How to Effectively Show Your Dog Who’s in Charge
When you get a new dog, or bring a second dog into the home, it is important to establish that you are in charge. In order to establish dominance, you have to exert leadership over the dogs, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
A confused dog that doesn’t know his place in the world might exhibit signs of aggression. Yet, other dogs develop separation anxiety and act out through destructive behaviors. If the dog doesn’t know his place in the household pack, he will be confused and intimidated. On the other hand, if a dog understands his place, he will probably be happier.
The important thing is to establish yourself as the pack leader.
Setting the Record Straight about Who’s in Charge
You may feel a little silly or even mean, but it is important to let the dog know that you are in charge.
- Be the Owner. Put your hands firmly on the dog and hug him. Pat him until your hands are warm.
- Praise him warmly then move away
- Reprimand disobedience fairly and forgive quickly. When you place your hands on your dog, don’t do it out of anger, but with authority. Do not hit the dog to show dominance. You can shake the collar, pull back on the leash, or manoeuvre them into a sitting position. When you have made the dog do something you want, you are acting as the alpha. Follow up with a hug.
- Your dog should obey on the first command. If you are constantly repeating yourself with your dog, you are not the alpha. Dogs have amazing hearing, much better than a human’s. Don’t let him give you the slip.
- Give commands you know you can follow through with. You have to be responsible about completing commands. If your dog takes off across the park to chase a squirrel, don’t yell to call him back. This is a situation where you cannot reprimand disobedience. Just be patient, because once he accepts you as the alpha, he will stop to look for you. When he sees you aren’t following, he will return to you. This is how he knows leaders must be obeyed.
- Be benevolent. In human terms, a top dog is tough but loving and fair. Dogs only want to know who is in charge and who loves them.
- Be a model top dog. A top dog has dignity, confidence, intelligence and authority. This will help your dog to be calm himself.
- If you have more than one dog in your home, you have to decide the rankings within the dog pack. Also, you have to feed the top dog first, and he gets top choice of the bones. The others have to wait for their turn. This is another way for you to gain dominance.
You can also enroll your dog in a dog training program. Make sure to find trainers that takes potentially aggressive ones, even your pup has delusions of grandeur. Once the dust settles, your dog with understand that, although you are the boss, you are not such a bad guy. Dog trainers will work closely with you and your animal to ensure obedience is achieved.
Signs of Submission
A submissive dog may do one of the following.
- flatten their ears back on their head
- repeatedly sticking out their tongue when you approach
- rolling over onto their back
- avoiding eye contact and licking his lips
- playful position with front paws on the ground, rear end up
If your dog still acts like he’s the boss, ignore him until his attitude changes. Otherwise, he will continue dominating humans:
- body blocking or rubbing shoulders
- standing still and at attention
- growling and looking you in the eye
- moving between people or dogs
If your dog is trying to dominate, emphasize your authority and get it specially trained in order to restore your power.
Filed under: All About Dogs
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