As you can see,
your dog rules are different from humans. Dogs are
much more precise and follow the rules of hierarchy to a T. As
he crouches low to the ground and rolls onto his back,
your dog is saying, "You're the boss.
Whatever you want is okay with me". To speak
harshly to him or to punish him at this point is cruel.
In his world, speaking his language, he has assumed the
position to end the quarrel or challenge.
The difference between dogs
and humans is also illustrated by the way a mother dog
corrects her puppies. When unruly puppies get
out of hand, the dam will pick them up by the scruff of the
neck with her teeth and shake them while growling.
Older puppies will find mother's mouth clamped over their
muzzle with increasing pressure until the young upstarts
Unfortunately when Fido
sees himself as "above" the children in the
family, he'll "correct" them in the same manner.
However, instead of quieting down the instant the dog's
mouth goes around the child's arm as a puppy would, a small
child will scream and try to pull away. This results
in more pressure being applied by Fido in an attempt to
quell the perceived challenge.
Willing your dog to become
human and to understand your ways will not work. You
can not educate the canine instincts out of your dog.
If you're going to get a dog, you must commit yourself to
establishing yourself as pack leader.
Fortunately, this isn't as
ominous as it sounds. It's as easy as you setting the
rules in the house and making sure Fido obeys them
If Fido's not allowed on
the couch, make sure no one in the family allows him up on
the couch, period.
Do not allow Fido to beg at
the table (remember, the alpha eats first) and to wait until
supper is over to reward him with scraps.
Other ways to establish
your position as leader of the pack are as follows:
remove favorite toys
from him starting as soon as he comes home! If he
objects, correct him with a guttural growl.
(Rabbits, cats and other "prey" animals who
don't command a dog's respect vocalize in shrill, high
tones. Big male dogs who are respected by all
"speak" in a low, firm tone.)
Obedience train him.
Crate train him.
Frequently play with his
food in his dish as he eats from puppyhood.
Don't play tug-of-war
Groom him regularly,
checking ears, feet and tail for ticks, fleas and other
Trim his nails
Make frequent eye
contact with him.
Stop and correct him
immediately when he's misbehaving.
Teach him to take treats
gently, no pushing and grabbing.
I'm sure you're breathing a
sigh of relief right now. It's that easy.
Chances are you were already planning on doing most of the
things on the list already.
It is essential that you
remember that your dog will love you no matter what.
That's what dogs do. You must do the above so you will
also have his respect. Convince the 15 lb puppy
to respect you and the 90 lb adult dog will never question
Just as it's the
accumulation of the above actions that shows your dog you're
the boss, if your dog is going to challenge your position
he'll do it by taking baby steps. He may start by
protesting giving up a toy or snapping up a treat greedily.
He may mouth your hand as you trim his nails or rush to beat
you out the door. Your response should be sharp and
unwavering. A low, guttural "Stop it"
with a jerk on his collar or chain will usually suffice.
Young dogs will respond to being lifted by the scruff of the
neck by looking away and avoiding your gaze. (He'll
remember his mother's correction like this when he was a
puppy.) This is exactly what you want and it should be
see a list of submissive
and dominant dog body language...