Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Just Call Me Alpha Dog!

on October 5, 2013


I have chronicled some of the trials and tribulations of dealing with a new Puppy for some months now.  Although “King” Buddy is a beautiful, healthy and loving dog, his behavior has left a lot to be desired.  During the past few weeks, his antics were actually starting to cause physical problems for Danny and I.

For those of you who don’t remember when we were first blessed with the arrival (totally unexpected) of a new puppy, I pulled out a picture of what Buddy looked like when he first entered our lives.


King Buddy at three months and four days old!


I can hear the “Awww’s” and “How cute!” from here!

Six Months later, our adorable little puppy grew…and grew…and grew…and so did his bad behaviors!


Buddy trying to “herd” Danny.  This behavior is dangerous to us with a risk of knocking us down. He also nips at your feet and blocks doorways so it’s hard to get in the house.

He was beginning to get aggressive with us…blocking us from leaving the porch…growling and bullying us to pay constant attention to him.  The other day, he actually snarled at me!  As you can imagine…that was the last straw for me.

Now, he can be a good dog when he wants to….he just doesn’t want to very often! After a serious discussion concerning Buddy’s future…we had to choose between finding him another home or trying to correct the error of his ways.  Because we really do love this dog and he has a great effect on Danny’s depression…we decided that we were going to put him on “Puppy Probation” and give him another chance.

 So, we tried to separate him from us when he was acting up.


He would just whine and stare at us until we let him rejoin us…and then he would make us pay for his incarceration by increasing his bad behavior.  Next we tried increasing his walks to two miles a day which resulted in a lot of tugging, pulling and jumping on his part and a three-day hospital stay for torn muscles in my back and stomach on my part.

I  called to join a local Behavior Class three times but never got a call back.  I think that Buddy’s reputation is getting around and dog trainers are running for the hills.


So, I decided to do some research on the Internet and find some training tools that would help me turn “King” Buddy into a “Prince”.  There are many videos out there that are free and of course, there are trainers willing to sell you there techniques. After reading article after article on training dogs, I found a common thread and our major problem. Buddy had decided that he was “Alpha Dog” and we were to bow to his demands.


So, the first thing I needed to do was to establish myself as “Alpha Dog.”  My first attempts at correcting his bad behaviors with “No” and “Bad Dog” were met with less than desirable results.


He ignored my commands and did what he damn well pleased.  So, it was time to bring out the big guns.  I knew that exercise, (which I had to stop our walks after I couldn’t control him), was vital and that I needed a correction tool that wasn’t harmful to Buddy but would be effective in getting his attention and letting him know that being a bully was no longer acceptable.

I drove down to our local Pet Supermarket on my hands and knees, begging for help.

dogbeg The manager of the store was very helpful and suggested I buy a Head Halter and a can of Pet Corrector.  She said I would be amazed at how well these items will work for a dog owner trying to establish themselves as an “Alpha Dog!”

I had previously purchased a body halter for Buddy, but it was less than effective in curbing his lunging, pulling and jumping.  She said the Head Halter would stop these behaviors and eliminate the injuries to my back and stomach muscles.  I was still dubious, but being desperate, I bought the Gentle Leader Head Collar.


OMG…I wanted to run back and kiss that Manager!  We took a short test run last night and this skimpy little collar actually works!  It takes some getting used to by the dog, but Buddy was under control for the first time ever on a walk…and all I had to do to correct him when he tried to jump or lunge was a Gentle pull on the leash and he stopped immediately.

Buddy and I are going to take it slow until we both get used to the new halter, but long, pleasant walks are definitely in our future!  (My Blogging Buddy, Bashar was kind enough to tell me his experience with the Dog Whisperers’ Illusion Collar…but I think this one will do the trick!  But, thanks for the advice, my friend! )

The second item the store manager recommended was a can of Pet Corrector Training Spray.

4136yodoFsLShe guaranteed that the spray was not harmful to a dog and was the Number One selling behavior tool…said she found it hard to keep it in stock!  I don’t believe in hitting dogs with newspapers or any other method that makes a dog terrified of his owner.  I want a dog that responds to verbal commands…and this spray seemed to be the answer.

