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Alpha dog turns not so alpha?


Darcy's Folks
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Ooops, that subject is supposed to read "Alpha dog turns not SO alpha"

Anyway, a big question at our house in the past few weeks has been.... is it possible that Darcy our ultra alpha dog is not the alpha dog anymore????

I figured those of you with lots of years of dog experience and with multiple dogs would be able to confirm or deny this possibility.

We've noticed some specific activities between Darcy & Bailey which seem to indicate that Darcy is honoring Bailey as the alpha dog, however in some cases she is not. So are they equals now??? Has this become a blissful marriage between two dogs? As a reminder, we've had Darcy since a pup. We adopted Bailey 6 months ago. Darcy is 2, Bailey 1 1/2.

For instance... Darcy who NEVER leaves an drop of food untouched or uneaten, now waits to eat until Bailey starts to eat. And in fact, Darcy (the little piggy) has begun to slow down her eating and even leave food in her food dish. She used to scarf her food down and this was when she was an "only" dog, and she has NEVER left food in her dish. She just won't touch her food anymore unless Bailey eats first. On the flip side, she MUST sleep closer to us at night and Bailey must sleep at the foot of the bed... all by Darcy's doing.

So what's going on here? Would love to hear your input.

Edited by Darcy's Folks
Kate, Darcy & Bailey's mom
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My Scruffy did the same thing and she is the alpha. My trainer explained to me that the alpha dog is the "provider" and is their responsibility to make sure her pups are fed. Makes sense to me as Scruffy has given up toys, bones, food and her beloved cookies to Sparky. Sparky is the most adorable, submissive puppy love I have ever been around and Scruffy gets kicked out of dog parks for being to aggressive.

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I think we try to read too much into dog's behaviour. Oftentimes the only explanation is that they get into little quirks and habits, much like people do.

Two dogs that get along well together often seem to switch roles. They learn to read each others behaviour very well and are very comfortable with each other, so in a sense they stop needing to demonstrate who is the follower and who is the leader.

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My parents have an older black chihauha (sp) mix that was a stray that adopted them a few years ago. She is the boss at their house and let's Fudgie know. It took about 3 weeks for her to decide she liked Fudgie. Now they are wrestling buddies. When she has enough, she lets Fudgie know and they go their seperate ways, but Fudgie wants to be the boss and in control and tries all the time to be boss. Yesterday my parents dog didn't feel too well and really growled and bit at Fudgie. No playing was her message and Fudgie seemed to get the idea and left her alone all the time we were there. These dogs are smarter than we know and I think they know when to be bossy and when not too.

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I wish little Brystal would assume the Alpha - it would serve Hollie right.... HA!

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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