I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?
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Thread: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

  1. #1
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    I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    In a pack, is it possible to have a female and a male alpha? We have a 4 year old Westy, he's a great dog, very affectionate. I have concerns because my dog follows my wife everywhere. He sleeps at the foot of our bed, he's a loving dog to both of us. The difference being when my entire family is at home, he follows her around. If she leaves the house, he follows me around. When we sleep at night, he's at her feet, if she's not in bed, he's at my feet. I'm just a bit confused. I'm the one that deals with discipline. I'm also the one that controls his food. He obey's me, I just feel like he looks at me as though I'm not the Alpha. I've been told there can be only 1 Alpha, so I thought I would come here and ask. I know it sounds silly, but I have a bit of an issue with my dog not looking at me as the pack leader when I'm the provider and protector in my family.

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  3. #2
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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Forget that alpha stuff. It's a lot of nonsense. A dog either obeys you or doesn't, and if he doesn't that's a training issue, not because you're not the "alpha". I don't know what you consider "discipline", but if it involves hurting him or scaring him, that can definitely negatively affect your relationship with him. It's not unusual for a male dog to bond more closely with the female owner and vice versa. . .it's nature . So, basically, just enjoy your dog and don't bother yourself with whether you think he thinks you're alpha or not. That kind of thinking is something that can really reduce your enjoyment of your pet.

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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Don't get caught up in the alpha business. Sometimes dogs attach more to one person than another. One of my dogs is a little more attuned to my wife, and another is to me. It isn't a competition. If your dog has a clear and fair set of rules, gets enough exercise and mental stimulation, and you don't go overboard with the alpha dog concept, you're golden.

    I'm going to assume by discipline you mean correcting bad behavior by removing attention from your dog or other good behavior modification techniques, and not yelling and hitting.

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    Super Moderator Curbside Prophet's Avatar
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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Do you have preferences? Guess what? Dogs do too. That has nothing to do with an assumed structure.

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    Senior Member Charis's Avatar
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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    A few thoughts

    - Dogs know we are not dogs. They don't fight for "alpha" with us. They make try to get what they want or push the rules but that doesn't mean they are vying for "alpha" - it means they want to walk that way because of a smell, they want the piece of hotdog, they want outside to sun or walk or run.
    - Dogs respond well to a clear set of rules, expected behaviors and positive reinforcement.
    - Dogs can only follow one person at a time. You would have a neurotic dog on your hands running back and forth between the two of you. He wants to follow your wife for whatever reason.
    - The dog looking at you as the protector and provider - the dog has no idea you provide for the family. The fact he doesn't growl at guests and act intimidated/scared around guests means he doesn't feel the need to protect. He may see you as the source of food but not the "provider" of the family in the sense that you do.

    Depending on your "method" of maintaining "discipline" your dog may have a stronger relationship with your wife. Look into positive training methods to build a stronger relationship with your dog.

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    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Ditto what everyone said about forgetting about the "alpha" stuff. It's been disproven as not true, and doesn't work between humans and dogs. In my experience, most dogs seem to bond more with women. I've had both males and females, and they all have gravitated towards me (or my mom, growing up). Maybe it's that may may be more physically intimidating, with their bigger statures, deeper voices, more abrupt movements.
    Use positive reinforcement when training. If a dog does something you don't want it to do, redirect it to what you DO want them to do. Chewing on a shoe? Remove shoe (and keep where dog can't get to them), and give dog one of his toys to chew on. Pees inside? Remove him to the outside and praise/treat him for pottying outside.
    Spay or neuter your pet! Founding President Of Thread Killers Anonymous.

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    How silly, everybody knows wives are always the alpha and the husband is always at the bottom of the pack virtual or real life.

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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Big Rig Wrecker ,

    >>He sleeps at the foot of our bed, he's a loving dog to both of us. If she leaves the house, he follows me around. When we sleep at night, he's at her feet, if she's not in bed, he's at my feet.<<

    Please don't be confused as the answer to your concerns lies within your own words.

    Your dog loves you or he would not be at your feet , it is just that simple.............

    Best , oldhound

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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Quote Originally Posted by wvasko View Post
    How silly, everybody knows wives are always the alpha and the husband is always at the bottom of the pack virtual or real life.

    That is great to know! We're getting married, so I will pass this on to fiance, so he is well aware!

    But, seriously, I agree. No alpha stuff. Set guidelines and rules that are consistent between both you and your wife (meaning you both expect the same things from your dog), and don't worry about who is primary attention is on. Harper (our male dog) prefers me. Abby (our female dog) prefers my fiance. Oliver, well, he's not made his mind up!

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Quote Originally Posted by doxiemommy View Post
    That is great to know! We're getting married, so I will pass this on to fiance, so he is well aware!

    But, seriously, I agree. No alpha stuff. Set guidelines and rules that are consistent between both you and your wife (meaning you both expect the same things from your dog), and don't worry about who is primary attention is on. Harper (our male dog) prefers me. Abby (our female dog) prefers my fiance. Oliver, well, he's not made his mind up!
    It's your life so do as you will, I believe pre-warning the fiancée is a waste of time because for the longest time I was one of the silly ones thinking I was alpha and would not have believed anyone that said different. Little did I know that my wife was in for the long haul and strange things would happen in the future. I'm just sayin'..

    Besides that why break fiancé's spirit early. Ignorance is sometimes bliss.

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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Why is it that men have to butt in on the dogs, my fiancee trains horses (of all disciplines but his speciality is race horses ) I have the dogs, they are the only thing I have that's MY thing, & he sometimes butts in & does things that "untrain" them... More Josefina then Izze, Izze is old & set in her ways but Jo tends to get like a spoiled child when hs does this & reluctant to listen for a bit after :/

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    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    As I understand it, the modern domesticated dog's typical ancestral gray wolf pack consists of a breeding pair and their offspring from the last 3, 4 seasons (until they get old enough to strike out on their own). Looks a lot like a family.

    People seem to have the perception that the "Alpha" is an iron-fisted dictator who strictly enforces a "hierarchy." I believe it's a bit less formalized.

    Every dog I've owned has had favored one family member or another. Our westie favored the big yella hound (now deceased), and now he seems about equally attached to the two of us. He's definately the boss of his new little (60lbs and growing) brother. Westies have so much self-confidence, sometimes it looks like dominance. It's what makes 'em my favorite terrier.

    In my two-dog household, and the others I know of, the larger dog is usually subordinate to the smaller although that can change day-to-day, or even moment-to-moment. They just don't seem to adhere to the "higherarchy" concept with any degree of consistency. The important thing is that dogs always know they are subordinate to humans.

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    As I understand it, you are jealous or perhaps hurt because the dog likes to spend more time with your wife than with you. Is that correct? How does that relate to power dynamics and structures in wolf packs?


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    Re: I'm concerned about Alpha status between my wife and I and our dog...?

    Quote Originally Posted by wvasko View Post
    It's your life so do as you will, I believe pre-warning the fiancée is a waste of time because for the longest time I was one of the silly ones thinking I was alpha and would not have believed anyone that said different. Little did I know that my wife was in for the long haul and strange things would happen in the future. I'm just sayin'..

    Besides that why break fiancé's spirit early. Ignorance is sometimes bliss.
    Hmmmm, maybe I will let him have his little delusions!

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