Misguided Alpha Dog Training Methods Do They Work

Dog Training Your Way To alphadom

The first thing you gotta understand is, an alpha is an alpha, plain and simple. They lead the pack by being the toughest bastard in the group. That is their only prerequisite for being the boss. The reason why I bring this up is, to many dog trainers and behaviorists adhere to these totally bizarre alpha dog principles. That somehow make sense to us humans, but assuredly makes absolutely no sense to dogs. Sadly these trainers have learned this from somebody else, who learned it from somebody else and so on and so forth. They should have really paid more attention to the dogs themselves. The following are some examples, of the very bad advice some trainers teach on learning how to be the alpha.

(1)-  Dogs eat after humans.. ( Alphas don’t always eat first, when they get hungry they’ll wander over to whoever is eating something and with their body language will say, ” U dun wit dat”. Not really asking them, more or less telling them. It’s a Brooklyn thing.)

(2)- Humans go through doorways first.. ( Alphas are not usually in a rush to get anywhere, the dogs that run out first are normally the younger or more excitable dogs. That’s like saying your kids are trying to show dominance over you, by running out the door first.)

(3)- Dogs sleep on the floor, not on your bed. ( For the most part dogs like sleeping together, with their boss.  Whether you like having your dogs sleep with you or not, is your choice. Does sleeping with your dogs build a better bond ? In some cases yes but not necessarily, the depth of your bond has more to do with how you interact with your dog.)

(4)- Games, such as fetch must only be started and ended by the human. ( I’m not even going to say anything about this stupid shit, I would like you to tell me what’s wrong with this.)  I just can’t wait, if you don’t throw the ball…….

(5)- Never allow your dog on furniture. ( Dogs like comfortable stuff, just like we do. The logic of this one, just has to make you laugh. I can see your dog laying on your couch thinking to himself,)

The King

The King

(6)- Your dog can only go to the bathroom in one spot, and no sniffing. ( We’re talking about outside here, not in your house. how does this even seem logical to some people.)

No wonder so many dog trainers fail the dogs that they were hired to help. I say they fail the dogs and not their owners, because the dogs are the ones that are going to pay for those failures, with their life.

The Spirit Dog

Read This Before Hiring A Dog Trainer / Behaviorist

Dog Training, Finding the Perfect Dog Trainer

Copyright © 2008 The Spirit Dog, A.S.Papszycki


8 Responses

  1. […] Alpha Dog Training Principles, what the $%^@# ! […]

  2. […] Alpha Dog Training Principles, what the $%^@# ! […]

  3. Hello M.A.,

    Some dogs do well at training facilities, other dogs not so well. If there are other training classes near you or other dog trainers, try a couple of them until your comfortable with someone. As far as all the “rules” are concerned with who’s first for this or that, follow what you like and don’t follow what you don’t like. A good trainer should be able to adapt to you and your dogs specific needs.

  4. Hi Spirit Dog,
    I have a Boxer 3.5 months old. I don’t follow that rule that dog need to eat after owner, My only rule about food in the house is that people don’t give him food from the table, and as result he never try to ask for food when we are eating. When exiting the house I never before paid attention on who is going through the door first, and I don’t think that puppy is doing that ether, only if he sees something interesting outside than he will try to pull, but not because of exiting first, it is because he want to reach for something. So if we (people) start to focus on that: “Who is going through the door first, don’t we actually give them idea that we need to “compete” who will get through that door first?
    The reason why I’m posting here is because I got a bit confused today with training my dog.
    For last two months I have trained him myself. Today for the first time we went to professional dog trainer. The thinks that I have teach him is: Sit, down, hello (give paw), touch, wait (that one is so-so). The way that I have teach him is first to call his name, and if he don’t look at me tell him to look at me, and then give him the prise and next order that I want him to do. Today as we were with trainer – he was in totally different environment, and his attention was very low, so I needed to tell him several times to look at me before I could tell him what to do. Each time when I said look at me I touch his nose gently. I got corrected for doing that by the trainer, because as he said dog need to pay attention to me 100%.,and I agree with that, but I need to say that when we are at home (in his environment), by just opening the press where we are holding his treats, I got his attention 10000%. I know that he should pay attention to me equally everywhere – but he is just a puppy.
    Now I’m getting there, to what confuse me:
    I don’t believe into slapping the dogs – I think that firm NO with finger is just enough with puppies.
    So trainer asks me what we do when in a game he starts to bites.
    My answer was that I took one of his toys and get his attention on that toy (and that always works) – pooling the toys or fetching the toys is equally fun, and he totally forgets that previously he wanted to play biting game.
    But I got corrected for that – Trainer told me that what alpha dog will do is bites the puppy, so what I need to do is slap him back harder than he bite me. And as I said previously I don’t believe in slapping dogs and especially not puppies.
    That was one of my confusion.
    He also told me about all that alpha rules that you have listed, except for fetching rule – he actually told me to If playing the pooling game let him win – I like that one .
    Other think that I didn’t like was that dog shouldn’t be feed before training (15 O’clock)
    My puppy is a boxer, and they are super-active dogs. If you give him a dog he will play with that dog until you move the dog from him, he can’t imagine to lie down (unless he need to) when dog is there to play with.
    But today when we were there he was totally dead dog. Didn’t want to do anything, he would just lie down and roll in the grass, play with himself. I never saw him like that before. The moment when we were back home he actually run into the house, and then he starts to play.
    Usually when we are out he never play with him self – He will expect from you to play with him (by throwing the ball or stick), or if dogs are around with them.
    Can be possible that dog have something against that place?
    If I don’t agree with some technique that trainer is telling me – do I need to follow them?
    There was a dog 1.5 year old that was perfectly trained – Do I really need to follow all the rules that trainer told me to achieve that?
    O, yes there is one more think that I didn’t like about trainer. He told us a story how he trained his dog and because dog didn’t do well in competition he is trying to give him away.
    This school have some courses that I would like my dog to go through when he is ready. But now I’m not sure because of the way how my dog behaved, and because of some thinks that I didn’t agree with trainer.
    As this is my first puppy, I’m not sure if I’m over-reacting.
    Should I continue with this school, or try to find another one?

