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Correcting Dominance in your Dog

In nature, dogs – like wolves – live in packs. They are social animals and, as such, are comfortable living with a strict social order. Each pack has a clear leader and that leader’s job is to tell the other dogs what to do and when to do it. Without that leader, the pack would literally be lost until another competent leader stepped forward. In exchange for guiding the pack, the leader is treated with respect by the other dogs.

Why do you need to know this? Because your dog doesn’t realize you aren’t another dog. To him, you and your family are his pack. That means someone is going to be considered the leader. If no one steps up to the plate, then your dog is going to fill the gap out of necessity and that’s when things are going to start going wrong in your relationship.
 
Dominant Dogs & Your Home A dog that respects his owner

In dog packs, following the leader is what is expected. It comes naturally. In your home, of course you’re not going to willingly follow the whims of your dog. Plus, your dog may not be a very good leader. Some dogs are just more comfortable being submissive, but they know the pack needs them so they’ll take on the role if it’s vacant.

The result is often a serious string of bad decisions by your dog. He is more likely to become aggressive with other dogs who may be viewed as threats to his dominance. He may try to dominant you and everyone in your home by claiming the furniture for his own, by stealing food off the table, by controlling your actions through barking, biting, and other annoying behavior, and more. 

The bottom line is living with a dominant dog is not pleasant, but it can be overcome and even prevented.  

Transforming Dominance into Submission

Turning your dog from a dominant monster into a submissive companion is easier than you might think. First, you just have to make up your mind that you are the boss and stick to it. If you say no, then the answer is no, regardless of how much bad behavior results. Second, you have to take every opportunity to establish your own dominance. For example, never let your dog eat before you – the pack leader eats first, always. You should also make your dog get off the furniture for you. During walks, you must have firm control over your dog’s movements. He should stay by your side at all times. If he’s in front of you, then he’s leading the pack. For additional tactics to employ when training your dog, read this article from Dr P's Dog Training.

If you are consistent, you’ll find your dog abandoning his dominant role and willingly taking on his more submissive position.  And the result will be a more healthy and happy relationship for both of you!



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