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shadow friend
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I got Max, it was really scary at times - my older girl Willow would correct him and drew blood a couple of times. I thought that I might have to rehome Max I was so concerned but your help and advice saw us through and now, wow, it's like night and day!! Willow will never play with him a lot or lay by him all the time, but she no longer has food guarding issues, they drink from the same bowl at the same time, and she will wag her tail at Max when he is barking at her and goofing off.

So Willow has always been high man on the totem pole and Max is very accepting of that. I noticed tonight something very cool and I'm thinking that I would like to start paying more attention to how they interact. I always have given Willow her treat/bit of food first to (in my mind) reinforce that my love for her has not changed. I got some treats out and Max was closer so I gave him the treat (and this dog inhales treats) but he just put it down and sat by it. I gave Willow hers and as soon as she started eating hers, Max started to eat his. Like he was waiting for the head honcho to eat first. How neat is that? So I'm thinking, maybe that's his way of showing the alpha respect or something.

For those of you with more than 1 dog - what kind of alpha behaviors and respect do you see?
 

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Lost Her Mind
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Sometimes when Mojo is chewing on a toy, Maxie will walk over and sit in front of him, staring. He will drop the toy and walk away, and Maxie will pick it up and start chewing.

I feel bad for Moj a lot, because she sometimes bullies him. We've been having a LOT of success with stopping it though. She hardly ever TAKES the toys from him now, and I've noticed she hasn't mounted him in a long time. :)
 

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Roxy is a toy stealer too. Elliot gives up his toys, and it's hard not to feel sorry for him. I am working with Roxy on the "leave it" command and she is responding pretty well.
 

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Cooper waits to start eating until Kenai has started, even when I fill his dish first. He will also surrender toys and bones to her. He'll try to move out of her way if he sees her coming, but if she wants the toy, he gives it to her. Its funny, because he'll play tug 'o war with her too, its like he knows when to play and when to just give it up. Sometimes I feel bad, but they both seem totally ok with it!
Sometimes when Kenai is sleeping or not paying attention to him, Cooper will stand over her and posture, and look at me like he's really getting something over on her. He loves it, she could care less. lol.
 

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I am a one dog household, however, with the holidays Scout has had the opportunity to interact with some other dogs long term. I have already been told by a professional trainer that she was a pushy alpha bitch :p I guess it does show sometimes... She has a very high tail carriage when interacting with the other dogs and always wants to put her head on their shoulders or her paws on top of them. She will shove past other dogs to be the first one in or out.
 

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Sam is definitely the little alpha in my twosome. I say little because Dillon outweighs him by almost 20lbs and still lets Sam walk all over him lol

The main alpha behaviors I see are that Sam does not allow Dillon to play with any toys.. unless its a tug of war.. Sam initiates tug of war games with Dillon, he WANTS Dillon to try to take the toy so that they can play tug.. but there is no way he'd allow Dillon to chew a toy off on his own.

He pushes through doors in front of Dillon. He grooms Dillon's face (I believe this is an alpha behavior?) every morning, no eye boogie goes unlicked in this house ;)

Dillon has always succumbed to Sam's dominating behaviors with him with no problems. They are a perfect match in that way. Dillon does sometimes grab toys repeatedly even when Sam grabs them back.. but I feel that's almost more of a play enticement than anything else, because many times I have put Sam outside so that Dillon can play with toys inside on his own, and he shows no interest in them LOL

I will say though that it's fun to watch them when they are in full on wrestlemania mode. Dillon knows he is much bigger than Sam... and he has no problem laying the smack down on the little guy. :) I think its his way of saying "Yes, I let you boss me around, but don't you forget that I could beat you up if I wanted to!!"

I have always reinforced Sam's alphaness in order to avoid any arguments between the dogs and it's worked wonderfully for us.
 

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Mom to Bailey & Burgundy
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I don't really see either of my girls being dominant...neither would take a toy/treat from the other and they don't seem to show any other "alpha dog" traits...that may show up in time, but so far - nothing!

