Thursday, January 13, 2011

If I Were an Alpha Dog, I'd be King of the Hill

Hey Bloggy Friends. I'm in a French mood today. The closest I'll get is talking about Cody, my Border Collie/Aussie mix dog. Cody sings with my Granddaughter (below) when Ashly plays Parisian street music on the accordion. It's hysterical. Guess it hurts her ears. I've had dogs all my life and Cody wins the smartest dog award. She chose me at 7 weeks. Runt of the litter, she sat between my feet and wouldn't budge. She takes commands so well and I've never had to train her. She trained herself!!!

I took Cody to an agility practice course and WOW, Wonder Dog, Star Attraction. She ran through the whole course with me running after her. Funny sight. Except the poles (I don't know the names of any of the equipment.) She didn't get that but I know she'd have it in little time. Below she's on the board that was 5 feet high. She ran straight across but I had to back her up for the picture. She would be a natural at agility but I don't have the time. Poor Cody. There goes her chance at stardom!!

Seventeen years ago , my son got his first dog, a Border Collie named Patsy. Zonnie was a winter guide at Vail so I said I'd spend the winter at the ranch and keep 9 month old Patsy. She thought she was alpha dog and ignored my instructions, in fact she'd actually nip and snarl when I gave her a command.

I thought the gentle method might work, but no, she needed a firmer hand. OK Patsy, I've trained dogs before. I'm going to show you I'm alpha dog. I put on winter jacket, stocking cap, heavy gloves and gave her a command that I knew she wouldn't obey. I wrestled her to the ground, belly up, with her snarling and really trying to bite me. I wanted her in the submission position as the under dog who had lost to the victor dog in a fight. I got on top of her, held her on her back with her paws on the floor by her head. It was a big struggle but she was not yet fully grown and I was younger... tee hee. She kept fighting, biting, snarling at me. I went as close to her jugular as I could and I growled like a dog. We kept locked in this position for at least 5 minutes. Gradually I could feel her giving up the struggle. Thank god. I was sweating and getting very tired. Finally I felt her body completely relax and I let her up. I walked away and called her. She came immediately and flipped on her back and bared her belly to me. Submission. It worked. I became alpha dog and for the rest of her life, she showed submission whenever I called her.

I didn't need any of that with Cody. She recognized me as alpha dog from the start. That absolutely has to be established before a dog can be trained. When you see the dogs that pull the owner on a leash, RIGHT, you know who's the alpha dog. (And it ain't the human!!!)

Do you have any dog training experiences for us?


  1. No, I don't have a lot of experience with "training" a dog. The few that I have had just responded really well to me and the things I wanted from them.
    Maybe secretly, I am a dog whisperer (tee,hee)

    we now have an 8 month old standard poolde named LUCY, we love her. got her when she was 3 months old. she is very obedient. very loving.

    but I have heard that you BETTER make them understand who's boss or YOu could become, the pet.

  2. Cody is beautiful! Sound like you two do quite well together. I know its always nice when a pet picks you. That is so much more important that You picking a pet.

    Roy watches the Dog Whisper faithfully. He always comments when we see someone being walked by their dog.

  3. It's great meeting you. I'm a new visitor and follower from the blog hop. I look forward to hearing back from you over at my blog, :)

  4. You are simply amazing, Manzi. I think you're an alpha person period, and you didn't even have to wrestle me to the ground for me to recognize it. :-)

  5. What a dog whisperer you are!! Wow!!! Cody and Patsy sound so adorable and just perfect!! Collies are smart, clever, intelligent dogs - they can herd sheep!!!

    I haven't a clue about doggies but I know I'd never be alpha anything with them! Ask my cat! LOL! Take care

  6. Hey! ANYTHING Australian is good - and smart! So no surprise to me that Cody = wonderdog!!

    Have a fabulous weekend!!

  7. I hate dogs that snatch food from your hand, we do "take it". Now if I could just figure out how to keep them from jumping up and crowding the front door.

  8. We need to be the pack leader or we will follow behind being half dragged. Never tried you method but it certainly worked.
    I can't get the dog whisperer on TV but I do love to watch "Its me or the dog." That English gal is good.
    Cute picture of your granddaughter and Cody.

