Why Alpha Dog Training is THE WORST training method to use

If you’re a dog owner, you’ve likely heard the term ‘alpha dog’.

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Lots of dog trainers, behaviorists, veterinarians, and others use this method.

Don’t be fooled! It’s the absolute worst way to train your dog! Here’s why.

What is alpha dog training?

The Alpha Dog theory says the owner needs to dominant their dog.

To have a well-behaved dog, the owner has to assert themselves over them.

But…is this really how you want to train your dog? Having to be dominant over them?

They’re man’s best friend. Let’s treat them that way.

But don’t tons of experts use this method?

Yes, they do. And we’re used to listening to our experts.

If we go to a doctor, we would listen to their advice.

So shouldn’t we listen to the dog experts? If they use this method, isn’t it the right one?

Caesar Millian subscribes to the Alpha Dog theory.

You’ve probably heard of him: he’s a world-renowned dog trainer. And some of his methods are acceptable.

But his training is strongly influenced by negative and dominant training. No, thank you!

You might think negative trainers are successful because the dog responds to their methods.

But this kind of training produces suppression in their dogs.

If their feelings are suppressed, they could rear their ugly head again.

This time it could be worse than the original problem. These trainers have taken the whole concept of leadership out of control!

Don’t use this technique on a dog that already suffers from a fear of anxiety or aggression.

Especially if it’s linked to a pathological disorder. They won’t respond well to this type of training.

Seriously, DON’T use the Alpha Dog theory. It’s stupid.

What do the studies say?

Studies have been done on this subject, to gain an understanding of dominant.

They’ve specifically looked at wolves.

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Wolves are just dogs in their natural habit. When you look at the studies, you’ll find it’s rare for them to be vicious.

It’s only when they’re fighting for their position in the hierarchy that they tend to exhibit behaviors attributed to Alpha Dog theory.

Wolves are actually incredibly family-centered.

It’s the same if wolves are around humans. A woman fostered 4 wolf dogs, and only one showed signs of dominance.

It was the female one who hadn’t been spayed. She was against 3 male dogs. No wonder she had to be dominant!

Don’t listen to these studies when people talk about Alpha training. Their behavior has been misinterpreted.

But my dog’s behaving badly! Don’t I need to be the alpha to stop them?

No, no, no!!!

Let me guess what your dog’s doing. Pulling on the lead?

Jumping on humans and other dogs? Pinning other dogs down?

Food aggression or begging for food? Whining to go out?

That’s not him trying to be the alpha. This is him being rude.

But just because he’s not establishing dominance doesn’t mean the behavior’s acceptable.

It needs to be stopped — just don’t use the Alpha Dog theory!

So how should I train my dog?

How about with love, kindness, and respect?

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Focus on forming a good relationship with your dog. Use positive reinforcement instead of negative.

You’ll both enjoy training a lot more!

I’m still not sure. Where can I get more information?

Plenty of trainers focus on positive reinforcement. Just make sure to check this before you hire them.

People often have a lot of questions about training. I’ve included some FAQs underneath to help you out.

Should my dog go through the door before me?

It’s not dominant if your dog pushing past you when going through a door.

It’s just plain rude! Use love and treats to teach your dog to wait.

It’s not an issue if your dog forgets once or twice.

Check out ‘The mysteries of unleashing the best dog behavior’ for more information on this.

Should my dog eat after me?

I don’t believe this is an issue unless your dog shows problems with food. Use your own judgment.

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If your dog shows dominance over his food or yours, focus on training around mealtimes.

My dog’s blocking my path. How can I get him to move?

This is a problem I have with my own dog. To get them to move out the way, step towards him and say ‘excuse me’.

Your dog will associate this word with moving.

Show your dog where to sit by using treats, or get him to go to his bed.

My dog’s acting dominant. Should I allow this?

No. Absolutely not.

Teach your dog to be polite by using treats.

You can check out ‘How to train a dog the easy way’ for more advice.

Should I set up house rules for my dog to follow?

YES YES YES. Definitely.

Dogs are very smart. They are more than capable of understanding us.

Remain calm and consistent in your training. The rest will follow.

Look at ‘Become an expert at dog training commands’ for more information.

Should my dog sleep upstairs or on my bed?

You have your own bed — your dog needs one too! Set on up in his own area.

It’s okay to allow your dog to sleep on your bed. But you need to make sure he respects the rules.

If you want him to get off, he needs to obey you. No jumping on the bed either, especially when you’re asleep.

Is it okay if I get angry at another person in the house?

Look, we all lose our temper now and again. But you need to think about what message you’re sending to your dog.

They pick up on body language and behavior.

Your dog learns what you teach him. If you don’t want him to behave badly, you shouldn’t either.

My dog doesn’t come back when he’s off the lead. Should I use the Alpha Dog techniques?

You never need to use Alpha Dog techniques to train your dog. There are lots of better methods.

You shouldn’t allow your dog off the lead if he won’t come back 100% of the time.

Keep him on a leash, and look at improving his recall with treats.

Dogs are smart. With the right training technique, he’ll come back every time!

Can my children give treats to the dogs?

I know some people would always trust their dogs with their children.

But children and dogs can be a dangerous mix. A small child, in a dog’s eyes, is the same as prey or puppies.

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You know your dog and your children. Make the best decision to suit them.

As a general rule? Encourage your children to be confident around dogs, but supervise them. Better safe than sorry!

Look at ‘Better dog training treats suggestions’ if you’re concerned about this.

So what did we learn?


Positive reinforcement is the best method. Look at these questions for help training your dog.

If you have any yourself, put it in the comment box below.

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