that they can expect the same actions from you every time. This will help them learn how to make good choices. It also decreases their anxiety over whether or not they're going to get in trouble for doing something wrong. If you notice severe anxiety issues, you can use Clomicalm to address the problem. 

If your dog doesn't know what is expected of them, they may act out of frustration because they don't understand the rules around them. For example, if you correct your dog for barking but then reward it with attention later, it signals to them that barking gets attention from humans. Which means there's no reason not to bark.

Dogs learn through repetition and consistency. So if you constantly give in, then this becomes part of their behavior. Instead, teach your pup how much work it takes before getting what she wants by rewarding her after doing basic commands like coming back when called.

To summarise, you can be the alpha dog in your pack if you're consistent and patient. When you give a command or correction to your dog, be sure to follow through. Don't give in to begging for food or attention. That's like giving up some of your power. Also, don't directly challenge your dog for a resource. Instead, make it clear that you have all the resources and he has none. He will soon enough figure out how things work.

Allowing your dog to learn and grow as a member of your pack is one of the most important things you can do. By teaching them commands and tricks, you’ll be able to spend more time with them and build a deeper bond. Following these tips above will help you be more alpha than ever.

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