Can You Train Your Dog to Be Assertive?

Submissive Boxer

Some dog's personalities are an exception to their breed. What can you do when you didn't get quite what you bargained for?

Visitor: I Wish My Dog Was More Assertive


My problem is that my two-year-old female Boxer is very playful, but when playing with other dogs she is very submissive. I take her for two-mile walks every day before we take her to dog park.

She is fine when we get to park and wants to play with the other dogs, but it just seems the other dogs are too much for her. She gets scared and either tries to run away or sit down when one tries to sniff her behind. This happens with all sizes of dogs.

Please help. I feel bad that she is this way. I would like to improve her self esteem and make her realize she is a powerful Boxer. She also doesn't seem to understand when other dogs are being too aggressive and are getting ready to bite her. She doesn't even bark or growl back. She simply is not a bit aggressive. I guess that is a good thing, but I want her to be a strong confident Boxer.

Thank you for your help~~ Stephen

Expert Reply

Hi Stephen,

Putting your dog through a socialization class may help her become a bit more assertive, but you're probably going to have to accept that your dog's basic personality is a submissive one. Some dogs are the Alpha type, strong and confident, ready to take on anything. Other dogs have type-B personalities. They are followers, not leaders, and they don't relish confrontation of any kind. This is just as true for Chihuahuas as it is for Boxers.

If you're dog doesn't seem to particularly enjoy the amount of attention she receives at the dog park you could probably limit your trips there. Just try to accept her as she is and enjoy the love and devotion she has for you.

Thanks for your question~~ Kelly

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