You understood me perfectly.
I ve always been feeding/ pet/ give treats/ attention first to my alpha but have never approved/ignored a bad or pushy behavior. Always taken care of making them respect their spaces.
However I am now a bit worried because, a week ago we had an incident. It was their lunch time and the eldest dogs were eating in the living room while the youngest were eating in the kitchen. While they were eating, the Amazon guy rang the buzzer and I went to answer. At that very moment my two males started to fight. The fact is that I didn’t see who started first. But the youngest one was next to the door, I guess because of the buzzer ( which also happens to be the place where I feed the old ones). So they had two triggers, the door, on one side ( to which they have always reacted very well) and the food on the other side ( here what I guess that happened is that the younger one went to the door and the older one thought he had to protect his food.
After I broke the fight everybody went to their corresponding places. However, I am now worried because today, the young one has tried to approach the old one’s bed that is located on the left side of our bed, whereas his own bed is in front of ours.
Of course this act of his has not been allowed and he has been immediately sent to his place.
Maybe I m wrong but I feel like the fight has made him realize how powerful he is and he is now trying to defy the older one.
What is also weird is that the old one does not want to sleep at my side anymore and prefers to go where the rest of the dog beds.
So my dilema is the following:
Should I Let the old one sleep where he wants to or should I make him stay next to me reaffirming so his status?
I m sure that if i let him go, the youngest one will not lose his opportunity of making himself comfortable beside me.
I wouldn’t like to change their bed positions but I don’t know if I will eventually have to.
thank you very much for answering.
Also, if you have a completely different approach I would love to hear it.
Btw, what breeds do you have in your pack?
If by 'supporting your Alpha' you mean that you always feed, pet, give treats/attention, or whatever to him first, I'd suggest you stop worrying so much about some social hierarchy that you deem important, and simply look more closely at your dogs' individual behavior & reward (with food, attention, etc...) them for acting & responding in the way you want, regardless of what status you've designated them with.
Allowing (or worse, rewarding) rude or pushy behavior out of an individual dog in the group simply because you've decided he's the 'Alpha' and should act that way simply leads the other dogs to act pushy or rude, because (obviously, to them) it seems that's the way to get good stuff.
For example - If I'm going to dole out treats to my four dogs I expect them to sit & wait politely for their treat to be handed to them. Whoever sits the quickest gets the first cookie (regardless if I felt that was an Alpha dog or not) Same with mealtimes - I feed them in whatever order is most convenient for me. There is no 'stealing' of toys or chews allowed by any of the dogs - rude, pushy behavior is NOT tolerated between them & I support all dogs equally in this. If one is lying quietly on a bed & another tries to smash in & shove the other one out, I redirect the second one to a different resting place (unless I already know that those two don't mind snuggling/sharing the space)
In other words, simply reward the behavior you want to see & don't worry about status or think that your dogs are worried about status. They're not - they're worried about getting the good stuff, and since you have the opposable thumbs, you are in control of that.
PS - If I have misinterpreted your situation & this is NOT what's going on, then please forgive me & disregard my advice.