German Shepherd Dog > being the "alpha"? (29 replies)
by aaykay on 19 December 2011 - 15:48
|I think we are keeping on circling back to the "Human Alpha" rubbish again, IMO. I absolutely don't deny that there is a leader in a pack of dogs, which is termed as "alpha" or whatever.....no debate from me on that. But if one were to put a bunch of animals together, including a couple of dogs, a couple of tame tigers, a couple of domestic cats and a couple of people, every species pair would think similarly, while the members who don't belong to that species would think entirely differently.......in other words, the thoughts/actions are species specific |
The tigers (who in turn can uniquely communicate amongst themselves even from large distances, without any other member of this diverse group knowing how they do that) clearly knows that the rest of the members of this group are not tigers.......he/she is simply not going to look at any other member as an alpha or beta or theta or whatever. The dogs in the group would quickly come to an arrangement amongst themselves (while seamlessly communicating amongst themselves with their dog sounds - audible and otherwise), with one of them assigned as the leader/alpha....and so on. The dog is not going to look at the ferocious tiger as the "alpha", regardless of the fact that the tiger can despatch the dog without even batting an eyelid.....they just are not communicating at the same level.
The dog looks upon the human, his owner who feeds and takes care of him, as his master, and not as an alpha or beta or theta or whatever. Yes, he will look to the human for guidance, when he has questions on what to do etc.,....but that has nothing to do with Alpha or Beta or Theta or whatever but just the fact that he has accepted the human as his master (a unique relationship that has been forged over 10s of 1000s of years).....definitely not the "alpha/follower" type arrangement that dogs will come to amongst other dogs.
I think when I see fellows pretending to be a dog and crawling on the ground in front of their dog and so on (supposedly trying to make a doggy point to the dog !), the dog (for whose benefit the human is behaving in such a manner) is laughing uproariously and wondering what the hell is happening.....has my master gone bonkers ? Further the dog thinks: okay, I will wait for him to recover from his crazy fit, and become my normal human master again. :-)
by Hudson2012 on 19 December 2011 - 16:06
|I believe in guiding your dog and having your dog look to you for direction. You dog should protect your home and you and let you know when people are there, but they should never show aggression and this is when you have to step in and tell them when is enough, and that you now have control of the situation. Otherwise, they will assume control and become territorial and over-possessive of you. A dog should never "guard" you from friends and family members, or anyone else in society for that matter unless they are acting like a threat, and for this the dog must be trained properly.|
I think there has to be a line where you can step in and stop the dog from staying in the territorial mind and make him go into a greeting frame of mind, so that people can be welcomed into your home and enjoy your dog's manners.
I dont think you have to "dominate" your dog, but I do know you have to give clear direction and set rules for him/her, and provide mental stimulation and exercise of course. I think you need to have a good relationship based on mutual trust and respect where you have the last word in any matter. lol Just my opinion, all of our dogs turned out great.
by aaykay on 19 December 2011 - 16:13
|Alboe2009.....I completely agree that within a pack of dogs or wolves or even Lions, there is a clear pack order (a social structure so to say), with a designated leader/alpha and the rest of the members of the pack have clearly designated roles to play in the running of the pack. I have absolutely no disagreement with that.|
Where I disagree is when people start assigning other humans as the "pack alpha" etc. The human is a human, as far as the dog is concerned. The dog clearly knows that the human is his owner and caretaker but that has nothing to do with treating him/her as an "alpha", like dogs (or wolves or Hyenas or Wild-dogs) do within a pack of other dogs (or wolves or Hyenas or wild dogs). The ridiculous theories around this concept is what I disagree with.
by Kevlar on 19 December 2011 - 21:31
|aakay you should see the Ceaser Millan episode where a bird, cat, and two dogs had a pack in a woman's house. She had a very hard time controlling her dogs behavior however the bird didn't have a problem controlling the dog. Ceaser pointed out how the bird was controlling the dogs behavior. So multiple species that are pack animals that have been all raised and socialized together since birth will form a pack with a leader and followers. Humans are the same. A dog thinking of a human as a "master" is a very human way of thinking and that is where we as people go wrong in treating our dogs... thinking that they think like humans. I am not suggesting you growl at your dog or roll around on the ground with them or whatever else it is you are talking about. The bird in the episode didn't growl at the dog... the bird controlled the dog as a bird does and that is what humans also should do.|
by destiny4u on 20 December 2011 - 01:44
|I have seen many aggressive alpha cats and some very aggressive birds like the odd geese dominate some dogs through nasty aggression if the dog doesnt listen the cat will smack and claw the living crap out of it i had a siamese and a tortie that did that to our dogs but it wont work on a high drive german shpehrd with strong aggression. Ive seen other peoples cats and other pets control dogs this way also its more the dog thinks the other animal is stronger or superior or something and lets that animal have its way. Ive seen aggressive geese do it dogs also lol im sure a smart parrot can dominate some dogs also. Hell a pet crow could do it also i bet. Just depends on the invidual dog they are dominating.|
by alboe2009 on 20 December 2011 - 02:35
|Whew! We're going everywhere on this thread. I'm seeing three to four issues/topics; For me I am amazed how a group of us has "IT" and a few of us don't. Yes, we are entitled to opinions and yes we can debate. I'm not into debating till we disagree on everything or anything that is said.|
aakay, I have no problem with you disagreeing but your last entry in my eyes is agreeing and disagreeing to the same point. First! majority of poster's comments are to the original OP. Somewhere along the lines some posters have commented/interjected on other things. OP's topic; Alpha or Alpha Leader.
