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Old 01-11-2011, 08:23 PM   #51 (permalink)
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I agree, the words are overused and silly when I hear them used.
But in my "pack" of dogs, there is an alpha within the three of them. So really dogs do have a caste system or pecking order(whatever words you want to use) if you have more than two.

The dog should be taught first, then if the dog chooses to refuse you need to look at your training method and change it.
It is not the dogs fault for not complying, it is usually the handlers communication to the dog...doesn't matter which collar in your toolbox you are using, communication is key.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:34 PM   #52 (permalink)
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I love this discussion thread. As a newer member, this is exactly the kind of thing I come here for. Like a lot of things, training animals of all kinds has evolved over the years. I'm just shy of 50 and grew up on a horse farm. My parents always had GSD's and they worked for a living on the farm. As a child, training dogs was primarily the "dictator" method. Much like saddle training a horse involved gettin' on and doing it until the horse "broke".
My first shepherd was trained in kind of the same fashion. Over the years, especially after having multiple dogs at the same time forced me to change. Having a softer dog and dog that has more prey/work drive make this necessary. (Of course we all mellow as we get older......lol)
I think a lot of people who have owned dogs for many years practiced NILIF for years before it ever had it's official name, I know I did.
You can be alpha without being harsh or mean. I also prefer to think of myself as a leader.
Like I said earlier, this is one of the best discussions I've seen.
Thanks to everyone.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:35 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:32 AM   #54 (permalink)
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I know this is an older thread...

But working in a training facility.. I've not heard the terms "alpha or dominance" used by too many.. In fact, most people we come in contact with are clueless when it comes to dogs and dog training.. Their dogs are truly in charge of the household, no bond between dog/owner and most have a too kind personality when it comes to their dogs..
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:44 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Thanks Bocron. He starts out by saying that the term alpha is now incorrect then he goes on to give a few examples of alpha situations. He can't seem to make up his mind.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #56 (permalink)
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" I personally think "being Alpha" is more about being a calm, confident leader who can and will lay down the law when necessary with a firm but appropriate correction. There seems to be a mindset any more Alpha = dictator and to me this attitude can ruin what could otherwise be an awesome relationship with the family dog or even a working partner. "

That's it you said is it perfectly. The problems we see is when a dog challenges and wants to become the leader. That's when people start to label the dog as being alpha but in fact the dog is not alpha dog but is trying to become that. power struggles bring out the worst in everyone.

Also all this comparing dogs to wolves I think is not going to help us Learn anything about dogs. Dogs are not wolves and have not been for 15,000 years. Watching our dog interact with each other is the only way to Learn about dog behavior. we need to Learn from our dogs not there very distant cousin.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:34 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Thanks Bocron. He starts out by saying that the term alpha is now incorrect then he goes on to give a few examples of alpha situations. He can't seem to make up his mind.
He said the term is used incorrectly when you look at a natural pack. It's when you have unnatural packs like a wolf group in the zoo all from different parents. THEN you could use the term alpha for the dog that leads that group.

In general a natural pack that is formed by 2 parents and there offspring are not going to have ALPHAs. They are going to have parents that teach right from wrong but do not need to dominate. If an offspring does want to become dominate and challenge it is chased off to start it's own pack.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:53 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Most people might say I am the alpha in our home, but to me its more a case of not caring so long as certain rules are followed. I guess if that's alpha, then I am.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:38 PM   #59 (permalink)
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" I personally think "being Alpha" is more about being a calm, confident leader who can and will lay down the law when necessary with a firm but appropriate correction. There seems to be a mindset any more Alpha = dictator and to me this attitude can ruin what could otherwise be an awesome relationship with the family dog or even a working partner. "

That's it you said is it perfectly. The problems we see is when a dog challenges and wants to become the leader. That's when people start to label the dog as being alpha but in fact the dog is not alpha dog but is trying to become that. power struggles bring out the worst in everyone.

Also all this comparing dogs to wolves I think is not going to help us Learn anything about dogs. Dogs are not wolves and have not been for 15,000 years. Watching our dog interact with each other is the only way to Learn about dog behavior. we need to Learn from our dogs not there very distant cousin.

A lot of research also suggests that dogs are like immature wolves - thus wouldn't they need a "parent"? (Alpha?)
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:10 AM   #60 (permalink)
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When I got my dog his trainer's evaluation was that he is a "natural alpha."
I know it is a subject of controversy, but that's not why I'm bringing it up. I mention it to offer the observations of how she came to that conclusion.

I was supposed to choose between Shadow and his brother to be my future service dog. They were 5 weeks old. Shadow walked steadily to me, and sniffed my hand. Then he went to lay down in the shade. His brother Jason ran to me and bit me. While Shadow rested in the shade, Jason roamed around and checked everyone out.

My parents and I talked to the trainer and the breeder for a while and the trainer poured the pups some kibble in a big bowl. Jason went for it right away and ate sticking to the edges of the bowl. Then Shadow walked over with all his steady calm, went for the kibble in the center of the bowl and planted his paw in the bowl. Jason went away. Shadow ate until maybe 6 or so bits, went back to his spot in the shade and Jason came and ate the rest.

I took both dogs home. Shadow stayed by my bed and Jason explored the whole place. His brother would initiate all the play fighting and fighting (I couldnt always tell the difference) and he would bite a lot harder.

Another observation was when Shadow was 4 months old he met a senior Weimaraner, Cinnamon. Cinnamon has an injured paw and she growled at Shadow when he sniffed it. Shadow retreated and then came forward in full dominance stand (ears forward, chest out, tail wagging) and he talked to her. It was a gentle bark, til she put her head down and laid down.

So the alpha is calm, gentle, steady, not aggressive.
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