Dog Behavior

Reassert Leadership Over Your Dog

Dog watching leader for next command; Copyright Willeecole at Dreamstime.com
By
Dog Breeder and Exhibitor
June 27, 2012

Does it feel like your dog is beginning to ignore you and do whatever pleases him? If so, it's time to reassert yourself as his leader. Just be sure you do it in a firm, fair and consistent manner.

Tips for Regaining Control of Your Pet

To firmly establish yourself as your dog's leader again and maintain that position, you've got to reinforce your leadership every day. You can do this in a number of ways.

  • Take your dog for walks, and don't allow him to lead you by pulling on the leash.
  • Make him get off the furniture. Letting him sit next to you gives him the impression he's at least your equal, which opens up the opportunity to challenge you for leadership.
  • Don't allow him to sleep in your bed. His place is in his own bed on the floor.
  • Only give him dinner after the family has eaten. In a pack, the lead dog eats first, and the rest of the pack eats afterward.
  • Do not allow him to beg at the table. The top dog in a pack would never allow a lower ranking dog to come steal his food before he's done with it.
  • Put him through obedience training, and then follow through using those commands at home throughout the day.

Keep Things Positive

You want to be your dog's leader, not his bully. While you're firming up your position, don't forget to offer positive reinforcement when he responds to your commands. Praise him, and offer him the occasional treat to encourage the kind of behavior you want, and never resort to using punishment as a training technique. You'll regain "top dog" status with your pet, and he'll be happy to follow your lead.