Few dogs are born leaders, but you may have beat the odds and ended up with a dominant dog. This is a dog who would normally take the lead position in a pack, also often called the Alpha. But, you are Pack Leader now and will need to establish that with your dog. Here are some tips to help you build a balanced relationship with your alpha dog.
Dog training for dominance can be a struggle, because you first have to show your dog that you are the boss. Only after you have made it clear to your dog that you are the pack alpha can you move on to obedience training, which is crucial for your dogs success and safety. We’ve outlined some tips to help you get started:
Your dominant dog will not follow unstable energy. If you are nervous or anxious in any way, your dog will sense it and will use this moment to take charge. If you are calm and assertive, however, your dominant dog will not feel the need protect and lead their pack – meaning you.
Set Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations
These three things important for any dog, but it is especially necessary for those that are dominant. Setting rules, boundaries, and limitations gives a dominant dog some areas in which they can focus their dominance, without directing it to you. They should, at a minimum, have rules set for where they can go in the house without your permission. They should also know to wait for your command before going in or out of the door, as well as knowing to stay calm and submissive in order to receive their food.
Do Not Force Affection
In a pack, followers approach the leader not the other way around. So, if you fall into this trap by pursuing your dog for cuddles and kisses, that puts him in the leadership position. Of course, this can be hard because we love our dogs so much, but the best approach to a dominant dog is to ignore him. When he wants attention, he will have to come to you, the pack leader, to get it.
Take Advantage of Meal Time
The leader eats first in a pack, so you should prepare your food before you prepare food for your dominant dog. Also, it is recommended you create a boundary by not allowing your dog to approach the dinner table while people are eating. Additionally, make sure your dog is calm and submissive before you give him his food.
Give Your Dog a Job to Do
Dominant dogs feel a need to have some kind of role in a pack. To fill this void, you should give your dog a simple job like wearing a backpack during your walks or training him to do tricks.
Keeping these tips in mind will help tremendously in establishing yourself as the leader of the pack. Your dog will learn to respect you and follow your lead. If, for whatever reason, you’re having a hard time getting your dominant dog under control, the team at AlphA and Omega dog training can help you. Contact our expert dog trainers in Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and Cleveland.