Is Your Dog Alpha? Take the Quiz and Find out!

Quiz time!

For each yes give yourself 1 point. Answers below.

1.) My dog bullies other dogs.

2.) My dog paws me for attention.

3.) My dog barks a lot.

4.) My dog barks more than anyone any time, any where, should have to bear.

5.) My dog steals my food.

6.) My dog is not house trained.

7.) My dog thinks little kids should be eaten for lunch.

8.) My dog runs away.

9.) I am scared if my dog got out, that the dog would never come back.

10.) We crate the dog at night so he does not murder us in our sleep.

11.) My dog is plotting world domination.

12.) My dog thinks he is boss over the kids.

13.) My dog pees in the house out of spite.

14.) My dog is alpha with people, but not other dogs.

15.) My dog is alpha with other dogs, but not people.

16.) My dog thinks it owns all the food on the planet.

17.) My dog thinks it owns all the toys, all the time.

18.) My dog  humps other dogs.

19.) My dog humps anything and everything, including the crack in the couch and the crack of dawn.

20.) I am afraid if I rolled over and touched my dog while we were sleeping, I would be missing digits.

21.) I can’t take anything away from my dog.

22.) My dog kills small animals.

23.) My dog is fine with me but no one else.

24.) I can’t have people over because my dog is alpha.

25.) I can’t have people over because my dog won’t let me.

26.) I can’t date because my dog is too jealous

27.) My dog has to sit between my partner on the couch.

28.) My dog doesn’t do what I am thinking even though I know she can.

29.) My dog waits to get on the agility field to blow off jumps to show me she is the boss.

30.) My dog always follows me and leans on me and sits on me.

Listen up people. This was a trick. That’s right I tricked you all.  This is not an alpha dog quiz. If you have a high number, get yourself a dog trainer.

At the bottom of this post there will be links to various articles, written by people of science who explain Alpha a whole better than we have room for here at Life With Dogs. But you need to get some help. You need help. Please get some help.

Please stop getting your dog training advice from anyone besides science based trained professionals.  Until such time that you have the situation under control please utilize management tools.  Please use crates, and gates and LEASHES even in the house!

Alpha dog 101

The dog who is plotting world domination is quite rare. I have known only one true alpha dog in my nearly 50 years on this planet and her name was Dina and she lived in my house. Dina ruled my entire neighborhood with a quick look. True leader dogs do not use force. They don’t have to. True leader dogs are peace keepers for the most part.

The dogs who give us the most trouble are often referred to as a “wanna be”. The wanna be dog is a middle ranking dog and is often times pushy and lacks self control. The “wanna be” dog pushes the limits often with both people and other dogs. The “wanna be” is often the dog that people think is alpha.

Many, and I mean MANY behaviors are based in fear. To many a dog, the best defense is a good offense. Remember, dogs do what works and they are experts on us. If WE are having an issue with our dogs, chances are WE need to change the way WE are doing things.

The word alpha is overused and dated. There are a few dogs who are dominant aggressive and if you think you have one, I hope you are seeking help. Dogs fluctuate on what they want at any given time and what they think is an important resource. I have seen dogs fight over the sunny square on the floor, various bones, a dropped tissue, access to people and all manner of things that they don’t seem to care about the very next day.

I will leave you with one gem of a training tip.
Remember, dogs are greedy and you control their stuff.

About the photo:

I snapped this shot of my neighbor Bailey this summer. Bad adorable dog! What do you think my neighbors could do differently to keep Bailey on the ground and teach him to stop jonesing for hamburgers?

The history and misconceptions of Dominance Theory by Melissa Alexander

Forget about being alpha in your pack by Kathy Sado

If you are still convinced that you need to dominate your dog to train it, please check out this great post by Dr Sophia Yin.

Dr Sophia Yin makes a great case for why dominance training is not such a great idea.

Happy Training!

7 thoughts on “Is Your Dog Alpha? Take the Quiz and Find out!

  1. This is one of the most informative and interesting articles I have read on dog behavior. Thanks for posting it.

  2. I’ve really gotten a lot of good out of John Bradshaw’s recent _Dog Sense_ that discusses how many of our notions of “alpha” dog behavior comes from inappropriate studies of captive wolves in situations that would not be replicable in the wild. Wolf packs are generally made up of families, so the “alpha” roles are generally filled by parents. Dogs have the ability to create family units that are not biologically related (this is a product of the domestication process) in which the human members fill the role of “parents” and therefore alphas.

    But yes, training, and good training is definitely a requirement, just like the “alphas” of a pack would train their young.

  3. Actually, dogs following and leaning on you, though quite annoying, is a sign of submission. They just need a little attention and they’ll stop.

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