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My friend Von has a beagle that has suddenly been very aggressive to the other dogs she owns...I told her some of the ideas here...this is what she found, and I am passing it to you all, it is very interesting!!

We've been reading everything we could get our hands on and even bought a dvd of the Dog Whisperer and while they gave a bit of insight, they sure didn't give any direction. This guy did.

He was very calming and explained everything so clearly. He gave us very good direction and things we can put into practice.

He said that like it or not a 2 year old strong-willed beagle is going to be the alpha dog over a 13 year old laid back lab mix so what we need to do is help that along.

We are to give Stella first attention, feed Stella first, etc. and make it clear to the other dogs that we believe Stella to be the alpha dog. That was not at all in my head to do that. I was giving Socks extra attention because she has been the recipient of several butt-kickings, but the way he explained it we were only making things worse by doing that because that told Socks not to surrender and for Stella to try harder.

We are not to allow the dogs on the bed any longer. Socks doesn't sleep on the bed, but Stella and Bagel do. The dr said that height is power so even if Socks doesn't sleep on the bed, Stella is claiming power by being above her. To further show that we believe that Stella is the alpha dog, she can stay in the bedroom, but now in her kennel. Socks and Bagel have to stay outside of the bedroom. We've put two dog beds in the hall just outside our bedroom door. And of course there's a new gate because they'd come in within 30 seconds of us telling them to stay in the hallway because they've never not been in the room with us.

Oh, the same goes for the livingroom furniture. These guys have always had the run of the furniture, but not now.

Stella and Bagel play non-stop with squeeky furry toys. Those toys are now in a basket and put up. They only get to play with them for a few minutes and only when the dogs can see us giving the toys to them. In a few minutes we pick the toys up. This, like the other things, is to show that WE are in charge.

Another thing we're to do is to put a 5' leash on Socks and Stella when we're home and leave the leashes on them. This gives us something to grab if they fight. He said that every now and then we should grab the leash and tell them to 'come' or 'sit' or any command we want. Again, to show that WE are in charge.

Lots of things, but they all boil down to showing all the dogs that Stella is the top dog. It's not that we do anything TO them, we just do whatever we're doing to Stella first.

This dr. was really good and I liked him and like other things, liking the person giving you instructions makes a huge difference (or at least it does to me). He said we could call him anytime we find ourselves struggling and that he'd call back in two weeks to check on things.

I'm not sure who's learning (or struggling) more... the dogs or us.

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Support the Alpha is a well practiced system to alleviate sibling rilvery. It should not however be under taken without consulting with someone well versed in the practice. Owners often confuse aggressiveness for dominance they are not the same.

to illustrate the point from post above." "He said that like it or not a 2 year old strong-willed beagle is going to be the alpha dog over a 13 year old laid back lab mix so what we need to do is help that along"

from Canine Social StructureBy: Dr. Nicholas Dodman One of af few Certified Veterinarian behaviorist in the country "Corrective steps involve supporting the true leader and relegating the subordinate to a beta or gamma role. Most often a “senior support program” is the way to go, lending human support to the older and incumbent dog when newcomers are involved."

When Dogs Get Too Aggressive"Often the problem can be relieved if, instead of protecting the perceived underdog, the owner supports the hierarchy. Determine which dog is the more dominant dog and reinforce that dog’s position by feeding, greeting or letting it out first. Usually this will help, but not always. “The problem with that approach is that it’s often difficult to tell who should be the lead dog,” says Dr. Wayne Hunthausen, past-president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. “Secondly, it’s really difficult for owners to play favorites with their dogs.”"

"Next, treatment must be designed to identify and support the dominant dog. In most cases this is the younger, larger, more physically capable dog. Often, this is also the aggressor."

"When Sibling Rivalry Ingnites" by Arden Moore
Your Dog December 2002. volume Viii Number 12
published by Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine
" Diane Arrington a professional dog Trainer from Dallas ... Through years of research and observation, Arrington has discovered that a clear heirarchy, derived from pack behavior, develops among dogs in the same household, Generally, but not always, the dog's age, and length of time in the home are deciding factors in the ranking order, as they are in a wild pack. The oldest dog usually requires the top ranking and respect of the younger dogs, Arrington said.

...Far too often, a younger dog enters the home and family members lavish attention on him. When they Greet the newcomer first, play with him first or even feed him, their actions create confusion and fustration among other incumbant dogs.

...Contrary to popular belief, the instegator on most household dogfights is not the true dominant dog but the non-dominant one - the lower status dog who feels he must fight to move up in the rankings due to the attention he recieves from people in the household

... To identify the true, dominant dog in the family pack, owners need to examine each dog's temperment based on answers to these questions:

1. Which dog tries to own your space?

2. Which dog tends to seek your affection more than other pets?

3. Which dog is the quickest to fight?

4. Which dog is willing to fight for highly prized items?

Surprisingly, the dog who pushes the hardest for these commodities and is most defensive is often not the dominant one but a dominant wannabee. Dominant dogs act as if to say, "That's mine, but you can borrow it if you want." Wannabees seemingly say, "what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine," i.e., they are less secure. "

Social Hierarchies Ian Dunbar
"Group Structure

At one interesting point in the study, immediately after the top dog Ken had died of old age, the rank order of the top five male dogs showed a perfect inverse correlation with body weight, i.e., the top dog 'Fast' Eddie was the smallest, the #2 dog Cassius was the second smallest, middle-ranking Joe was the middle-sized dog, down to Whip - the underdog - the largest in the pack! Investigating established hierarchies sometimes produces surprising results, which may only be successfully interpreted via a developmental analysis.

...Intra-litter Pup-Pup Relationships
each litter had a stable linear hierarchy, with rank strongly correlated with sex and weight - male pups and/or heavier pups tending to be higher ranking.

...Pup-Adult Relationships

Nonetheless, it is not uncommon for an extremely small adult dog to maintain higher rank over a much larger, but younger dog of a different breed.

Relative size and strength is the most important determinant of rank at each stage in development. However, once pups (of the same breed) have grown up and assumed their relative positions within an established adult hierarchy, there may be no correlation between rank and adult weight. Social hierarchies must always be viewed in a developmental context. Indeed, the above mentioned adult male hierarchy, which was negatively correlated with adult weight, showed a perfect positive correlation with age. Thus, although in adulthood, Cassius was larger than Eddie, for the first six months of Cassius' life, he was a mere slip of a pup compared with a three-year-old, and very macho Eddie. -Developmental nolo contendre! "

Not to dismiss the technique which has been successfully used for many years just that success is much more likely with professional assistance.

P.S. Given that the very notion of pack order and social hierarchy is in dispute, contrasted with the success of "suport the alpha progams would you thing give pause to those that dismiss pack heirarchy. That would be true if there was not another reason such programs work. Teach defference to the dog(s) most easily trained for it. It takes to dogs to fight if only one is will there still is no fighting. But more importantly it does not mastter why it works only that it does work.

[ February 26, 2006, 01:20 AM: Message edited by: Mikey T ]
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