A dog that knows his place in his human pack is a happy dog. A dog that does not is a confused dog and can exhibit many unwanted behaviors because of it.
We’ve compiled this guide to help you establish your dominance in your own pack. Hopefully it will lead to happier people and happier dogs.
Walk The Walk
It’s important for you to just well, seem like the leader to your dog. This is important one on even a subconscious level. When you speak to your dog, speak clearly and with authority. Try and have good posture and hold your head high. If you see your dog in your path, don’t walk around him. Instead, step over your dog or even better yet, make him move. A lot of this is general feel stuff. If you don’t have a lot of “alpha swagger” elsewhere in life this can be harder but you need to try especially hard as it pertains to your dog because hi happiness depends upon it.
Look him/her in the eye
When you give a command, look directly at your dog. Make sure he can see that you mean business and that this is not a command to be disobeyed. If your dog looks at you in an attempt to defy you, then stare back at him firmly without blinking, until he lowers his gaze. Don’t ever look away first. This is important. It’s not only a way of establishing a contact, it’s also a way for your dog to figure out the hierarchy in the pack.
Keep Your Space Sacred
This is a controversial one because a lot of us love to sleep with our pets. If you don’t like the idea of your fully grown dog getting his dirty paws on your bed you need to do your best to curtail the behavior while your dog is still a puppy. I completely understand the appeal but you need to understand that when your dogs becomes accustomed to sleeping in the same space as you they see you as a little mate and not as their pack leader. And as pack leader is exactly how we want our dogs to see us, right?
Put Your Hands On Your Dog
And when I say that I don’t mean that you should hit your dog. Rather you should take every opportunity to rub your dog’s belly, touch his paws and put your fingers in his mouth and gums. All these actions will not only help you when you groom him, these are also acts of submission on the part of your dog. If your dog will let you handle his body without growling, it indicates that he has accepted you as the alpha. Grooming rituals are a great way to bod with your dog and also to establish that you are the one in control. It’s best to start doing this as early as possible as puppies are must more accepting of increased levels of handling than grown dogs are. If you have an adult rescue dog this may not be possible but it’s never too late. Start increasing the intensity and duration of your grooming sessions and soon your dog will begin to accept it and come to see you as the alpha.
Lead The Leash
When you take your dog for a walk, there are a set of behaviors that you should follow and that you should expect from your dog in order to assert dominance. Don’t ever allow your dog to pull you around. You should never be end of the leash, while your dog leads the way. Make sure that your dog walks beside you and never ahead of you. Train him by refusing to move in the direction in that he is pulling you in. If he pulls in a certain direction, stop. Just stop, and then wait for him to stop pulling. Once you have his attention, begin to walk again with your dog by your side. Repeat as often as necessary.
Don’t Encourage Bad Behavior
Some things that are outright adorable in puppies can become nightmarish when your dog is fulling grown if they are not nipped in the bud. Yes, your new puppy pulling your linens out of the hamper is just precious. Fast forward 2 years and when he’s tearing up $90 shirts with absolute abandon you will wish you had stopped it when it was cute. You’ll see a lot of opportunities to implement this rule, especially as a first time puppy owner. Remember. Just because it’s cute now doesn’t mean it always will be.
If you try your best to implement these tips you can be relatively sure that your dog comes up with a healthy amount of respect for your authority. Sometimes that can make all the difference in the world. For your happiness, and his.