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What is Alpha Dog Syndrome?

Last updated 6 years ago

Dogs need to have an alpha (a leader) and if you don’t establish this position in your home then your pet may become pushy and uncontrollable. At the root of most behaviour problems is alpha dog syndrome. This problem is not necessarily about the dog itself, but instead it is a problem with the environment or relationship between the dog and its owner.

Ways to prevent alpha dog syndrome

Alpha dog syndrome can be prevented and corrected through dog obedience training. First, establish boundaries with your dog; work on eye contact with them by tracing a line from theirs to yours and saying ‘look’. You can reward your pet with treats; however, this should only be done when it is earned by obeying your command (given once in a low, firm tone).

Ensure that you control the territory, for example, if your dog is lying in your way don’t walk around it, but instead get it to move aside.  Whenever you leave the house or car enter and exit before your dog by commanding them to ‘wait’ so that you go first. The alpha in a pack also always eats first so feed your dog after finishing your own meal.

Playing with your furry friend is lots of fun but during this behaviour rehabilitation period only play games that you can control and that your dog can’t win. If you play tug-of-war or fetch make them drop the toy at your command. Don’t play chase, even if you are faster than your dog because their endurance is probably higher than yours.

Always remember to be firm but not harsh with your pet, be gentle and consistent and alpha dog syndrome will disappear. It won’t happen overnight but if you stick to the programme and are patient you will see significant changes.

It is also important to remember that dogs need a lot of love and attention, so if they are showing signs of bad behaviour it doesn’t hurt to give them some extra attention. For dog boarding with the pet experts, contact Samford Pet Resort on (07) 3188 0934.


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