“Alpha dog” is a dated and pointless term that doesn’t apply scientifically, psychologically or physically to man’s best friend. So, If a dog trainer says you ” need to be alpha” it’s time to leave.
Alpha dog trainers can cause aggression, injury and fear that the dog cannot get over. The treatment is triggered by a belief that dogs want to rule the home and everyone in it and it’s also based on a disproven scientific theory. An idea that the dog needs to be bossed or be the boss is far too simplistic in comparison to the complex creature that is the domestic dog in our lives today.
When we assume that all dogs are simply desperate to take the role of leader we disallow all of the most recent scientific findings which provide proof that dogs have individual personalities and problem solving capacity well beyond that which we first thought.
Followers of the alpha method also assume that dogs are incapable of any quality emotional response or feeling, when kind experimentation over the last few years is showing that dogs do indeed possess an emotional capacity, perhaps not one identical to that of humans but a complex emotional capacity nonetheless.
If we teach that the dog is trying to take over the home and pass that belief across to dog owners they end up in a very awkward position, believing that they must take control of the dog in their home. Some trainers even state that the dog owner must use any ‘necessary’ force and that they are doing the dog a favour. Methods can include punishment or threatening tools, in an attempt to show the dog guardian how to regain their own status.
It’s a double betrayal, to dogs and the people that love them.
When dogs are trained in the way that stems from this approach they are usually completely confused, scared and often go into an emotional shutdown. Which may be triumphantly claim as “submission resulting from the dog finally understanding their place”. In reality the emotional shutdown is a manifestation of learned helplessness where the dog feels that he has no control over the treatment that he is receiving so just gives up and shuts down his emotions in order to wait the treatment out, in the hope that it goes away.
When in actual fact, it’s time the alpha dog trainer went away. There’s no place for cruel treatment based on opinion, particularly when we have science acknowledging how damaging that treatment is.