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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-02-2014 12:43 PM
Baillif Meh. If you correct a certain type of dog dog in such a way you make things personal you're inviting a fight and with those dogs that love to fight you're in for a world of hurt at some point. Given a clear, consistent, impersonal, and intolerable consequence the dogs will end up complying regardless of whether they are a "rank" dog or not, unless their brains aren't wired right.

If a dog learns he can come up the leash and escape punishment by attacking a handler it becomes an operant behavior and you see more of it. Just like if you're going to correct a dog and he learns he can run away to avoid it then you see more of that. So with dogs like that you simply make them unable to escape it whether that involves e collar use or two prongs with two lines so that the dog gets punished for attempting to come up a leash.

The "Alpha" paradigm isn't one I like at all. It fails to properly describe what is really going on.
09-02-2014 12:39 PM
selzer
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Winners View Post
IMO, an alpha dog is one that refuses to follow another. They will fight anything that tries to force an idea on the dog. As long as they get what they want, they are fine, but as soon as they are challenged in any way, they will fight. They know they are in charge and there is nothing you can do about it. No training, leadership, NILIF, or compulsion is going to change this dog.

They are very rare IME. I've met 3 in 35 years. They were all at VLK, came from Holland, and were a real handful to work. They were impossible to out without lifting them off the bite and would nail you for any type of correction.

I think that there is a big difference between a confident, strong willed dog and an alpha. The term gets thrown around a lot because of TV shows and egos.

Michael Ellis explains it better than I can.

Michael Ellis on Dominance in Dogs: Michael Ellis on Dominance in Dogs - YouTube

Michael Ellis on the Different Forms of Dog Aggre…: Michael Ellis on the Different Forms of Dog Aggression - Part Three - YouTube
I see it a little differently. I find the dog you are describing as extremely rare, and very independent -- actually not suited to live in the human world. Sorry.

I think that particularly when you have more than 3 or 4 dogs, you can have a natural alpha dog, and it can be determined by studying the dynamics of the pack. I really don't think the whole alpha thing relates much at all to dog-human relationships, because an alpha amongst the dogs still has a good brain and understands that humans are not canines, and they treat them differently.

A true leader, a true alpha, could never lead a pack if it fought everything that came in its way. It wouldn't be able to maintain a healthy, uninjured group of hunters to run down the game and work cooperatively to herd and slaughter game. I think the very independent/aggressive dog that is described is very rare because it is not right. And in nature that canine would not survive.
09-02-2014 12:31 PM
selzer
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
I think the phrase "alpha dog" is overused and overrated.
Great opening line to a speech or paper.

I agree. While there are alpha dogs out there, meaning dogs that, when living in a family with a group of dogs, are naturally the leader of the pack, usually this type of dog never has the label of "alpha" applied to it.

The dogs that are scrapping with each other are usually beta dogs, insecure and trying to assert their position through force. A true alpha uses their confidence and body language and rarely needs to growl or snarl at another dog.

And alpha dogs are not the ones causing all the problems with dog-human relationships. Yes, you can be over-matched by a dog. But most stable dogs have no problems existing even with less confident owners. Usually problems arise when less confident owners, are matched to dogs that are less confident, who would do much better with a sure, strong leader. Then as the dog lacks trust/confidence, his behavior becomes scary to the owner, whose confidence diminishes further, as his fear increases, and the dog becomes truly dangerous.

And, thus, all the focus on dominance and alpha in training and behavior generally leads to more confused people and dogs. And while some owners may become stronger leaders (have some structure and consistency) and inspire a semblance of confidence in their less than confident dogs, many others of these dogs will have even more trouble by being shown who is the boss, and being ground under toe with whatever the current dominant/alpha training/behavior modification calls for.
09-02-2014 11:21 AM
wolfy dog This is my take: Alpha dogs do not fight and are not aggressive without being challenged; they are just there. Like a good teacher, you feel their presence. They are often confused with the "social climbers"who try to elbow their way to the top. I have had the honor of having had a true Apha type dog. He never picked a fight, but wouldn't accept any **** from another dog either. He never challenged any human. The other dogs, incl. all my foster dogs never challenged him either. It was a joy to observe him and I learned so much from him, also to implement this in human social dynamics. He has helped me tremendously in raising pups and foster dogs.
I had the fortune of having him for 14 years and he was respected by all, K9 and human, to the very end. If there was one dog I could get back from Heaven it would be him.
09-02-2014 09:44 AM
lesslis Don't think I've ever seen this nor want to. Lol. I have seen GSDs that would prefer to do other things at a particular moment, but will eventually "think"
Still learning what some consider a stable brain vs unstable vs alpha vs soft vs blablabla. My simple mind just wants a Gsd that "wants" to work, think thru stress, and please me.
09-01-2014 11:05 AM
lalachka
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakodaCD OA View Post
I think the phrase "alpha dog" is overused and overrated.
Lol for sure. any owner with a dog that doesn't listen thinks they have an alpha. such an ego booster.
09-01-2014 10:00 AM
lhczth I agree David. Very rare. I have met 1, what I call, "rank" dog in my life. I have seen a few that people would claim were "alpha", but they were just dogs with bad nerves and a lack of clarity in the work.
09-01-2014 08:47 AM
David Winners IMO, an alpha dog is one that refuses to follow another. They will fight anything that tries to force an idea on the dog. As long as they get what they want, they are fine, but as soon as they are challenged in any way, they will fight. They know they are in charge and there is nothing you can do about it. No training, leadership, NILIF, or compulsion is going to change this dog.

They are very rare IME. I've met 3 in 35 years. They were all at VLK, came from Holland, and were a real handful to work. They were impossible to out without lifting them off the bite and would nail you for any type of correction.

I think that there is a big difference between a confident, strong willed dog and an alpha. The term gets thrown around a lot because of TV shows and egos.

Michael Ellis explains it better than I can.

Michael Ellis on Dominance in Dogs: http://youtu.be/rm21nqCG2Fw

Michael Ellis on the Different Forms of Dog Aggre…: http://youtu.be/hanG2YGYzZg
09-01-2014 08:04 AM
MaggieRoseLee The alpha role in dogs

Think we need to be careful with the 'alpha dog' idea. Seems to have been an easy way to misuse (accidentally) the power we have over our dog anyways and OVERWHELM them rather then use our brains to TEACH them.

The Myth of the Alpha Dog*|*Dr. Karen Becker

De-Bunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal Article

Dog Training: Animal Experts Debunk the Alpha-Dog Myth - TIME
09-01-2014 07:43 AM
JakodaCD OA I think the phrase "alpha dog" is overused and overrated.
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