Dog dominance and a misunderstanding of exactly how a dog sees the world will lead to major problems for any family who wishes to own an alpha dog. Dominance issues occur with both large and small dogs. Any time a dog thinks it holds the alpha position in the family, disputes will erupt that may prove dangerous to the humans involved. Even a small dog can seriously injure a child.
Humans often view their pet dog as a family member. They think it should be loving and sweet at all times but this is rarely the case with dominate dogs, especially males. A dominate dog only sees the world through the eyes of a pack member. Its entire mind set is a pack mentality that is far removed from a human family. Certain dog breeds, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Akita, Giant Schnauzers, Malinois, Rottweilers and Bouvier de Flanders often view the world only through the eyes of a pack dog. A dog pack resembles a wolf pack.
A wolf pack is lead by one breeding pair of wolves. The male and female wolves that head the pack are the most dominate in personality. This does not mean they fight every day with pack members but they do control the environment through posturing, attitude and displays of fierceness.
A dominate dog in a family begins to view the family members as pack members.Each one holds a rank within the pack with the dominate dog leading the pack. The dominate dog eats first, sleeps on the bed, lays on the couch, gets the choice toys and always comes out on top over the pack members. A lowly pack member never questions the dominate dog’s right to all the benefits of life. This means that the humans must never question the dog’s right to its dominate position in the home environment. If the human does the dominate dog will growl or may even bite to show its dominance. This is a dangerous situation for children or anyone who lets their dog lead the family.
A human family who decides to share their lives with a dog that is capable of dominance must always retain leadership of the pack. The dog should never be allowed on the bed or on furniture. The owner should always be able to touch the dog’s food without being growled at. The human controls the dog’s food and the dog does not control its food.
Within a family unit a dominate dog may only respect one dominate member of the family and all other members are simply the pack. This means that children are viewed by the dog as pack members and a weak spouse may also be seen as a pack member. This is a very serious situation that can prove dangerous. The dog must never be allowed to view itself over the human family members.
Male dogs who reach sexual maturity without being neutered pose the greatest risk of developing a dominate personality. All dogs kept in a family home should be neutered to reduce the risk of dominance issues. The dog should also receive early obedience training.
Dog training that does not focus on correction is rarely effective with a dominate dog. Head halters do not work to adequately teach obedience to dominate breeds. Clicker training is also ineffective for a dominate male. It is imperative that the dog learn that the owner’s command is law. It must never challenge the command. To challenge the owner’s command is a step towards the dog taking control of the pack in its eyes. In the dog’s eyes, to question the command is to exert its dominance. This is unacceptable and should never be tolerated.
Anyone who wants to own a dog that has the capability of becoming dominate should focus all the dog’s early training on establishing leadership within the family. The dog should learn how to be crated, it should always respect the owner’s right to control all food and toys, it should never be allowed to think that it is on the same level as the owner in any avenue of the family environment and food aggression should never be allowed to occur. If the owner is incapable of controlling a dominate dog it should be placed back with the breeder or with someone who can handle a dog with such a mentality. A dominate dog allowed to remain in a family home is a ticking time bomb that will inevitably explode.