I want to share with you an email that landed in my inbox, one of many similar ones, by the way. Here it is:
“I own wolf dogs and if you are not the alpha, they take over. A stern voice or glance makes my dogs go to the ground. I would never hit them, however. I will snarl, stare and let them know I am the dominant of the pack. I have also neutered and spayed them because my husband and I are the only breeding pair in this pack. We have also started showing them that our son has a higher place than them in the pack. My male tries to be the dominant one, but has never successfully won. Nor will we let him. I am alpha, he is a pack dog and nothing else.”
Here is my response:
The author believes that she has a functional pack because the way she and her husband relate with the wolf dogs follows Nature's Rules. Like many, she's been misguided.
In nature, the social climbing male could and would leave and form his own pack.
In nature, the existing alpha would always have to be on guard, and it appears that the author of this email also is.
In nature, no wolf is forced to submit to the next generation offspring, her son. Rank comes with seniority.
It appears, that her male wolf dog understands how nature works and hasn't authentically submitted. The sentence: “My male tries to be dominant but has never successfully won” implies that he continues to challenge, and that means that his humans have not convinced him that he is nothing but a pack dog.
To "never successfully won" I answer: So Far!
This sentence worries me. I see a real risk that if the owners have their backs turned, the male might try to take the weakest link out first - the child. And that risk is there regardless if the owners are actually accurate and the dog is dominant, or erroneous and he is anxious, frustrated and angry because of the way he is treated.