Is there a way that I can pick the alpha dog in my family?

We have an eight year old neutered lab/mastiff mix named Carter at home and just adopted a 2 year old intact Bloodhound, called Bruno. I would like to have Carter be the alpha male but, just tonight, Bruno began to challenge his status. Carter lets Bruno have first dibs on food and water while I try to intervene and give everything to Carter first. Is this wrong? Should I let them decide? Will it spark fights and aggression, this battle for dominance? Would neutering help? Or is Bruno just testing his new status and "teenager" boundaries? Thanks for helping.

Asked by Carter on Aug 2nd 2010 Tagged dominance, alphamale, socialization in Socialization
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2 dogs of the same gender are bound to challenge each other. Neutered males can do better together than spayed females. I'd neuter him so he doesn't start marking.

As for Alpha. It's a passe term. Leader status is flexable. Untimately you are in charge and should object to any behavior you don't like.

I feed all 3 of mine separately, they are not allowed to poach food. I have food and water bowls enough for 3, with extra water bowls outside.

I've had fosters, guest dogs, etc. No way do I allow any dominance and absolutely fobid aggression.
Meals are highly organized, no dog eats til we say so.
I would reign in the new dog were I in your shoes. And make his neuter appointment.

Hope they learn to be buddies!

Snickers answered on 8/2/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


There is no way YOU can designate which dog will be top dog... that is up to them, and your interference will only make their challenges and confusion greater. It is up to you to be the leader and they should fall into order under you as they deem fit. They are dogs, not humans, and you are not a dog so it is best if you let them decide what role they will take. As for letting one eat first again, that is something the dogs need to decide, but I will tell you, there is NO WAY two males, neutered or not, would eat NEAR each other in my house... they would be fed in separate rooms or in their crates, otherwise it is an accident waiting to happen, and it most likely will not be a pretty fight when it does!!!!
I will say that keeping two males together is iffy at best, especially if the second one is not a puppy when aquired. Yes, he definitely should be neutered but at this age I doubt whether it will make a whole lot of difference.
Good luck, and remember... dogs are not humans!!!

Member 641257 answered on 8/3/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Have you checked out This is the Dog Whisperer's website. He offers some great tips and tricks on how to deal with different behavioral issues. Check it out... you will learn a great deal on dog psychology in general and what to watch for to avoid having issues down the road. They are testing each other now, but you don't want it to turn into an issue later. Good luck!

Wyatt answered on 8/5/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer