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Taming a Dominant Dog

Dogs are thought to be dominating or unbalanced when they are running the household instead of you.

There is some controversy as to whether a dog has dominating traits as suggested in the pack theory, or if the dog has learned bad behaviors from their environment and owner.

Either way when you have a dog that dominates your home there can be serious problems.

Taming a dominant dog requires re-training the animal to be obedient and well mannered in all circumstances.

Dominating Traits of a Dog And What To Look For

Most dogs will display dominance or aggression at about two weeks old. This is not to be confused with assertion such as pushing another out of the way to eat, but is a continual push to be on top or first. Some dogs will have to be the first to eat, but will allow another to sleep in their bed.

It is important to identify whether your dog is being dominant or if it is their personality. Some of the signs of a dominant dog are barking at you when you give a command, not letting go of a toy when told to release, marking the dog’s territory within your house, or pushing you out of the way when moving by you.

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How Dogs Learn Behavior And Why It’s Important

Dogs are taught by what is termed operant behavior, which means positive reactions for good behavior and negative reactions for bad behavior. Taming a dominant dog means that when your animal is displaying a negative behavior there should be a negative reaction to the act. A negative reaction does not mean that the dog should incur punishment, but a reaction should be demonstrated such as isolating the pet for a period of time.

We use this same training with our children when we have them “time out.” This forces the pet to notice that its behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Dogs do not want isolation and will respond.

Techniques in Managing Dominating Dogs

If you feel that your dog is dominating there are some techniques that will help you to control this kind of behavior. Taking the dog to obedience classes and learning how to give your dog direct commands will give you the confidence and your pet the knowledge that you are the leader. 

Feed your dog after you eat your own meal, and do not feed from the table. Any command should be given as a fact without emotion so that your pet knows you mean business. Once you have your dog’s attention and he is performing the behavior that you desire him reward the pet. 

Dogs under normal circumstance will be dominating in some areas and submissive in other areas. These circumstances can be caused by anxiety, fear, or boredom. Determining if your dog always wanted to be in control or is just going through a phase will help in deciding how to approach the problem. Taming a dominant dog will take consistency and patience, but will be worth it in the end.

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