Petting & Attention
Alpha Dogs are used to being fussed over. In a real dog pack, subordinate dogs are forever touching, licking and grooming the Alpha Dog. It’s a show of respect and submission. For now, until his attitude has shown improvement, cut down on the amount of cuddling your dog gets. When he wants attention, make him SIT first, give him a few kind words and pats, then stop. Go back to whatever it was you were doing and ignore him. If he pesters you, tell him NO! – in a firm voice and ignore him some more. Pet him when you want to, not just because he wants you to. Also, for the time being, don’t get down on the floor or on your knees to pet your dog. That too, is a show of submission. Give praise, petting and rewards from a position that’s higher than the dog.
If you or anyone in your family wrestles, rough-houses or plays tug of war with you dog – STOP! These games encourage dogs to dominate people physically and to use their teeth. In a dog pack or in a litter these games are more than just playing – they help establish pack order based on physical strength. Your dog is already probably stronger and quicker than you are. Rough, physical games prove that to him. He doesn’t need to be reminded of it!
Find new games for him to play. Hide & Seek, fetch or frisbee catching are more appropriate. Make sure you’re the one who starts and ends the game – NOT THE DOG! Stop playing before the dog gets bored and is inclined to try to keep the ball or frisbee.