A dog is standing in the grass with its mouth open.

Establishing Leadership: A Guide to Asserting Your Alpha Role

A Guide to Asserting Your Alpha Role in Your Dog’s Life

Step 1: Consistency is Key

From the moment your dog enters your home, consistency is crucial. Establish rules and stick to them. If your dog isn’t allowed on the couch, don’t make exceptions. This consistency helps your dog understand boundaries and remember them.

Step 2: Control Feeding Times

As the alpha, you need to control when and where your dog eats. Use meal times as training sessions. Make your dog sit and wait until you have placed the food down and given an ‘ok’ or ‘eat’ command. This reinforces that you control the resources.

Step 3: Lead the Walk

When walking your dog, you should always be leading, not your dog. Your dog should walk beside you or behind you, never in front. Use a short leash and keep your dog close to your side. If your dog pulls on the leash, stop and walk the other way. When the dog comes to catch up with you. Place a treat beside your shoe. This will teach the dog to walk beside you, and not in front of you.  

Step 4: Training Sessions

Regular training sessions are important not only for teaching your dog commands but also for establishing your role as the leader. Use positive reinforcement training methods, rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or play.

Step 5: Control Play Time

Initiate playtime and be the one to end it. This shows your dog that you control when fun begins and ends. Make sure your dog releases toys when asked, reinforcing your control over resources.

Step 6: Assertive Body Language

Your body language should convey confidence and authority. Stand tall and use a firm, confident voice when giving commands. Avoid shouting or showing frustration, this may confuse or scare your dog.

Step 7: Encourage Calm Submission

Reward calm submission with affection and praise. When your dog shows signs of submission such as laying down with the belly exposed, gently pet and reward them.

Step 8: Respect Your Dog’s Space

Just as your dog needs to respect your space, you should respect theirs. If your dog has a designated spot like a bed or crate, don’t invade it. This creates mutual respect between you and your dog.

Step 9: Be Patient

Remember, establishing yourself as the alpha is a process that takes time. Be patient, consistent, and positive. Never resort to physical punishment or intimidation techniques.

Step 10: Seek Professional Help If Needed

If you’re struggling to establish yourself as the alpha, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional dog trainer. They can provide guidance and strategies tailored to your specific situation.

Remember that being the alpha doesn’t mean you need to be harsh or unkind. It’s all about providing consistent leadership and guidelines that help your dog understand their role in your pack.