Dominance Issues: A Few Quick Tips

Posted on October 14, 2011 by Barb

Dogs that don't know their place in the human pack can be a real problem. Following these suggestions can make a big difference rather quickly and can bring peace and a sense of well-being back into your household!

  1. No Dogs In Bed.
    Dogs may be domesticated, but they still maintain a pack mentality. Dominant dogs, or the pack leaders, get to sleep in the best spot. Letting your dog sleep with you can signal an equality amongst peers.

    A much better option to allowing your dog to sleep in bed with you is to provide your dog with a dog bed of his/her own, or to use a dog crate. Dogs tend to adopt their crate as a den, much like a bedroom of their own, and as a safety zone. Once accustomed, dogs are likely to return to their crate for naps and to chew their favorite bones or toys.
  2. No Dogs On the Furniture.
    Very similar to dogs in bed, the couch, as well as the rest of the furniture, is a place for alphas. There's nothing wrong with the dog having it's own bed (pet bed) or even it's own piece of furniture, as long as it's only for the dog. There is a difference, however, between inviting the dog to join you and letting him/her have free reign. By inviting, you are sharing your space, not trying to reclaim your space once the dog is "hogging" the couch.
  3. Humans Eat First.
    More pack mentality here. Alpha eats first and gets the better food. Dogs should be fed after the humans. Food stealing, from you, the kids, or off your plate, for example, is highly disrespectful and shows where the dog feels it's place is.
  4. Humans Enter & Exit First.
    This is a door rule. All the humans in the pack, when leaving (or arriving) as a group, go in or out through the door first. Remember, you are a leader, not the follower. Teaching your dog to wait can save you the heartbreak of having your dog bolt out the door and in front of a car.
  5. Excess Petting & Fawning?
    Yep. More pack mentality. Alphas get more grooming and fawning over by the rest of the pack. The subordinate, or submissive, lower pack members are sucking up. Your dog should come to you for attention, but should not be petted excessively or fawned over continuously.
  6. Leg Riding & Humping.
    Dogs that ride your leg are generally not feeling frisky. Humping and leg riding, performed by both male and female dogs, are signs the dog is trying to dominate. These antics may be funny in a movie, but are meant for business by the dog.

MacKay Rottweilers