Why "Alpha" Matters
"Hello Kate. We just had a scary event. Our young shepherd attacked our older one and we're having to keep them separate. I'm so upset! Will we ever be able to reintegrate our family?"
This is a frantic call I got from a client seeking to find out if animal communication could help her learn what happened to her previously peaceful pack and what to do to restore harmony.
Here's what I did:
Step 1: Talk to the youngster, Belle, and find out what happened between her and Stella, the elder.
Step 2: Ask Stella her thoughts on the situation.
Step 3: Talk with both dogs about the importance of getting along and ask if they are both willing to do so.
Step 4: Ascertain what support they need from their human "mom" (This takes many forms -- changes in HER behavior being #1, and including Flower essence support, dietary tune ups, energy balancing, etc from me once we have the dogs' input.)
Who is Alpha?
There are quite a few misunderstandings in the human/old school dog training world as to what constitutes being "alpha" in a dog pack. Trainers who focus on a model of physical dominance are missing so much, AND, if they teach humans to "roll a dog on her back" to establish their dominance, are teaching the human to foster a relationship of fear over trust and creating a serious defensive bite risk!
According to Dogs
Dogs have taught me that the Alpha leader is 1) Clear, 2) Consistent, 3) Kind, 4) Calm. Obviously, yelling and physically "attacking" a dog is not alpha behavior. An alpha dog will only attack a pack member as a last resort if it's the only way to stop a damaging or dangerous behavior. (BTW, this is corroborated by behaviorists who have studied wolves). It is critical in a human/dog family that the human knows how to be the benevolent alpha her dogs can depend on.
Mom as Alpha
In the situation between Belle and Stella, Belle explained that Stella was old and it was important for her to take the alpha position in the pack. Obviously, "taking Stella out" was not okay with their human mom. So, we needed to reestablish Mom as the pack leader. We carefully crafted activities to...
1) Show Belle that Mom is in charge. Belle lost her position on the couch next to Mom and had to sit and wait for Stella to eat first and wait to receive a "release" command from Mom before eating, going outside, getting in the car, out of the car, etc.
2) Mom needed to tell Belle in no uncertain terms that Stella was the pack elder and MUST be respected and protected.
3) Mom must consistently show Belle and Stella that her rules are LAW.
4) Good behavior is always rewarded with love, an earned privilege and occasional treats.
With Belle and Stella's agreement, I put together a Unity Essence remedy to help support re-balancing their relationship, helping Belle make good choices and supporting Stella's self-esteem.
Mom, Belle and Stella did a great job working together for the good of the pack. Mom stayed strong, clear and consistent with her rules, training and rewards. Belle accepted Mom's alpha authority and became a sweet, loving girl again. Stella felt safe at Mom's side and even started playing with Belle again. Peace and Harmony were restored.
This is why I LOVE what I do! Gratitude to Mom for reaching out to me, and for Mom, Belle and Stella for cooperating out of love for each other. Through our "Team Work", a happy,balanced pack was restored!
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