Dogs are amazing companions and very loyal animals. However, every dog needs to have an alpha.
You see, dogs actually descended from wolves and though we have domesticated them over the years, more than half of their DNA is still wolf. Wolves are pack animals and so is your dog.
This makes it crucial for you to take up the mantle and be the pack leader of your dog. Getting the necessary dog training is recommended too.
However, being an alpha figure to your dog is a process. There are actions that you will need to take in order to climb that ladder.
Here are some of the things you will need to do for you to be the pack leader:
1. Walk the walk
For you to be an alpha, you need to walk like the leader. You need to have a powerful and authoritative look.
When it comes to dealing with your pet, use a firm voice. Never go down on your knees or be soft when you need to be commanding your dog to sit or stay.
Dogs are very intelligent animals. They will quickly learn that you are the leader when you carry yourself like one. You need to show your dog that you are the boss.
2. Look your dog in the eye
Maintain direct eye contact with your dog when giving him a command. Let him see that you mean business and that disobedience is intolerable.
Always make sure that you look your dog in the eye, it does not matter what breed or size he is.
If he dares to look back at you in a manner that suggests he wants to rebel, give him a firm stare and do not blink until he lowers his eyes.
Your dog will have no choice but to realize your rank in the pack as his alpha.
3. Show some muzzle power
Once in a while, you can show some muzzle power. This does not mean that you literally put a muzzle over your dog’s face.
You can just show dominance by covering the muzzle of your dog’s face just for a few seconds.
It is one of the dominant gestures that dogs recognize which you can use when you are rewarding or petting him. Be gentle when doing this and let it not be a form of punishment.
4. Ignore him sometimes
There are times that your pet will try act in some ways just to annoy you.
For instance, he might decide to jump around in a way he knows you do not like, do the royal ignoring act until he stops.
There is no point in giving him an instruction that you know he will ignore at that particular moment in time. Ignore him until he stops.
5. Establish a routine and stick to it
This should start from the day you bring your dog home. Come up with a routine and stick to it.
As a dog pack leader you need to be orderly. Being the alpha, your dog will have to follow every detail of the routine you have set for him.
You need to have fixed time for meals, potty breaks, naps, walks and outdoor play and also training sessions.
Having a routine is also important because it gives your dog a sense of security and protection.
6. Define your space and let him know it is sacred
Let your dog know that you have boundaries. Your bed is yours alone and not meant for him. This you should train him from the day he comes home as a puppy.
Let him know that there are territories that are completely off limits for him. That way he will know that you are not equals.
7. Never allow growling
As the pack leader, let your dog know that no one growls at an alpha. Never allow your dog to growl at your kids either.
Make him understand that it is unacceptable to growl at you. You can do this by giving him a firm “NO” and let your face reaction show that you are not pleased.
If he happens to be on your lap and growls at you or your kids, put him down immediately and reprimand him for it.
Never be intimidated by his growling, after all you are the pack leader.
8. The alpha comes first
It does not matter whether your dog is a lady, when it comes to following protocol, the alpha comes first.
👉 The alpha comes first through the door. Lead your dog when entering or leaving through doors.
Let him follow you and not the other way round. In case he tries to push you through the door, firmly hold him back. Be silent until he is calm then using a firm voice tell him to wait.
Hold him back and then enter or leave first. Then let your dog follow suit. He has to follow you as his pack leader. Never try the submissive act of moving around him.
Let him register in his mind that you are the alpha and have the right to go first.
ALSO READ: 29 Amazing Facts About Dogs You Need To Know
9. Love, but don’t pamper
You need to love your dog, that is fine, but do not overdo it to a point he is spoilt rotten and can’t obey any command you issue.
Be firm as you show him love. This will make you a firm but friendly alpha that your dog will honor and respect. That is what is known as tough love.
Do not love him too much to a point he can hardly protect himself and even runs away from a squirrel.
10. Do not over pet him
Petting too much can be an issue. Just like I said in the previous point, do it but do not overdo it.
You can pet and hug your furry friend but as an alpha you ought to know that those are acts of subordination.
If you are always cuddling him and carrying your puppy around when you are supposed to be training him to obey your commands, then you are soon going to lose your rank as the dog pack leader.
If he runs to you wagging his tail, do not rush to hug him and start petting him, let him sit down and then go ahead to pet him.
Never go down on your knees while dealing with him. It is an act of submission that does not befit a pack leader.
ALSO READ: 6 Simple Steps to Build Confidence in A Dog
11. Let him earn his treats
Do not just give your dog treats without him earning them.
He needs to know that you are his leader and you only treat him when he does your bidding and not because he looks adorable. If he misbehaves, he gets nothing.
12. Lead your dog by the leash
This is a mistake that many dog owners make. Always lead the leash when walking your dog and not vice-versa.
👉 Your dog should not walk in front of you. Make sure that he walks close to you or besides you.
If he walks an opposite direction, walk the opposite way and tug the leash. Let him be confused for a moment until he looks up at you for guidance. When you get his attention, lead him where you need him to go.
13. Get your dog to show respect
Let your dog know that he is in no position to show disrespect to your family members. If he cant walk on your head, he will try to be the boss of others.
Make sure to train members of your family to say no if need be. You can let them feed him or take him for walks and make sure that they lead and he follows and not the other way round.
This way your dog will learn to show respect to your family members as well and nit just you as the dog pack leader.
14. Be a fair alpha
You need to be a fair leader. If your dog is on the wrong or behaves inappropriately, punish him, if he does your bidding or obeys your commands you need to reward him accordingly.
Have reasonable expectations as a dog pack leader. You ought to show him love if he deserves it and make the right decisions to nurture him and not just show dominance for the sake of it.
15. Training is key
Training is important for any dog. You can train him yourself and still get him a professional dog trainer.
One of the dog training programs that I would recommend is Doggy Dan the online dog trainer.
Doggy Dan has worked with and trained thousands of dog owners and has helped their dogs be well behaved. It does not matter how stubborn your dog is because with doggy Dan you can actually teach an old dog new tricks.
You will also benefit and get more skill on how to handle and manage your dog. He does command training, potty training among many other kinds of trainings.
He will also definitely help you learn how to show dominance over your dog and be a good dog pack leader.
In conclusion, being a dog pack leader requires patience, persistence and above all good leadership qualities.
There are things that as an alpha you should not do or show like being indecisive, treating your pet as your equal, subjecting your dog to physical punishment which will make him even more stubborn, losing control and being unnecessarily harsh.
Being a good dog pack leader is all about being in charge and commanding respect and obedience.