Change dominance order of 3 dogs?

Posted by jnr
Jul 17, 2009
I have three neutered male dogs: a 3 year-old Shi Tzu mix (Riley), a 5-year old German Shepherd/Collie mix (Toby), and a 7-year old Black Lab mix (Jake). It is very obvious to me by their behavior that the pecking order for the three dogs is just as I have listed them, with Riley being the most dominant and Jake being the most submissive. I work very hard, though, at making sure I am the alpha member of our pack and I believe they all accept my position, although the older two appear to accept me as the alpha member more readily than Riley does. I keep reminding Riley of this by making him wait before going out the door, feeding him after I eat, etc. My question is, should I accept the pecking order the dogs have established and even encourage it? Or, since Riley asserts his dominance by doing things like taking toys away from the other dogs, should I try to move his position lower in the pack?
Posted by KOPsarah
Jul 18, 2009
Hi Jnr and thanks for your post,
If you are concerned that Riley is not respecting your leadership as much as he should or is being overly aggressive or dominant with the other dogs then you can certainly consider making him a less dominant pack member than the others by feeding him last and giving him attention last etc as you have mentioned. The best leader of the dog pack (after you of course) is usually the dog that shows calm but strong and mature leadership. Dogs which tend to lead by being slightly aggressive to the others are usually not good leaders and their behavior can escalate to challenging your leadership as an owner as well as starting scraps with the other dogs.

Hope this helps, if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask