Dogs can tell time. They know when it is 5 PM, dinner time. If I get involved in something and lose track of the time, they will remind me it is 5 o’clock. If I don’t get up at 7:30 AM, they will wake me. They know when it is 7:30, and time for me to get out of bed. A large dog can wake you with a single bark, two feet from your ear. I have no idea how a dog senses time. Somehow they just learn.
Most of my dogs have been “rescue” dogs, what used to be call strays. I am careful about putting a collar on a stray dog or letting it into the fenced backyard. Sometimes these dogs have gone feral, living out of trash cans and fighting for their lives. They can be very dangerous. Without exception, they just want to belong, be part of the pack. It is my job to teach them the rules of belonging to the pack.
Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, is one of my idols. I’ve read most of his books and faithfully watch his TV series. He talks of the importance of being the alpha dog. I’m not buying it. The dogs will work out the alpha thing among themselves. I’m a god. I’m the food god, the bath god, the medicine god. I go far beyond being an alpha dog. I open canned dog food. Doors don’t stop me.
I agree with Cesar about it being an attitude, you have to be in charge, no questions allowed. Never, ever, hit a dog. This reduces you to their level, just another animal. Train your dog by being the food god, rewarding good behavior with your favor. It always works.
I may be a god but the alpha female will still bark in my ear at 7:30 in the morning. Maybe she is telling me that my god illusion is just that, an illusion.