An Alpha Dog is like John Travolta

Alpha Dog Behavior

For those of you who didn’t see the comedy movie ” Get Shorty ” you’re not going to understand the reference. Sorry about that ! An alpha or dominant dog is EXACTLY like the character John Travolta played “Chili Palmer” in the movie, Get Shorty.  In the movie John Travolta plays a mob guy that is quite, calm, collected, the toughest guy around that doesn’t get excited or reactive to situations around him. He will try to avoid unnecessary confrontations when faced with them, but has no problem handling the problem if he has to.

Aggressive Dominant Dog ?

This is precisely how a alpha dog acts. They don’t growl, bark or act possessed when they are in unfamiliar situations or while meeting unfamiliar people or other dogs. The dogs that are often labeled by some dog trainers as dominant or aggressive. Are usually the nervous to very nervous dogs, that are acting out as big as they can in an attempt to scare away what they are afraid of.

Alpha dogs are calm, alpha dogs are calm, alpha dogs are calm.

The Spirit Dog

© 2011 a.s.papszycki

Visit Spirit Animal Sanctuary on YouTube.


Some Dog Bites are Not Dog Bites

I just got off the phone with one of the New Jersey animal rescue organizations that Spirit Animal Sanctuary, has helped in the past. They called me to ask how their two girls we have are enjoying the snow so far and to talk about a dog they recently pulled that was on the euth list. The dog they were talking about is a happy-go-lucky leash grabber, during walks. In this particular instance, a less than knowledgeable volunteer was walking the dog when the dog  jumped up to grab the leash and inadvertently grabbed the volunteers hand as well. This freaked the volunteer out who immediately returned the dog to shelter staff, saying he bit me. Because of the dogs playful exuberance there was scraps that did break the skin, so the dog was put into mandatory quarantine for observation before being put to sleep.

We have a couple of dogs here at the sanctuary, that in all probability have bite records against them because  nobody ever taught them how to use their mouth gently during play. This is one area were we should take the time to teach those less experienced individuals (even though they think they have a lot of dog experience), the difference between to rough play bites and real bites. And it’s real easy to tell the difference. Does the dog have a happy face and eye’s, when he grabs you or not. It really is that easy and hopefully you can accurately tell the difference, between play and not play.

Here’s to hoping more people get it, so less dogs are euthanized.


The Spirit Dog

Spirit Animal Sanctuary
2539 East Road
Boonville, New York 13309

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Dangerous Dogs and Kids

Did you know that a Poodle is three times more likely to bite your child than a Rottweiler ? And that the cute and adorable Pekingese, bites kids twice as often as Doberman Pinchers do? How about Retrievers, these high energy dogs, are almost at the top of the list.

I’m not trying to scare you away from any specific breed of dog, because I love them all and every dog with the proper guidance and understanding can be a great dog. I’m just trying to make you aware that every dog big and small, can and will bite someone often times that someone is a child.

The above breakdowns and statistics are available form the American Academy of Pediatrics, at this link :

If you need free dog behavior advice, leave a comment or email me. My email address can be found on the left sidebar, above the link.

The Spirit Dog

Fear Aggression, The Socializing of Smokey

This here is Smokey, or Smoke Stacks. Smokey came to Spirit Animal Sanctuary because of severe fear aggression towards people, that made it impossible for the rescue organization to safely adopt him out.

Some day I will shoot a video to show you exactly how I do this stuff. And the stuff I’m talking about is how I relax a nervous dog and gain their trust.

I shot this video the second day Smokey was with us.

And remember kiddies, this is a no flooding zone. Flooding is a training technique used by individuals that know nothing about animal behavior.

The Spirit Dog

Oops , Didn’t Mean to Bite Ya

I received a comment on another post that I thought was a link for someone’s affiliate site, after checking it out I found not an affiliate site but a site with some of the most interesting pictures I have ever seen… Check them out,

Thanks Joaquin45

The Spirit Dog

The Point Of The Previous Behavior Post

The point of the previous behavior post, is, many dog owners are taught that eating before your dog or making them wait for their food is one of the many requirements for establishing yourself as your dogs alpha.

If you feel the need to train your dog to wait for his treats or food, that’s all well and good. Just as long as you understand that this training exercise (teaching a dog to wait to eat) is NOT going to teach him that you are the boss. The only thing that’s going to teach your dog is how to wait for his food. Nothing more, nothing less.

The problem is, many people after going through and accomplishing the routine of teaching their dog to wait, now believe that they have established themselves as their dogs alpha.

Can anybody tell me what the inherent problem with this way of thinking is ? (Hint- it’s about the dogs future.)

The Spirit Dog

copyright © 2009 a.s.papszycki

Reading a Dogs Body Language The Bite Emotion

You gotta love YouTube, here’s another video I saw sometime ago and recently found again, that’s important for you to see. Reading a dogs body language is nice if you can do it, but reading a dogs emotions is the key to stopping all unwanted behaviors.

The dogs emotion precedes the easily observable body language. When you watch this video what I want you to pay close attention to is the dogs eyes, this is where you can read the dogs emotions before you see the body language.

This video is 2:58 long, I would like you to watch the video in it’s entirely first. Then watch it again, and pause it at 32 seconds into the video and take a close look at the dogs eyes. This animal is clearly not comfortable with this reporter that close to him. If you look at the K-9 officer at that the same time, the officer is looking at his dog yet this trained animal professional couldn’t tell that his dog was uncomfortable and it was just a matter of time before he bit the reporter.

This is clear by listening to the officer describe the events leading up to the bite. He said “Pedro (the K-9 dog) was doing great, everything was fine and as it should of been”. This is not a criticism of the officer, this is meant to educate you in how to read a dogs emotions. If this trained animal professional missed it, you can be sure that most likely your going to miss it also. This is where the saying “the dog bite came out of nowhere” comes from. We didn’t read the dogs emotions of  “please get away from me or please stop it your making me nervous”. While some dogs still will not bite you after having this look in their eyes, many other dogs will.

Back to the video for a second, pretty much the entire time that the reporter is next to the dog the dog doesn’t want him to be there. And when the reporter leaned over to kiss the dog, the dog finally freaked out and bit him. The dog bit him not because the reporter leaned over him in what is commonly described (erroneously I might add) as a dominant position. The dog bit him because he held it together for as long as he could before losing it and saying “get the f♦ck away from me”.

Please pay attention to the dogs eyes, this is the same exact look most dogs give before biting either a person or another animal.

The Spirit Dog

Copyright © 2009 A.S.Papszycki
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