There is no doubt about the fact that dogs can and mostly do make for great pets. They can feel when we are ill or sad, they are always by our sides, and they protect us in hairy situations. That said, how a dog behaves depends on the owner and how the owner treats it.
Remember that dogs are by nature pack animals, and this means that there is a pack leader, and thus, there is usually going to be a fight for dominance at one point or another.
Dogs who are reaching sexual maturity may begin to exhibit dominant behavior over their owners, and if nothing is done to curb this behavior, it will only get worse with age. If you let a dog dominate you, it will.
Simply put, your dog views you as insubordinate. It wants to be the pack leader and it feels that this is rightfully so. You can’t let your dog walk all over you and your family. Let’s talk about how to stop a dog’s dominance behavior.
Calm and Assertive
Here we are taking a page right out of Cesar Milan’s play book, because after all, the man is a legend when it comes to training dogs. According to Milan, it’s all about being calm and assertive. Dogs are known for being able to recognize different types of energy and energy levels.
If you have a dog that is showing dominant behavior, and you end up getting fearful, anxious, or flustered in any way, the dog will pick up on your energy. The more anxious you are, the more the dog will feel that it should be the dominant one, not you.
It’s all about the energy you display, so stay as calm as possible, but also don’t forget to be assertive. You can be calm, but if you are not assertive, the dog won’t listen to you. A dog that thinks it is in charge won’t want to listen to your commands, so you have to be assertive and relentless with obedience, but never lose your cool.
Never Force Affection
One of the worst things you can do with a dominant dog is to try and force affection. Dominant dogs in the pack are usually going to be more solitary. They expect the pack to show it attention, not the other way around. The followers always look after the leader.
So, if your dominant dog is quite solitary, and you constantly try to pet it, play with it, and generally force affection, you are reaffirming the dog’s claim to dominance. You are the one going to the dog and therefore the dog will feel like it is in charge.
With dominant dogs, if you stop showing them affection, they will most likely start coming to you for it. Even dominant dogs still want attention and affection, but you need to flip the equation so they are forced to come to you for it, not the other way around.
Obedience, Rules, and Boundaries
A big reason why dogs often become so dominant is because owners often let them do so. Dogs who are allowed to run rampant in the house without any rules, limitations, or boundaries are going to think that they are the boss.
One of the best ways to stop this dominant behavior from occurring is to go to some dog classes or generally train the dog. The more commands you give your dog and the more it is forced to obey your commands, the less dominating it should become. Constantly giving the dog commands and bending it to your will enforces the fact that you are the alpha of the pack, not the dog.
Moreover, this also has to do with other rules and limitations. If you have an overly dominating dog, stop letting it up on the couches and beds, don’t go opening and closing the door whenever it wants you to, don’t feed it before you feed yourself, and never let it exit or enter a room before you. You, the human, are the pack leader, and the pack leader always comes first.
No, your dog is not going to start being the breadwinner in your house, but a little job will help domineering dogs to become subordinate to you. A pack leader is a job, a job which the alpha performs.
If you expect the dog to accept your takeover as head honcho, giving it a job to do always helps. It makes the dog feel important. Give it a wagon to pull on a walk or anything else of the sort. Little jobs work wonders to keep dogs occupied and subordinate to the owner.
Always make sure that in every way, you, the pack leader, are the one that comes first. You walk first, you eat first, and you enter rooms first. You need to enforce strict obedience and rules, but always do so in a calm and assertive way.