You know how to tell if your dog thinks he’s the pack leader. You know this gives you less control over your dog and gives your big dog stress. Now – how do you fix it?
Assert your dominance, to put it simply. You are the pack leader. You are in command. Here are 5 ways to demonstrate that you are your dog’s pack leader:
1. When you give a command, make sure it is followed. Don’t allow it to be optional – if you do, you’re giving up your dominance and allowing the dog to choose if he does what you say or not. Be patient and persistent.
2. Don’t allow your dog to physically dominate you. Don’t allow your large dog to jump on you unless doing so on command. Another method of physical domination is being at the same height or higher - whoever is looking down at the other is in charge. To maintain your place as “top dog” you need to be higher up, so keep your big dog off of furniture.
3. Walk through doors first. The Dog Whisperer is a big fan of this one. It shows you are literally at the head of the pack. When you walk out with your dog on a leash, tell your big dog to sit while you walk through the door. Then call your dog after you. Do this until your dog automatically defers to you.
4. Control the food supply. The alpha in a wolf pack would. Say your dog’s food bowl is in the laundry room. Tell your big dog to sit and stay at the door of the laundry room while you fill the bowl. Do not allow the dog in the room until you give the release command. (As an added benefit, it’s a lot easier to fill the bowl when you don’t have a giant hungry dog getting in the way.)
5. Do not give in to your large dog’s demands. If you play every time your dog nudges you or drops a toy in your lap, you’re telling him he can dictate who does what, when.
The common thread in all 5 of these tips? Take charge. And as always, consistency is key with any kind of dog training. Once you have reclaimed your role as the pack leader, you will find that daily life with your large dog will change for the better.
Have you had a dog who thought he was leader of the pack? How were you able to overcome it? Share with us on Facebook.
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Photo credit: Bruce Turner