Take Back Your Power: How to Handle Your Bossy Dog
Living with a bossy dog means that you are not in the driver’s seat when it comes to your daily routines. When your dog thinks he is the boss, he might bark a lot to get his way, mark his territory by urinating inside your house, or even bite when he feels like he is not being heard.
While this can cause some tension at home, there are ways to exert your own dominance over your dog and show him who is the true boss of your household:
Keep Your Emotions in Check
Animals can sense human emotions, especially when they fluctuate a lot. If you are constantly nervous around your already dominant dog, she is going to latch onto that feeling and continue to display bossy behavior.
When addressing a dog who thinks she is the leader, it is important to remain calm and confident. This stable attitude shows the dog that you are in control and do not need help as a leader.
Boss Around Your Bossy Dog
Some owners struggle with dominant dogs because the dog will take any opportunity to be in the position of leadership. Without a strong commitment to showing your dog that you are actually the boss, it will be hard to break this habit.
When you are trying to teach your dog that you are in fact the boss of the house, be sure to remember the following:
- Use positive reinforcement: a dog often exhibits dominant behavior when feeling threatened, so it is important to keep your training sessions light and positive.
- Reward good behavior: when your dog can associate obedience with a positive experience (like getting a treat), he will be more likely to perform that behavior in the future.
- Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to teaching a dominant dog to bow down to your lead. Spend time each day working on training and socializing your dog.
- Get help if you need it: dog training is a big commitment, especially when you are dealing with a dominant dog. If you need a little bit of help getting through, there is no shame in turning to a professional.
Play Hard to Get
Bossy dogs might not be instantly affectionate, which can be hard for owners who just want to shower their pups with attention. When you are trying to get your dog to be a little less bossy, forcing kisses and cuddles on him might have him reverting to even more dominant behaviors. The best way to entice a dominant dog to a relationship filled with physical affection is to ignore him and let him come to you when he feels ready.
Put the Boss to Work
Some dogs become bossy because they need a job to fulfil their role in your pack family. Giving these dogs a role like carrying a backpack during a walk or hiding a treat and having them find it can make them feel like they are completing an important task for the pack.
If you need more help wrangling your bossy dog, the team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital is here to help. We have a huge respect for the bond between you and your pets, and we want to help this bond flourish as much as possible. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, visit us online or call (210) 681‑1391.