    Sorry for bad English.


  5. Technically if you really wanted to be an alpha dog in the true sense of the meaning, you would pay absolutely no attention to your underlings. Unless of course you are about to put them in their place.

    That in a nut shell is why alpha dog training is useless in all but the most extreme circumstances.

  6. Yes its Abbey.. and no havnt checked photos but will, I was content reading past posts for a while…

    I get frustrated when some take this alpha to the last letter… that some seem to loose touch with the fact you have your dog as a companion, to enjoy.

    I am confident in being the alpha with my children, my dogs, and with my work kids but that is through them seeing I am self assured, have set boundaries and limmits.

    Working with teens is so similar to working with dogs. Although they are all different, they all work best with structure and boundaries. Each child I have is exposed to 20 different workers (trainers) who all have different methods, but all have the same rules. I would liken my work kids to strays from the pound, they’ve seen the worse of human behaviour and have learnt maladaptive ways to cope/live, I ‘retrain’ them…

    Sorry got off the track there…I guess my point was, I liked this post as I see so many say ‘well my trainer said do it this way so I better’ without taking into account, their dog, the breed, the ‘pack’ they have at home.

    I dont know if there are any studies but I would suggest that the type of leader you are is reflected in your dog. My own personality is laid back, relaxed very little stresses me, my home enviornment is quiet, relaxed. I think this is reflected in Chels being such a laid back dog (even at 10months). I have a girlfriend who is hyper and her dogs a stressed out thing…

    You ask if the kids benefit.. I have a girl who is an ‘Emo’ she wont talk or respond with body language, facial expression. This had gone on for 6weeks. They were testing her for cognitive disorders. I had Chels here at 10pm and asked her to mind her as I was busy on a phone call… gave it 1/2hour and peeked… she was playing, smiling, softly giggling on the floor with the dog… At midnight I went to get Ches who was curled asleep in her arms, both on the floor….

    Chels does in 1/2 an hour what no amount of counselling/medication or human intervention can do…

  7. Hello Abbey ( It is Abbey isn’t it ?)

    Chelsea is beautiful . I am very happy to hear you are not your dog, although often we mistakenly try to train our dogs by what makes sense to us. That will only work with the most easiest of dogs.

    Let you in on a little secret, if you really know dog behavior, you then know all dog behavior. From Chihuahuas to German Shepherds to Coyotes to Great Danes to Poodles to Wolves and Dingos. They are all wild to start off, it’s our ability to socialize, train and communicate with our dogs that determines how they turn out.
    ( Did you check out my photo page)

    You mention your a social worker helping out teens, I’m sure that you have learned that to be able to reach these youths, you have to be creative, intelligent and intuitive in your approach to each and every child. If you took the same cookie cutter( do you guys say that down there ?) approach with every child, you would have more failures than successes. We must learn to apply the same principles to dog training.

    ( And yes, I know reaching a child can be much more difficult than reaching a dog. But I needed an analogy you would understand.)

    Also, you must work in a wonderful place having managers that will encourage unique approaches. The kids must really benefit from this.

    Anyway, feel free to use ANYTHING you like off my blog, pictures also. I do this to give people a better understanding of canine behavior, in the hopes of saving dogs lives.

    You have a wonderful day.


  8. I was wondering if you mind me reposting this article? I agree that what my trainer says makes sense re the things you do to be the alpha of my pack, but Im not my dog..lol so what you write makes sense from her point of view…I also know I dont know about wild dog behaviour to make an informed choice…

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