When I became a dog trainer, we used the term Alpha to describe almost every undesireable trait a dog would exhibit, from eating first to pulling on the leash, to jumping up on people or refusing to make eye contact. I applied the principle like a good apprentice should.
Then I met Susan. Susan is a wealthy Calgary widow with 4 dogs: 2 large male boxers, a chocolate lab and a beagle. She was well respected by her dogs yet her style was completely the opposite of anything I had learned. She called me in to work on the dog's household behaviour as they were constantly jumping on the housekeeper, gardener, driver and handyman. This case really led me to question my approach.
I began to research what the term Alpha really meant, and did dogs actually scheme to be the Pack Leader?
While doing my research I came across a lot of useful information, and I continue to find great information which de-bunks the theory time after time.
NOT all behaviour problems are caused by dominance. In a nutshell, it's a lack of boundaries and direction on the owner's part. A dog cannot make sense of our rules and expectations unless we teach them with love and patience.
For more details, follow this link to the doggie blog.