I read the directions when I got home and waited for Buddy to jump or exhibit one of his many bad behaviors.  I didn’t have to wait long…Danny opened the door to come out and Buddy prepared to jump up on him.  I shot one quick burst of air from the Pet Corrector Can with a firm “No” and it stopped Buddy in his tracks.  He ran to a corner and stared at me.  His whole attitude changed and just two days later after having to use the Corrector only four times, we now have a dog that recognizes us as his masters.


Of course, you have to be careful not to overuse it.  You don’t want a terrified dog.  But, as I said, only a few bursts were necessary.  Believe it or not…he no longer bullies, jumps or nips at our feet.  It is actually a pleasure to have him around.  When we say “No” he pays attention and he will actually sit quietly by our side.  What a difference the right tools make!

So, hopefully, Buddy’s Puppy Probation will disappear with his good behavior and we can be proud to call him our “King.”  Of course, consistency in training is key, so although we will allow him to keep his title, he is really expected to demonstrate  Prince-like behaviors.  Next week, we are going to start teaching additional commands, such as “Stay” and “Lie Down and Stay.” Wish us luck!

So, just call me Alpha Dog…Buddy does! 🙂


P.S.  I looked on Amazon to provide you with links to the products I purchased and found they were a lot cheaper online.  So, if you can wait for shipping, you’ll probably want to order it there.  However, I was at my wit’s end so the extra money didn’t matter to me.

And, all the dog animations are from Heather’s Animations…click here and pay her a visit!


13 responses to “Just Call Me Alpha Dog!

  1. barbtaub says:

    I was going to write and tell you about the gentle leader — an absolute godsend with our last dog, a strong-willed lab who decided that she only liked one person. Unfortunately, that was my son and Lucy didn’t see any particular reason to obey anyone else on the planet when he abandoned her to go to college. Ah, good times! I’m so glad to hear that Buddy is doing better. I know he’ll be much happier as well.

    Hope you’re feeling better too.

    • M E McMahon says:

      Feeling much better and today went on 2nd test run with the Gentle Leader. Buddy is still getting used to it, but two fingers is all it takes to bring him under control. It’s amazing! It’s great to actually enjoy his company instead of dreading our walk!

      I hope things are going well for you too, my friend!

  2. M E McMahon says:

    Reblogged this on Grandma Says.. and commented:

    Cranky’s Adventures With Buddy!

  3. grannyK says:

    My son used something like that to get control of our Saint Bernard for walks. When a very strong 132 pound dog decides to chase someone on a bike, you just are dragged along behind and there is little you can do about it! Using one of those harnesses, my son had her under control in a short time. I hope your dog’s behavior continues to improve. I also very much hope your health returns fast!

    • M E McMahon says:

      Thanks! I’m a tough old bird and it’s gonna take more than a 65 pound dog to get the best of me! We are going out for another short walk in an hour…he still is getting used to the new leash (keeps trying to take it off) but I don’t think it will be long before we’re back to our two miles a day!

  4. Sallyann says:

    That’s wonderful news. Its surprising how much we will put up with from our pet’s (for instance a constant hay fever cough since I’ve had rabbits) but the line has to be drawn somewhere and I’m so glad Buddy is going to make it through his puppy probation. 🙂

  5. Bastet says:

    I’ve never had the problem and probably never will being a cat person myself. I’m so happy you’ve been able to find a way to curb Buddy’s delusions of grandeur…good for you!

  6. btg5885 says:

    I pronounce you Alpha Dog Extraordinaire. We we have two plus a cat. We are still working on them, or is it vice versa?

    • M E McMahon says:

      We just came back from our 3rd test drive with the Gentle Leader and Buddy is really starting to get the hang of it! I strongly recommend it for training…it’s a godsend!

  7. […] like to give a special hug to ME Mahon, who’s been having a rough time lately!  And to Sweetness 6645, because she […]

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