which dog is alpha?
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Thread: which dog is alpha?

  1. #1
    Senior Member drfong's Avatar
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    which dog is alpha?

    How do you tell which dog is the alpha of a pack. I watch my 2 all the time and can't figure it out. Brady seems very laid back and Molly is very aggressive. If I give them both bones, she will usually end up both. After a few times of giving one back to him they usually sit and chew on their own. They eat out of the same bowl and He usually eats first. When they are running around chasing each other, he usually is the one leading and she is chasing. As long as she keeps following he will run all over. If she stops he comes back and gets her to start up again and she chases. There doesn't seem to be a clear leader. When we walk on a leash she usually noses ahead of him, but not always. She is more possessive. If she has a toy/bone and he comes around sometimes she growls but he will never growl over stuff. There just seems to be conflicting signals. Also, can 2 dogs have different roles with different people. My wife always does things with Molly first. I usually do with Brady first. It doesn't seem to be causing any bad behaviors between them.

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    Senior Member ThxForNothing's Avatar
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    Well, hopefully, you are the alpha and this is why it's hard to tell. Not sure though.. this was just a random thought of mine.
    Punish The Deed,
    Not The Breed.

    BSL Solves NOTHING.


  4. #3
    Senior Member drfong's Avatar
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    I agree with that, and try hard to practice it, but I'm sure they have a pecking order also.

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    Senior Member ThxForNothing's Avatar
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    I would have to say that the female sounds more alpha than the male. But I could be wrong, it's hard to say without seeing them in action IRL.. ya know?
    Punish The Deed,
    Not The Breed.

    BSL Solves NOTHING.


  6. #5
    Senior Member opokki's Avatar
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    A while back I was trying to figure this out too. My dogs eat together, usually at the same time and don't mind sharing food from each others bowls. On walks Natalie is almost always ahead and Sebastian is right behind her. He often marks over her urine in the yard and outside of the home. He has urinated on her while she was urinating several times. Previously he sometimes tried to prevent her from getting on the couch, she would either avoid getting on or just jump up into his space if she really wanted to get up there. They frequently share a dog bed, laying side by side.

    I decided that Sebastian would make a terrible leader. He is way too anxious, inconfident and unstable. If anything, he is just an alpha wanna-be. Natalie is pretty confident but I don't think she cares about status much.

    Personally, I think don't think hierarchies are always stable in pet dogs. I beleive that they can change depending on the circumstances, on how important a resource or opportunity is to a dog at a specific time. Maybe this is why some of us see such conflicting signals? Or maybe its because there is usually an alpha male AND and alpha female? There seems to be much debate regarding social hierarchies in pet dogs.
    The living conditions that wild dogs or wolves must survive in are so much different than that of pet dogs. Hunting and breeding seem to be of high importance in the wild but successful hunting and breeding isn't much of an issue since many pet dogs are altered and are provided with a plentiful food source, which they do not need to form a pack in order to obtain.
    Vanessa


    Natalie, CGC, TDI

  7. #6
    Senior Member bigdawgs's Avatar
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    Which one tends to start fights? That would not be the alpha. Which one licks the other ones face? That would not be the alpha. Will try to think of more.
    Unaltered dogs are at greater health risks, including some cancers. Please spay or neuter your pet!!

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    OK just a few tips for you guys The alpha dog typically eats first, walks through doorways, up stairs etc first, the alpha gets to sleep in the best spot ie the couch or it can even be their idea of the best spot the corner of the room with some tile or something. Some of it is the dogs preferences...and to make things more complicated at my household with a pack of 13 dogs the alpha doesn't always stay the same dog and two or three of them get alpha roll in different scenarios. IE one of them always gets the toys first and another one always gets the food first...they work it out between themselves. The key is for the humans to be the complete alpha and let them work it out between themselves. Hope this helps. Here is an article on humans being the alpha http://www.lakeeffectpets.com/alpha.htm
    Kara L. VanDenBerg
    Lake Effect Pet Training
    http://www.lakeeffectpets.com
    Free dog training tips, cat training tips, articles, breed information, and various pet information by a professional animal behaviorist. We have many items available to purchase to benefit rescue.

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    Neither of them is alpha. Many people mis-associate dominance with an alpha dog. I have had 30 plus dogs thru my home in the past 2 years (fosters) and ONE of them was an alpha.

    Also, pack dynamics change throughout the day, based on who is present as well as the situation. So while one is dominant with food, the other may be dominant with attention.

    You will know a true alpha dog when you see one. Neither of these two are. All an alpha dog has to do is give a look, and the others fall in line regardless of the situation. There is no snarling, growling, or barking. Simply a presence.

    ETA that DOMINANCE is also commonly mis-associated when truly the problem is lack of training.
    Last edited by OwnedBySix; 07-09-2006 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  10. #9
    Senior Member opokki's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by OwnedBySix
    Neither of them is alpha. Many people mis-associate dominance with an alpha dog. I have had 30 plus dogs thru my home in the past 2 years (fosters) and ONE of them was an alpha.

    Also, pack dynamics change throughout the day, based on who is present as well as the situation. So while one is dominant with food, the other may be dominant with attention.

    You will know a true alpha dog when you see one. Neither of these two are. All an alpha dog has to do is give a look, and the others fall in line regardless of the situation. There is no snarling, growling, or barking. Simply a presence.

    ETA that DOMINANCE is also commonly mis-associated when truly the problem is lack of training.
    Excellent post!
    Vanessa


    Natalie, CGC, TDI

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