  9. Wendy, dog whisperer,
    In the wild the dogs have a dominant alpha dog so they want someone to be the alpha or they will take the title and then you got a sassy, bad dog.

    I was watching a gal "trying" to walk 2 large dogs on individual leashes. What a dog whisperer wouldn't do for her. I honestly couldn't keep a dog that didn't obey. Why add additional hell to your life?

    Katie Johnson,
    Thanks so much for stopping. I'll be over to see you shortly.

    Ha... you always make me laugh. But thanks for the kind words.

    Old Kittie,
    You're alpha gal of fun poetry. All the good dog trainers come from your neck of the woods.

    Red Nomad Oz,
    You are correct. Aussies are wonderful dogs and mix them with a Border Collie and they are super dogs.

    Mrs. Tuna,
    I've seen "It's either me or the dog" show have programs on just that. They always say you can't teach an old dog..... etc. I don't know.... guess it's harder..

    It sounds pretty primitive but it worked that time. Wouldn't count on it working again in a million years. I like to watch, " it's me or the dog" too. she always makes it look so easy.

    Thanks everyone. Love you, Manzanita

  10. Good Morning Manzanita, We have a pack (well 2) of wild cocker spaniels...and sadly, they know who is boss right now; them! Hubs and I can't seem to get on the same page...and being a mental health professional, I'm seeing first hand the effect of, so far, "irreconcilable differences." I think consistency is the way to go...he doesn't get the inch and mile concept :-). Case in point: Minnie was scratching the glass door to go out back the other day when I heard Rick tell her to use the doggie door (which leads to the side yard) The side yard is a fenced off 10X30 foot space we prepared as a sort of dog run. It's an interesting place with a small raised garden, flower cart, potting bench and some small sculptures...but it's not the back yard. Rick allowed them out there and Minnie, who is our little explorer loved it. I warned him that you can't allow them to do things willy nilly that you will not want them doing on their I started singing (in Minnie voice, of course) A Whole New World...from the Disney movie Aladdin. He caved, opened the door, and she rocketed out on her magic carpet of air, one happy little princess. Are we doomed? :-) Blessings and have a marvelous weekend, Janet

  11. Manzi,
    I enjoyed reading your post and, like the others, will now think of you as the Dog Whisperer!
    This post came at the right time as I will be having two of my grand kiddo's, and their new puppy, for the weekend. The last time I puppy sat for little Lucy, she stayed at the bottom of the stairs, by the front door, waiting for her Mommy to come home! Hopefully, we can establish some of the Alpha Dog..because I know she has her family bamboozled!


  12. Wow, Manzi! We think alike (should I worry?). My dogs also chose me. That is the secret.

  13. You have a beautiful dog. I love dogs but hubby won't let me have one. I enjoyed your post. Doylene

  14. The alpha dog advice is the best bit any dog owner can hear. Too many treat their dogs as children and *best friends* not understanding the rules of dog world.

  15. Beautiful dog!

    Found you while blog hopping! I'm your newest follower!

  16. Hey! Thanx so much for stopping by and following my blog! So great to see your lovely comment - now all I need to know is what the name of your blog means?!

    Happy 2011!

  17. Janet,
    We do sooo love our pups, don't we? Sometimes we forget they aren't human. Two cockers...... they must be a joy. Thanks for the nice comment.

    Hey Shawn,
    Hope you have a wonderful week end with the pup and the kidlets. That will keep Grandma busy for sure. Yes, when dogs form that bond with someone, they'll wait at the steps forever for them to come home.

    Smart dogs and they know who they're chosing!!! Yeah, I know of people who get dogs for looks..... it's like chosing people.... it's what inside that matters.

    I'm so sorry hubby won't let you have a dog but I'm sure he has good reasons. He's missing out on the joys of a faithful companion.

    You have certainly been around animals and you understand them. You know that wild dogs have an alpha leader and they expect the human to be that but the human fails to live up to that, the dog takes over and becomes a non cooperative animal to live with.

    Hand Crafter,
    Thanks for stopping. I visited your creative blog and will return.

    Red Nomad Oz,
    I did answer this on your blog. But I wrote a post on the name Dec 10, 2010 Name of post is "I take thee........ for my blog." If you have time to look it up. Thanks for asking.

