The Labrador Brats Dog Blog

Losing the Human-Dog Alpha Position



Dog chaos erupts when you don’t maintain control over your dog pack. You may spend years training your dog to be the perfect canine companion but once you start to become lax, your dog will start to think something is off. It’s that switch that triggers them to want to rule the pack – humans included.

Think about a wild pack – be it coyotes, lions or any other breed. There is always an alpha in the group. This is the natural way of being and everyone is happy in the pack as long as there is an alpha – this helps him or her to know his or her place. However, once the alpha is unable to maintain their position, others in the pack start to make a play for the alpha role.

The dog pack in your home is no different.

The Labrador Brats have been well trained for over 5 years now and are the most perfect canine companions. That was until the last few months when I started to notice that Cheyenne was disrespecting my authority and not listening to me. You see, the hierarchy in my house (going from alpha down) is: me, my husband, Dakota and then Cheyenne.

That’s the way it has always been and if Cheyenne stops listening to me, she will try to rule the others as well. Needless to say, that is totally not acceptable.

The Dog Hierarchy Change

So what happened to make the change? I became weak and started to baby Cheyenne. I’ve also been sick with an illness for the last year in which my health has been a roller coaster ride of strength and weakness. Cheyenne knows something is off so she is trying to take over the pack.

Not a chance in this lifetime! If it is not stopped now, it will continue to get worse and could even lead to aggression down the road if I don’t comply with her demands. The last thing anyone needs is a huge adult Labrador Retriever (74 lbs) taking control over the house and people in it.

Back to Dog Training Basics

It’s back to training for Cheyenne. I’ve given her too much leeway when it comes to certain things. I’ve allowed her to walk off lead and let her wander away from me without direction. I’ve also allowed her to dictate when she can go outside (which is all the time during the summer) and let her demand that I play with her (she sits in front of me and barks until I listen). It’s come to Cheyenne running the show – the dog running the human – and today her training begins once again.

Preventing Dog Hierarchy Changes

How to stop this in the future? Nothing in life should be for free first and foremost. More importantly – training never stops in the life of Labrador Retrievers. Training is a life-long process, which not only prevents rude behavior but also makes the dog very happy. They love structure and schedules – deterring them from both leads to an unbalanced dog that may very well rule your house.

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