Who is the Alpha dog?

Posted by Cathie
Dec 14, 2009
Hi there,
I have two 2year old female border collies, Isabella and Matilda who I am having trouble walking.
I have been walking them separately for about six weeks now because they
didn't seem to be learning because they were distracting each other. I have
them walking beautifully now by themselves, they don't pull they mostly
ignore other dogs and they watch me and listen to my instructions. However
when I take them together they know which houses have dogs and they pull and get excited just before the houses, they don't listen and watch each other for reactions. Am I still not the alpha dog? I can't work out which of themis the alpha dog because they seem to be boss of different things. Isabella is the boss of food and eats first while the Matilda waits. Matilda take
toys from Isabella and Isabella waits quietly until she is sick of the toy.
Matilda won't allow Isabella onto the mat at night in front of our lounge
but Isabella pulls Matilda by the ear through doorways or into the house
when I request that they come in or follow me.
Am I supposed to make one of them more dominant or does anyone have any other ideas about what is going on in their doggy minds?
Posted by kjd
Dec 26, 2009

Have you ever seen two children who are beautifully behaved when by themselves but constantly up to mischief when together? This type of behavior is not species-specific!

When you tell them to sit or down in the house, do they do it? Are they as obedient together as when the other is not there? Practice with them in the house and yard. Have both sit (or down), then call only one to you. The other should remain sitting (or down). Once you have them ignoring the other as a distraction in the house, take them out front, or someplace where there are other distractions also. Still, remember they are each other's prime distractor. You can even practice heeling, having one dog confined to the front yard, while the other dog is heeled in sight. I think you will find that it is going to take time to get them to respond well while in sight of the other dog. Once they are back to heeling well alone (but with sister watching), you can start walking them together again. It will still take some time before they learn you want their attention even when sister is there, but they will learn.

Of course, if you have the Dog Whisperer around, he can get the two to ignore one another on walks in a few minutes.