    Thank you everyone for the beautiful and interesting comments.

  18. What an awesome friend Cody is for you! Reading your post about her makes me wish that I had a pet again. Maybe someday!

    Have a great weekend, Candace

  19. Cody is a gorgeous dog! Dogs are so perceptive. He knew you before you knew him!

    But I have cats. I don't know that much about dogs. I've "babysat" neighbors dogs, but never owned one of my own. If I had more room in this house I would consider one.

  20. Hi again! Thanx for the heads up about your blog name - it's fascinating! And while I have no dog training experience, I once had a very different experience with a singing, piano playing dingo (Australian wild dog). If you've got the time someday you might be interested in reading about it here: Dinky the Singing Dingo

  21. So many people do not understand what you did and would be humiliated to get down on the floor like that. I don't care how old the dog is or how big, you need to let them know who is boss.

    When our dog was a puppy we regularly put him on his back and got over him. Usually it wasn't on the floor it was on the bed but it still worked. Even though he is a small dog, we have always been boss.

  22. Candace,
    Puppies are so adorable but so full of energy. I'm always happy when they reach a year.

    Red Nomad Oz,
    That dingo is hysterical. I guess they howl (sing) because it hurts their ears. Cody does it too, whenever my phone rings. If I can't her the ringtone, I can hear Cody singing so I know the phone is ringing.

    You are absolutely right. Dogs need a boss or alpha dog. They want the human to be in control. Often those little dogs get bossier and snippier than the big ones and the human is afraid to "show who is boss because they are so little and cute and they end up an annoying pain.

  23. Border collies are awesome -- every BC I have ever known has been sharp and gentle of temperment. We had a blue heeler, Billie Lucille (Billy Holiday the blues singer and Lucille for BB King's guitar). She was super-smart. Excy taught her about 10 different tricks. And she was just awesome. One day I was calling the cats and I guess she thought they weren't moving quick enough b/c I saw her herding them from across the yard...nipping at their heels...pretty funny...

  24. Your dog is beautiful! My dog is untrainable. She goes to the bathroom outside, but I can't get her to stop barking at all. She barks at dogs and I can't train her not to do that either. She's wagging her tail the entire time, but still she barks and barks and barks. Luckily she's a lovey dog! I wish you'd come by and train mine!

  25. Manzanita, Must stop by again to thank you for your comment on my blog. I appreciated your kind words, and yes I did get a pajama Sunday. I made a huge turkey dinner for my son before he leaves again (he's been wanting fudge and pumpkin pie so that too), and I did it all in my pajamas woo hoo! Now I'm exhausted and going to bed, still in pj's of course LOL.

  26. I need a bit of help deciding. I'm getting ready to retire and have always wanted a dog like this. The problem...I live in a city subdivision. So....will this breed be satisfied with leash training or do I need wide open spaces for her? Thank you for any input you can give. Also, if you think this breed would be good for me could you tell me where I could get one similar to yours.

  27. Hey, I'm a Bozeman Blogger!! Love to meet a local cohort!!! So fun to find you!

  28. I Wonder wye,
    What a delightful story. All herding dogs are such gentle, smart creatures. I love them to pieces!!! I also have a yen for Billie Halliday. Can't get enough blues. Thanks for the great comment.

    Barkers. I guess they are just showing their property line. "This is mine," It's so hard to remove those inbred instincts in animals. According to the TV show, "It's me or the dog," I guess it can be done with lots of patience. I give Cody lots of raw bones when she's in the yard and often she's so busy chewing she doesn't notice when other dogs walk by ..Ha

    You are such a good pajama Mama..... Boys appreciate sooo much what their Mother's do. When my oldest son came home on leave from the Marines (Viet Nam War) I slipped a note in his bag. It just said, "Remember, I love you. Mother." He later told me he carried that note with him for the rest of the war. It's the little things we do for them .... and fudge won't hurt either... Tee Hee.

    I answered your comment on your email.

    An Authentic Life,
    Never found anyone blogging from Bozeman before. Nice to meet you. I'll be by....

    Thanks everyone for the great comments. Love you... Manzi