5 Tips to be the alpha dog
Become the alpha of your Siberian Husky with 5 simple steps
It’s not easy to get control of things when you have huskies, if you do not take command and show them that you are the alpha dog leader, then you could be in for a bit of trouble.
Dogs are social animals that function in a system that’s hierarchical, and is governed by the alpha dog who sets the rules.
It is important for their owners to set the foundation into ensuring that they are the human alpha leader, and they hold the reins for what is and is not appropriate behavior.
How can you train them or give them a command if you’re not the alpha? Your dog must respect you and listen to you, especially if you’re trying to earn the trust of your husky. Huskies are very strong headed and independent, so it takes time, effort and patience to establish yourself as their alpha.
While this may seem to be a very complicated task, it really isn’t, however it requires discipline. Being their human alpha will help every time you need to train them in a new environment, like a new house or you’re switching from a regular door to a sliding glass door, which can be a challenge for husky owners.
So if you’re looking to establish your pack leadership, let’s get into a few things you should start implementing.
But before, remember: always be positive.
Husky owners know they can get crazy sometimes, but with a few simple strategies and remaining patient and kind, not mean! you’ll be the alpha for certain. Lead with positive reinforcement and this will foster lasting results.
Try to practice hand muzzling a couple times per day whenever you’re with your husky, and actively pet them. Pet them on the head, play with them and then take your hand and put it over their muzzle.
Don’t worry about them being bothered by it, as they do like it (provided you don’t apply too much force or cover their nostrils). Doing this is a form of dog communication that’s basically saying “hey, I’m the top dog and you should respect me”.
When you’re hand-muzzling your dog there’s no need to be aggressive, it should feel like it’s a part of the petting and if you’re doing it the right way, they will allow you to continue doing it.
In the wild, animals like hyenas, tigers or lions take a variety of steps to properly communicate and initiate themselves as the alpha. If you’re not the alpha then you’re probably the prey.
So remember: cuddle and muzzle, repeat this a few times per week and that simple step will help to put you in the position of alpha amongst your huskies.
2: Gently hold their back hip muscle
There is another place your dogs feel vulnerable and you can take advantage of that in a positive way to assert dominance. Remember: it’s not to be done in an aggressive or violent manner, it’s also a kind of petting.
Start by petting your husky and then gently grab them by the back muscles, where their hips meet their back. It’s incredibly sensitive so you do not need to touch it very much, it’s just a delicate hint at them saying “I know your soft spot” and “I’m taking control of you”.
It is also a good way to desensitize your dog, so they can put up with it if a child grabs them there without intention.
As a reminder, don’t be very aggressive when doing it, be gentle. You just need them to feel that you’re in control and that they should trust your guidance as you won’t hurt them, even if your hand is in a spot that is uncomfortable and vulnerable.
If you don’t feel comfortable yet to do the first two, the next three steps are not so physical so you can try starting with those ones.
3: Mind your pitch
This tip is extremely important and a lot of dog owners ignore it, and it’s a huge problem. Many people don’t agree when it comes to speaking high or low to their doggos, but it is very vital in helping your dog to understand when they’re doing something good or bad.
Dogs do not understand words the same way we do, they recognize sounds and commands, but not their meanings per se.
So if you’re telling them not to do something with the same tone you use when you’re petting them, they will get mixed signals.
A lot of people believe that if you speak with a low, harsh voice you’re being mean, but that’s not true! It’s the same if you speak with a high voice, doesn’t mean you’re being way too nice. The pitches of your voice are tools, and they are very effective.
When your dog barks very low pitched, you know they’re mad, and when they have a high-pitched whine, you know they’re trying to be nice… the high and low tones you use will let them know when you’re either satisfied or dissatisfied.
You don’t have to yell, scream or scare them, but you should use high and low voice commands to let them know when they’re doing good or bad.
If your dogs are going out of control, use your low voice, they will understand it right away. It’s not meant to scare, it’s meant to control. Try not to be loud and scary, you can use an effective low loud voice to command the attention of your huskies to get them back on track.
Love your dogs, and treat them with respect… and the biggest form of respect is knowing how to let them know in a loving way that they’re out of bounds.
4: Stand up straight
This might sound crazy, but it’s also very important... your dogs will respect you even more if you stand up straight.
Don’t slouch and bend down to your dog’s level and don’t invite your dog to your level. You can do it sometimes, but the more you get down on the ground and bring yourself to their level, the more you’re inviting them to challenge your alpha position.
It’s fine to get down on your knees every once in a while and give them some love, let them sit in your arms, and even on your bed… it’s totally okay.
But when you’re trying to establish who’s the dominant person, it requires you to stand up straight and above their levels. They’re animals and they understand the subtleties of such signals.
It’s literally commanding them from above, you’re stating with your whole body that you’re in charge of them. This lets you assert your alpha position without even touching your dog.
5: Crate training
Crate training is one of the most effective techniques to help you establish dominance over your husky, even though for many husky owners this can be quite the challenge.
However, once they’re crate trained, they will have this little area of the house they will be able to call their own, and you’ll be able to implement that crate to issue time outs.
If they do something bad, a timeout is a great way to implement punishments and dominance. It’s not physical, it shows respect and helps you assert yourself as the leader.
That happens because they establish the crate as their own territory, but they still know you are the one in control. It’s a setting stone that you’re the one calling all the shots.
So let’s sum it up again:
Gently hold their back hip muscle
Mind your pitch
Stand up straight
If you’re not comfortable using all these methods, you can skip one or two, however using all of them makes it faster and easier to keep your position as alpha dog!
These methods also work with any breed. Believe, if they work on huskies, they work pretty much with any kind of dog… use them all, and you’ll have no problem establishing your position.
This is about trust and leadership, effective and affective communication. If this is done correctly, then you won’t have to ever worry about your husky going rogue.