Kisses and Cuddles

Posted by Slinky
Nov 20, 2007

I am new to this site and have really enjoyed all the infomation so far. I have just a quick question regarding becoming the Alpha Dog. From what I have read so far I think my 2 year old female desexed rotti X ridgeback is Alpha dog, so I am following your guidelines regarding feeding last, ignoring until she relaxes and then inviting her over for a pat, etc. But I have only been following these guidelines for a few days and already miss getting on the floor and hugging and kissing her and I really enjoy lying down on the floor, cuddling her while watching tv. Is it OK to do these things if I invite her?

Cheers Lizzy
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Nov 21, 2007
Hi there,

I understand very well that you are already missing cuddling and kissing your 2 year old doggy.

I am curious how you came to the conclusion that your dog is becoming the Alpha and thought you needed to start the Alpha training? Do you have another dog that the 2 year dog snaps or attacks? Or, is she becoming aggressive to you or other human family members? There are different reasons for dogs to become aggressive and my theory is that the Alpha techniques are not always the right solution depending on the reason of the aggressiveness.

Cuddling and hugging and kissing are all important things for both dogs and people in order to establish and maintain a trustworthy relationship. I don't think you should get rid of those. However, I would like to know why you decided to implement the Alpha techniques. If you don't mind will you please share it with me? It might be possible that you can keep doing those things while you work on the Alpha techniques.
Posted by Slinky
Nov 27, 2007
Hi and thanks for your reply.

I'm not sure exactly what infomation to give you, so I'll just give you a brief history of my dog. I purchased Slinky from a pet shop at 8 weeks of age and she is now 2. I have had some difficulties with her as she is very nervous and anxious in new enviroments and with strangers. She has been to puppy pre-school and has continued with obedience until a few months ago as I was leaving obedience class in tears almost every week and Slinky didn't seem to be enjoying herself. I used to love obedience classes and Slinky was doing very well, but as she has got older and stronger she has become aggressive with dogs playing with balls and very active dogs when on lead. If she plays off lead she is OK, but is very dominant when she plays. Standing over dogs and mounting them.

After reading all the infomation in the stay, sit, fetch package. I have concluded that she may be Alpha over me as she rushes through door ways, when on lead rushes at dogs and she disobeys my commands. In the household I have another dog a 6 year old desexed Meremma Sheepdog X Border Collie who is the Alpha dog. Slinky allows her to dominant her by mounting her etc and Slinky is constantly liking her on the ears and under the chin. Slinky shows strong seperation anxiety if I take the other dog out, but not if I take Slinky out by herself. She only shows it if the other dog or myself or my partner aren't home.

She also growls when out the front at anyone in the court eg. Someone outside checking the letter box or briging there rubbish bins in. Especially males. She also shows suspicision to people wearing beanies or head dresses.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards Lizzy
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Nov 28, 2007
Hi there,

Thank you for giving me more information on Slinky's aggression. I have had a similar problem with Noah, my 2 yr old Border Collie Mix. It all started when he begun attending his training classes. Noah started to lunge and bark when he saw big dogs, and even snapped and bit when they got too close to him. He became even more protective when he had a ball in his moth, or he was on a leash.

He and I have been working on his issue and he has got a lot better. He is now in an advanced class and he has learned to ignore big dogs. When a dog encounters a stranger, or scary things, he can only "fight" or "flight". When Slinky is leashed he can not flight so he would fight. It is called "leash aggression". You said he is just fine off leashed so I think he will need to learn that he does not need to react like that.

You said you started working on Alpha Techniques and it seems to be working so I think you should keep working on it. I myself did not choose to use Alpha Techniques so I took a different approach - desensitization. In other words, I have been teaching Noah to get used to other dogs so that he will learn that he doesn't need to be scared of them. Also, I stopped playing balls with him in the park so that there is nothing he needs to be protective about.

Whichever approach you would take, I think you will need to be consistent and keep working on it for a while. As for kissing and cuddling, I think you can still invite Slinky to lie down next to you when you want, but not on a sofa or bed.

Sorry, I can not give you a good advice, except for "be patient, it will be just fine at the end if you keep working".

Good luck
Posted by MartyEd
Nov 29, 2007
Hi there Lizzy,

I agree mostly with what Max has guided you with, however I believe that ensuring you are alpha dog is key in EVERY situation - no matter what the type of aggression. Your dog needs to know that you are more dominant than she is. You will take a different approach depending on your dog's demeanour of course, but the fundamentals are the same - you are the boss in all situations. Kisses and cuddles are absolutely fine - so long as they don't undermine the other work you are doing with your crossbreed to ensure she knows that you are boss. As Max rightly put, continue to ensure she isn't allowed on to the couch or bed, and be sure to reprimand her if she acts up at any stage. Only ever allow kisses and cuddles as a reward - i.e. do not give her positive attention after she has done something inappropriate and always be sure you are only cuddling her at times in which she has been well behaved as this is to some degree a reward. And of course ensure you and your families safety if you are going to cuddle your dog! I am sure you know and trust your dog completely, but there have always been cases of unpredicatable reactions from dogs in certain circumstances. It is always good to have this in the back of your mind - particularly if you have young children interacting with Slinky.

Continue with the alpha training as you have been - you will make significant progress over time believe me and be sure to ensure your other dog knows you are boss also. You will also need to refer to the specific sections in SitStayFetch to ensure that your dog also doesn't rush to the door and to help alter her aggression towards people wearing clothing she isn't used to !!

Best of luck with Slinkey and please let us know how you get on.


Mark Edwards
Kingdom of Pets Team