Understanding the 'Alpha' Dog's Training Issues and Special Needs So, you find yourself the proud caretaker
of an alpha dog. What's next? The first thing you need to know is that training a highly dominant dog means more patience and more training sessions than you'd have with a more relaxed dog. In fact, it is highly recommended that you take your dog to obedience classes for professional help, rather than trying to do all of the training yourself. These classes will expose your dog to more situations than he would otherwise encounter at home, and this can only help as it further ingrains in his mind what the appropriate response is to any given situation. As for what you can do, we need to look at two scenarios. The first scenario is what happens when your alpha dog is the only dog in the household. The second scenario is what happens when there are other dogs present in the household. Scenario #1: The 'only' dog Having no other dogs around to dominate, your alpha dog is going to do his best to dominate you and any other human members of the family. If you are the dog's primary caretaker, you must assert your role as “pack leader” as firmly as possible. Your dog must learn that you are the 'alpha'. Doing this is a matter of being firm and consistent in your commands with an eye on correcting his 'mistakes' as they occur in the moment. You must also teach other family members about these boundaries and how to set them, as the dog will likely try to dominate the non-alpha humans. Your children, for example, will not be the ultimate “top dogs” in your dog's mind, but he can be trained to accept their place in the pack hierarchy as above his own. Scenario #2: An alpha dog living with other dogs If your dominant-natured dog is not the only family pet, some modifications need to be made. You must still assert your status as leader, and he must learn to accept the rest of the family as holding a higher position. However, he must be accorded at least some alpha status next to the other dogs. In order to prevent aggressive or jealous behavior, it's a good idea to acknowledge the alpha dog first when it comes time for petting and treats. Aggressive behavior towards the other pets should not be tolerated, though, and you must step-in to reassert your dominance should this type of behavior occur. In conclusion, the key to working with alpha dogs is to establish boundaries and respect without breaking the dog's well-deserved sense of confidence and self-esteem.
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