So we're not talking of Beta, theta or whatever. We are talking of the ALPHA, pack leader, Number one honcho. I have no idea how things turned over/into aggressiveness, possessiveness or putting multiple species together or multiple species with humans together? But aakay, on that note there is a story, a book. It's a true story and I believe the name of the book is "The Long Journey". I could have the title wrong? It is a story of a group of animals that have to track over thousands of miles in order to return to their owners. Different species of animals under one leader. Now, that I'm thinking more, it might be "The Incredible Journey" ?
by Jenni78 on 20 December 2011 - 03:05
|I skimmed, so don't shoot me if I am repeating things, but while you need to take charge and manage your dogs responsibly, because as the human, you're in charge...I sure hope people don't really think the dog thinks you're an alpha dog. I am quite sure that they are well aware that we are not dogs just as they are not humans. They are social animals, not pack animals, in that they will leave a pack to be with their human. This makes them unique and unlike wolves. They are the only animal I can think of who (generally) will seek human companionship and abandon their own kind in favor of it. This, to me, is the coolest thing about dogs, and why this whole 'pack leader' thing makes me grind my teeth. The principle doesn't bother me as much as the terminology...we're not dogs. Period. They know it, we know it, so let's drop the "pack" b.s. and call it something different.|
by Kevlar on 20 December 2011 - 23:42
|There are several animals that when properly socialized will leave their own kind in favor of humans. Dogs that haven't been properly socialized will not leave their own kind in favor of humans. A dog that wasn't handled as a puppy and didn't experience humans until they were older will no more likely leave the company of dogs it was raised with in favor of a human than a mountain lion. I agree that dogs know the difference between humans and dogs just like they know the difference between all the animals, plants, and insects they encounter. When I say pack it simply refers to animals that live together and work together for everyone involved... a family if you will. You can tame wild dogs but they won't be like the puppy that people have raised since they were born. I have been around these type of dogs and trust me... they take a ton of work to bond with a human and considering how much work you have to put into them it doesn't feel like they are leaving their pack voluntarily to be with humans. I am pretty sure most of these dogs would jump at the chance to be back with a pack of dogs. Most people haven't encountered a "feral" dog. The only difference in a feral dog and my dog is the socialization it recieved as a puppy. Dogs aren't naturally drawn to people... if this were the case it would make my job a lot easier.|
by Vixen on 21 December 2011 - 12:00
|A dog is a social pack animal - whether the word 'Pack' is liked or not, the word itself does not matter to the dog, because they only understand the meaning of Pack. Take the 'Pack' away from a dog and you take away who they are.|
Diplomatically, I feel that some Owners regard themself as 'Alpha' (again only a word - but it is the meaning and concept that as any bearing on a dog) - However, a lot of Owners are not of this Status. At best they carry a Senior position that will attract respect from a dog, at worst they misunderstand, misinterpret, and certainly do not appropriately maintain it.
Good authority and strength gives security to others.
Discipline may be necessary (in certain situations) but this is part of the responsibility of a 'leading or parent figure'.
Remember discipline varies greatly too, and does not automatically mean some kind of roaring onslaught!
There is a HUGE difference between being a Bully and abusive! - to being reliable and trustworthy in manageing of a family/pack.
Dogs can only be dogs and consequently they are 100% accurate in their understanding of the structured management within their group/packs. We, make the error that dogs do/should respond in human ways of thinking - when obviously they are superb at dog thinking! When WE start relating in a dog thinking manner, then our dogs can understand, appreciate and respond as they know how. Except, that Owners unfortunately are not consistent, they forget, or do not notice or ignore etc. Some Owners will often focus on something that is important to the Owner, regarding their dog's inappropriate behaviour, (more often when the issue as already escalated), but they have overlooked some other simpler aspects, relative to the problem. Equally other situations that although may bother or frustrate, the Owner - go by-the-by! (This is either because the Owner did not notice or understand, or felt it did not really matter and was unimportant. Everything does not go un-noticed by a dog, so why should the dog take an inconsistent Owner seriously! Everything matters in the dog's well-balanced world.
Making the effort to learn their language (physical, mentally and emotionally) - afterall we admire their species, and bring them into our lives. Then gain their respect - this is something that Owners have to earn, but so rewarding. Then observe, think and watch, developing and maintaining the relationship. Do not however, just sit back on your haunches thinking job done!
Dogs always observe and evaluate. So do likewise, and maintain with respectful enjoyment together.
by Jenni78 on 21 December 2011 - 12:21
|Oh, mylanta. Kevlar, you completely missed what I was saying. You're speaking on individual terms, which is not at all what my post was regarding. You could say much the same thing about a feral child. LOL Not hardly what I was talking about. |