QUESTION: What to do when two out of three pugs act like alpha dogs? I have a three one and 1/2 and a five months old pugs. The little one bullies the middle one and is food aggressive with him. I’ve watched him fight with the other two without backing down. How do I change that.
ANSWER: ‘…With most dog packs it’s easy to see who’s boss and how the rest of the dogs fit within the order. Watch your dogs interact — which one takes the best toy goes out the door first gets to eat first and takes the best sleeping place? This is the ‘alpha’ dog the leader of the canine pack. The alpha dog achieves his or her rank by being smarter stronger or sometimes just more domineering than the rest. Some dogs are born leaders others fall into the alpha role because no one else wants the job. Most dogs don’t mind holding a subordinate position and seldom challenge the alpha dog’s authority. Trouble starts when a lower ranking dog tries to move up the pack ladder or ‘forgets’ his place. This can be a young dog entering his adolescent teenage stage or a subordinate pack member that senses the alpha dog is getting older weakening or losing his authority. The alpha makes and enforces the rules. Alpha dogs enforce their authority by the use of stern eye contact growling dominant body postures and if that fails biting and fighting. If you watch your dogs closely you’ll see examples of this eye contact and posture in their daily activities. Your dog’s ‘pack’ includes his human family as well as the other dogs in the household. You are alpha in this pack. You have the right to make the rules and it’s up to you to enforce them. Hopefully your dogs recognize your alpha status and you’ve reinforced it through training and consistent discipline. As alpha you have every right to make and enforce this rule: ‘There shall be no fighting!’When you see one of your dogs ‘talking trash’ to the other correct her in a firm deep sinister voice: ‘That’s enough!’ or ‘Leave it!’ If you enter the scene late and don’t know who started it scold them both. If you catch them while they’re still thinking about arguing you’ll be that much more effective. If your dogs are a little more serious and aren’t responding to your verbal correction you can leave short leads on them so you can give them leash corrections. Don’t be afraid to sound tough; you want them to understand that this behavior will not be allowed period. Make it clear that if they want to fight they’re going to have to fight with you first!If your dogs are fighting when you’re not home it’s safest to keep them separated at those times. Most fights though occur in the presence of the owner and are a result of competition over attention food toys and of course pack status. You can help prevent these disagreements by recognizing the highest ranking dog in your pack and favoring it with your attention. This is the dog you should pet first feed first and let out the door first. Giving alpha privileges to a lower ranking dog even if it might be your personal favorite confuses the others and can lead to fighting. All the dogs will be more secure and comfortable with each other when they’re clear on where they stand in the pack…’http://www.canismajor.com/dog/feisty.html