Problems begin when a dog owner loves a dog as he/she would love a person. Dogs are canines and most closely related to the wolf, and we are Homo Sapiens, mostly closely related to monkeys.
Thus while we, man and dog, may share similar experiences, and may even experience similar emotions; we don’t speak the same language.
Unfortunately, humans do things that from a “human-primate” point of view that are loving, caring gestures, but from a “wolf-dog” point of view these same gestures are perceived as differential, submissive, subservient, and in some cases, even threatening.
It is of the utmost importance, especially if you own breed that is regarded as “tough”, “difficult” or “very intelligent” or if you have young children in your life, that the question of “Whose Alpha” is answered early and decisively in the dog-human relationship.
If dog owners consistently act in a manner that from the ‘dogs point of view’ appears to show subservience, submission, fear or weakness, then over time, the dog will begin to think that he is in fact superior to you. Some of the social interactions that the majority of dogs will perceive as subservient or submissive are:
- Moving out of the dogs path
- Walking over a resting dog so that it is not disturbed
- Allowing the dog to lead the way on walks
- Allowing the dog to sit, lean or lie upon your body
- Allowing the dog to bite hands, arms, feet, ankles, face, in “play”
- Allowing the dog to pee/poop at will on walks
- Allowing the dog to sit on a sofa/chair at will
- Allowing the dog to sleep in a person’s bed
- Feeding the dog from the table
- Feeding the dog on demand
- Playing a game of the dog’s choosing on demand
- Terminating activities if the dog protests
- Moving backwards if the dog jumps on them
- Allowing the dog to steal and destroy personal items
- Displaying an inability to catch the dog when it is at liberty
Dogs don’t do democracy, you either serve or are served. If you are Alpha, from a dog’s point of view, then you have three rights and responsibilities:
- The right to get what you want, when you want it.
- The right to prevent others (all family members, as well as any visitors to the house) from doing things that you don’t like.
- The responsibility to maintain peace and harmony, from the Alpha’s point of view, by keeping the “lower members” of the pack in line by any means possible. This may include the use of overwhelming force (biting).
Imagine the shock to an owner’s ego, when they realize that they are perceived by Little ‘Zilla as a “lower member” of the dog pack.