Alpha Dog

953 Words4 Pages
An alpha dog is the literal leader of the pack. All dogs respect him (or her) as a superior and defer to his authority. It is crucial to be a human “alpha dog” in order to maintain control over a pack of six or sixty dogs. If the dogs will not follow your commands, a situation dangerous to the dogs will result. Becoming an alpha dog is more of an art than a science. Different approaches will work but a few basic rules apply: · Learn all of the dogs’ names and personalities. · Be assertive, especially with high-rank dogs. · Be consistent with corrections and follow-ups. · Be proactive in stopping activity that might lead to a fight. · Alert potential troublemakers that you are watching them. The value of several downtimes (where all dogs must lie down and stay for several minutes) during the course of a day cannot be overstated. It is useful to reinforce your superiority over the dogs, but also has a calming effect on the pack. When the dogs understand that downtime will be required of them, most will acquiesce and wait it out. Interruptions should not end the downtime. Each successive downtime goes a little bit better. Some (usually newer) members of the pack will resist the command to lie down and will test your patience. Firmness without anger will prevail. Barking is not allowed. A human, preferably using the dog’s name (i.e. “Spot! No barking!”) must address every bark. If the dog does not appear to get the message, he should be put on a leash and made to follow a series of commands in front of the other members of the pack. The offending pooch should be made to sit and lie down several times. If the commands are not followed promptly, you should say “No!” followed by a pop on the leash and a repetition of the co... ... middle of paper ... ...down and stay while you throw it to his quieter companions. Crowds are dangerous. When too many dogs are clustered in too small a space, the chances for a fight increase greatly, at the same time making it harder to break up. Dogs like to gather around the entrance, especially when new dogs are coming in. They also like the kitchen, for obvious reasons. Crowds must be dispersed as soon as they form. Every dog should be acknowledged near the beginning of your shift. After the initial excitement of your arrival wears off, greet and (preferably) touch each dog on the floor. You will always have favorites and those of whom you are less fond. You should make a special effort to pay attention to your least favorite dogs. Newcomers and some puppies require an extra dose of tender loving care. Show the dogs that you love them and they will return the favor tenfold.
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