Crating and establishing "alpha" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-27-2011, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Crating and establishing "alpha"

Will crating help to establish WE are the alpha?

Duke has been in our home for 11 weeks, and since day one he has not had to be crated at night or while we are gone at work. He can be trusted loose in the house. BUT we are having issues with him trying to be the alpha...at least that's what we think is going on. For example, growling if we try to take a toy from him, barking or snipping at us when we correct him & use our body to block him from going somewhere he's not supposed to go. We will be consulting with a trainer on this, but for now I am wondering if we should start crating him at night and/or while we are at work? Will this help to establish that this is OUR house and HE lives in it instead of this is HIS house and WE live in it? I'm thinking it might have been a mistake to give him free roam of the house from day one.

Will crating help with this?

~ Holly ~
Duke's Mom

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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:02 AM
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The best way to "establish dominance" is by being your dogs leader. This can really only be done through training. You set your dogs boundaries and limitations. You decide what goes, but this can only be done through consistent training.

The whole alpha thing is a little overrated if you ask me. Be a consistent leader and your dog will respect as his alpha without having to actually do specific things to force it on him.

As for crating, I don't think it's going to make him think your an alpha, but it's a great tool to keep him and your home safe while you're not there to supervise. Always make it a positive thing. Never punish him by putting him in there when he's done something bad. Throw in a treat everytime he goes it. You want to make it a place that he wants to be in instead of a place that he has to be in. Make it his own special place.

Also, look into NILIF training if you haven't already. It's a good way of training that I still practice to this day.
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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:07 AM
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you need to train and socialize your dog.
you had the dog for 11 weeks. did you go to
puppy class? find a trainer and start working with your dog.
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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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I realize I need to train and socialize Duke. Hence my statement in my post "We will be consulting with a trainer on this." I'm just asking if we should stop giving him free roam of the house and crate him more often so as to help establish more of a pack structure.

~ Holly ~
Duke's Mom

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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:40 AM
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Is he causing trouble in the house when you're not there to supervise?

A crate isn't going to do much else besides keep him and your home safe while you're not around. It really has nothing to do with "pack structure".
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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:42 AM
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training and socializing establishes pack structure. when you say
you're going to consult with a trainer does that mean you're going
to enroll in a class or take private lessons?
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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:44 AM
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yes you should stop giving him free roam of the house ........... there needs to be rules and boundaries .......... and they soon learn to like their crate ,my dogs will go in on their own when the door is left open
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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No, Duke does not cause problems in the house when we're not here to supervise. As I stated in my original post, he can be trusted loose in the house. I'm just wondering if giving him free roam of the house from day one was a mistake and possibly left him thinking this is as much his house as it is ours.

~ Holly ~
Duke's Mom

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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiedad View Post
training and socializing establishes pack structure. when you say
you're going to consult with a trainer does that mean you're going
to enroll in a class or take private lessons?
We want to bring a trainer or behaviorist into our home first. Then look into obedience classes.

~ Holly ~
Duke's Mom

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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckhunter View Post
yes you should stop giving him free roam of the house ........... there needs to be rules and boundaries .......... and they soon learn to like their crate ,my dogs will go in on their own when the door is left open

I'm very pro-crate, but rules and boundaries can still be set while giving free roam of the home. It really depends on the individual dog. If this particular dog isn't getting into any trouble while unsupervised, a crate isn't absolutely needed.

There are many other and better things to do to establish that "alpha role". As Doggiedad and I have mentioned, this can only be done through consistent training.
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