• Linda Healy

Establishing dominance with your dog

If you get your dog as a puppy, it will in most cases automatically and forevermore see you as its superior. As for adult dogs, the simple act of providing their food strongly reinforces your primacy. Also, dogs that are markedly smaller than you will usually accept your authority. However, some particularly high spirited breeds (Jack Russells, Dobermans, Akitas) may choose, on occasion, to challenge. This can manifest itself in interesting ways: the dog may growl or snap if you try to move it off your bed; aggressively defend its food bowl; or even refuse to give you "right of way" when you pass. Such problems must be dealt with promptly, before they escalate into more serious challenges.

Troubleshooting Dominance Issues

- If a dog is having trouble with one member of its human family, have that person start feeding the animal. When the canine sees where its food comes from, it will often submit to the provider,

- A dog that stands on its hind legs, puts its forepaws on your chest or shoulders and looks you in the eye is trying to dominate you. Do not allow this behaviour.

- If a dog wants a treat or a toy, make it perform some trick or obey a command before providing it. This reinforces the chain of authority

- One of the perks of being the dominant pack member is "right of way' animals with lower status must get out of your path. For this reason, if your dog is in your way, do not move. Make it move.

- If your dog seems to develop dominance issues with a child, seek the help of a professional dog trainer immediatey.

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