How to be Alpha for your Great Pyrenees
Each pack has a leader, the Alpha. Being the Alpha is more of an attitude than anything else. You need to establish yourself as the top of the pack. The hierarchy of a pack is similar to the life of ROYALTY.
Consider yourself the KING (male Alpha).
Kings are often married, they will have a QUEEN (female Alpha). She will be above all the servants equally with the king. Her attitude would be the same.
PRINCES and PRINCESSES (the next in line) are renowned for being spoiled and getting everything they want. Naturally, they are above all the servants.
Consider the puppy (or dog) a SERVANT.
This is important! You must walk with an air of superiority, head held high, shoulders back. Stick your nose in the air if it helps you learn your new position. You must talk with the confidence that goes with knowing heads will roll if you are not obeyed. You must eat as if you are the supreme being of your nation. You attitude will be perceived by all the people in the room including the dog.
Examples of ROYAL or ALPHA behavior:
- you walk one step ahead of the dog, he needs to know where you are going
- you walk through the door, then the dog follows
- you walk up/down the stairs first
- when you walk into a room (even if it is fifty times a day), you ignore the dog
- dog will approach to pay homage, you ignore them
- after they stop trying, wait a bit then call them to you
- you eat first, then the dog
- you let him see you eating
- he is allowed to watch from a distance, not under the table
- kids feed the dog at the end of the meal
- you sleep up high in a special “den”
- the dog is not allowed on the bed, maybe not even the bedroom
- if dogs are allowed in the room, they are always on the floor
- keep in mind if they are in the Kings den and the Princess is shoved out to a den far away the dog will get the inadvertent message that they are higher on the ladder
- same goes for the couch, dogs stay on the floor, royalty gets special privileges
- crates are good for stubborn dogs giving them a “position” and known den
- you talk with authority, expecting your every command to be carried out immediately
- you have the dog sit, several times a day just for practice
- if you are having troubles, give the dog a down for thirty minutes each day
Examples of SERVANT behavior (from a dogs perspective):
- wait to see where the King is going then follow
wait until the King is done eating then wait for him to say ok, you can have the leftovers
wait to see how close the King allows you to sleep
- greet the King as soon as he enters the room to pay homage
- shrink down a bit to show you give the King your respect
- lower your head and tail to show you aren’t challenging King
- obey the Kings orders immediately (not after a few seconds of thought)
I have stated each of these as if there is only the King but it applies to each human the dog comes into contact with.
You may feel from time to time you are being unfair to the dog. Perhaps even like you can’t show your love for them by spoiling them. A well-trained and obedient dog is a joy to have around.
In reality, treating the dog like a person-equivalent could give the dog the impression they get to tell you what to do. When a 120 lb dog starts growling at you to protect his spot on the couch it is a scary thing. It is a unfair to let the dog think he is an equal. You don’t want to live with his rules!
What if you haven’t trained your pup and now he is a dog? What to do if he is wanting or already taken the Alpha position?
If your dog has hurt you or another, seek a qualified trainer. This blog isn’t set up for that kind of situation.
If your dog is getting stubborn and wanting a higher position, it is Alpha Boot Camp to the rescue. I encourage you to read these links:
I want to learn more about Great Pyrenees before I commit. Where do I find info?
I strongly recommend anyone who is getting a Great Pyrenees puppy or dog to read through the entire list here: The Great Pyrenees Library There is so much good information from people considerably more qualified than I am.
Keep in mind, if you have a bad experience you have a story to share. if you have an uneventful, peaceful life with your Great Pyrenees you aren’t necessarily going to write up a post about it. Nothing exciting to say. Sometimes it seems the negative posts are too plentiful. I think this is the reason.