What Is The Alpha Dog?
Am I The Alpha Dog? No, Of Course Not!
I've often heard the words 'Alpha Dog' or 'Alpha Male' bandied about but I'm not sure what they mean. Does it mean the boss dog or top dog? I'm not really sure, but I think being a cocker spaniel owner I should know more about it.
Reply From Pauline (Web Owner)
You're right, the term 'Alpha Dog' (or Alpha Male, or Alpha Female) refers to the status of the dog in his or her pack. The Alpha Dog is the 'top dog', the leader.
They are usually the strongest, bravest, fittest, and more intelligent of their pack - all essential qualities of a good leader.
In his domestic pack however, your dog should never be the leader - that's your job.
Your cocker spaniel needs to appreciate that you are his leader and head up the pack. In fact, he should be at the bottom of the pile as your family (children included) should come before him in the pack hierarchy.
If you own any other dogs you should allow them to settle their own positions within their pack - only step in if you feel it's really necessary. All your dogs should see you as their leader.
There are many things you can do to establish leadership within a pack and, if you're not doing them already, I recommend you practice them daily until they become habitual.
If there is any question over who's the leader in your pack, it may cause your dog to become anxious and/or stressed and could lead to unwanted alpha dog behaviors.
If you'd like to learn more about the 'Alpha Male' I recommend you read our article entitled, "Who's The Alpha Dog In Your Pack? Is It You Or Your Cocker Spaniel?"
It will explain how to reinforce your role as Alpha Dog by giving practical examples of what you can do to emulate alpha dog behavior.
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