My mom's 2 dogs however, have a very strict hierarchy! They are both 10 - Madison we got as a puppy (labxhusky) and Echo we got from the lyons foundation at age 1 (choc lab). Madison is DEFINITELY top dog!! Whenever my mom goes to give them treats or bones, Madison gets to "choose" which one she would like, and then Echo gets the other one. If you go to give Echo first pick, she will put her head down and won't even sniff at the bones until Madison has had her pick!

A really funny story actually - one day my mom was in a rush and had 2 bones for the girls, and she had them both in her hand, and then just handed Echo one, and then handed Madison one...not even thinking... Madison sat with her bone in front of her, CRYING - until my mom realized that she wanted the bone that Echo had!! She didn't get to pick which one she wanted, and she was not happy about it! Once my mom switched their bones, she happily started eating... :D
 

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Karma gets gruffy when we are in the car and someone comes near - she starts barking - otherwise she likes people - she also gets that way when certain dogs come to us in the park - there is a cute springer spaniel who drops her left shoulder and pushes herself along the ground toward us when we see her - it's so cute, I love that little dog and enjoy visiting but Karma gets real low to the ground and seems to take the behavior of the ss as aggression or something because she growls at the cute little spaniel. I'm not sure why she shows this behavior. Anyone? It's only with some dogs, not all - or if she sees another dog in a car while we are stopped at a light - holy crap I get this barking in my ear.....wow
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Lexi rules the roost here....but rarely uses intimidation to get what she wants.

She fills the role of police officer....no running in the house...horseplay will only be tolerated between the hours of 6pm and 8pm etcetc...
Her only vice is humping and she only humps when they are all really tearing around and she is excited (so to speak).

She is very content to be either the first of last to eat - fiorst or last to enter a room... She will let other dogs take her toys ...when she is done with them.... :)

In fairness..She has trained them all to respect her space and her stuff...they wouldn't dream of taking a toy that she was playing with...or accidentally stepping on or bumping her while playing. In turn she gives them the same respect.
She is a benevolent bitch ;-)
 

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Love my Golden Boys!!
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Both Austin and Lincoln respect Reno as the "alpha" in the family. If they are playing with a toy or eating a bone, they will roll over and surrender it to Reno which has caused us no grief. Quite often if Reno is lying in the middle of the room, neither of the younger boys will want to walk by him. They either wait until he moves or until I call them to ensure it's safe.

On the other hand, I believe the younger two are still trying to determine who is alpha and THAT is causing us some grief. For the most part they are really good but there are times that Austin exhibits some dominant behaviour towards Lincoln and it is very unnerving for us.
 

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I think that sometimes people mistake being a bully with being the alpha dog. A true alpha doesn't guard toys, food, water, etc from the other dogs. They also don't take toys that the other dogs have. Usually if they want something one of the other dogs has, they sit or lie down in front of the other dog and wait until the other dog gets up and leaves it before they pick it up.

If you have certain rituals that you go through every single day, it can stress a dog out if you suddenly change it. Even my Danny showed me that recently. I was out of town on business and my husband called and said Danny wouldn't eat. Well, Danny always eats. But I am the one who feeds him. I realized that since his bowl was the last one I put down, I would smooch him on the top of the head just before I released all the dogs to eat. Well, Jay wasn't smooching him on the head, so he wouldn't eat. Once he did that, Danny started eating right away. LOL. Obviously, I started weaning that one off after that.

Jasmine is my alpha. She never takes toys or bones from the other dogs, though if I don't watch her, she'll eat really fast and then go eat Danny's food before he can finish it. But I think that's just because she's a piggy Lab. Danny will take toys from her all the time. Unless she doesn't want him to, then she just looks at him and goes away. She leads the way on all of our hikes. The boys (Danny and Jasper) are happy to just follow her wherever she leads them. If she is lying in the room and Danny needs to get past her, he will NOT step over her. He will go out of the room and enter it from another direction or wait for me to get her to move. She doesn't even look at him and can be sleeping. He just understands that he should respect her space.
 

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shadow friend
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
neat stories and behaviors that you have noticed!! My Willow isn't interested in toys and doesn't really Bully Max around except to give him a grrrr if he comes too close to her food. I started feeding them in two bowls and Willow always wants whatever dish Max is at. It's amusing, it's like the changing of the guards 10 times over.
 
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