Dogs derived from wolves and even though they have adapted a lot through co-evolution with human beings and learned our ways of living, they still view the world and the society they live in through dogs’ eyes. Because they are dogs and not humans. And they judge us according to their own parameters. Dogs love to live in a clearly defined hierarchy. They look up to the so-called „Alpha“, the pack leader, a term that often is misunderstood in dog training. Especially with dominance training methods, which are very popular and big business (just think of Cesar Milan) the term the mighty „Alpha boss“ is often misinterpreted in the wrong way.
The Alpha dog, the leader of the pack is not just a powerful dog who dominates all others through sheer body force, behaves like a badass macho, and bullies others, by demanding everyone else to obey its wishes and follow its lead. Any group of dogs or group of dogs with humans is comprised of Alphas, Betas, and Omegas. Alphas can be male or female, they rule the pack. A certain number of Betas follow them and are usually the communicators in a pack transmitting information from the leader in front to the omegas in the back and the other way around. Omegas follow everyone and are generally at the bottom of the order.
In the dog world being the Alpha is actually something like a job and whoever maintains this position serves as a role model for others. But similar to the human world, not everyone is a natural born leader nor has what it needs to lead others. If in a human-canine relationship, the dogs see their human as utterly incompetent as being a leader, as they are neither calm nor assertive and do not display leadership characteristics, they usually step up and try to take over the command. And this often leads to a lot of issues and problems, especially if the dog is not a natural-born leader. Dogs pulling their human on the leash during the daily walk, or reacting aggressively towards other dogs to scare them away, as they don’t trust that their human is able to protect him/herself, are just a few examples of leadership gone wrong.
In nature, the Alpha, often the father or mother is the one who leads the way, and who checks out certain situations if there is a danger ahead for the group and puts itself in the line of fire to save the pack from harm. The pack leader knows what it has to do, all of its decisions are clearly communicated, and there is no debate, no hesitation, no fear, no wavering. The leader of the pack makes a decision and the other pack members follow as they clearly understand and know that whatever their leader decides is best for all of them.
To allow the leader of the pack to fulfill his job, the pack agrees to certain rules. The Alpha dog always eats first, getting the most nutritious parts of hunted prey, because it has to be the strongest in order to lead the group. The pack leader gets its preferred place to sleep, mostly higher up than the others as it has to always keep an eye on everything. A pack leader never thinks of its own advantage but always looks out for the wellness of his following.
Same as in the human world not everyone is fit to become the leader of a group. While in our mentally perverted human world, we tend to accept all kinds of totally corrupt, false, and misleading people as our leaders, because they show off with money or influence and we tend to believe their lies, its impossible to convince a dog to obey and accept a false Alpha as their leader. Dogs are able to look through the outer shell and establish in an instant if you are truthful to yourself and others and thus if you are in charge or not, no matter what the situation is.
Signs you are a natural-born pack leader
– Your dog will be looking for you for protection by letting you face anything dangerous on the other side of the door. In other words, it will be looking up to you because in its mind you with all your calm and assertive energy are perfectly capable of protecting it and it respects that you are in charge.
– Dogs are incredibly social animals. They shower people they like with love and affection. Hugs, licks, and kisses are very common and they like to simply be around you. It can be at times a bit tiresome that whenever I go into another room, some of my dogs choose to follow me, but I see it as a sign of respect and appreciate it instead of intervening. Whatever the form of affection is, affection giving is always a sign that you are being looked upon.
– In the household, you decide when it’s time for your dog to eat, and what to eat. You’ll notice that it doesn’t jump and steal food from your plate. It will wait patiently for its mealtime or for table scraps but still try to convince you with its big eyes that it is hungry and starving.
– If you are the pack leader, respected by your dogs, you have the ability to discipline your dogs with just one look. Eyes are the windows to your soul and in an instant, the dog knows when you mean business.
– A dog who respects you will not bark or growl at you when you come home, will not chase you when you ride by it on your bicycle, or piss on you when you are sitting on the floor, which I have observed with some dogs of my clients.
Read here my post about dispelling the alpha dog myth!