What do you do about your dog’s bad behavior when he thinks he is the boss?
I was at a Dog Guard Out of Sight Dog Fence installation last month in Jupiter. I was doing the work by hand, so it was taking longer than normal. While I was in front of the house, the neighbor down the block was mowing his lawn. He noticed the Out of Sight Dog Fence flags that were slowly progressing across the front of the lawn. He wondered over and asked if I am a dog trainer. Well, yes, I install containment dog fences and also am a dog trainer. He seemed happy about that and then asked me a “dog question”. “I just don’t understand it. I work with my dog on Come/Sit/Stay. I play with my dog. I walk my dog. But it seems like he still thinks he is the boss. I think I am doing everything right, but something must be missing!”
The one thing that I am always telling my clients is that we are human and most of us do at least a mediocre job of being human. The one thing that we aren’t are dogs. We know what dogs are, we have seen dogs, and many of us are dog owners. With all of this said, we still are not dogs. We do not see the world as a dog.
So what does this have to do with our dog thinking he is the boss? The reason is because you are repeatedly telling him that he is the boss! As I mentioned earlier, you are human and from your perspective, you have no idea that you might be telling your dog he is the boss. From your dog’s perspective (the canine point of view), you are constantly implying that he is the boss.
Let me explain what you are doing and why your dog thinks you are telling him he is the boss. After that, let’s look at some things you can do to fix this bad behavior…
Let’s say that it is a typical Sunday afternoon and you are sitting in the back yard checking your emails on your Ipad. Your dog comes up to you and sticks his nose in your lap asking for a pat on the head. You think nothing of it and give him a big pat and then toss the Frisbee across the yard. You have just told your dog he is the boss. Since you have just affirmed that he is the boss, he can do whatever he wants and you will do whatever he wants you to do.
In the human world, anyone can has the ability to have a good idea that others might follow. The fact that we might comply with someone’s good idea does not make them the leader in our human eyes. Now let us turn to the wolf pack (canine behavior) in which you have the canine alpha leader and the rest of the pack. The only one that tells the pack what to do is the canine alpha leader.
As soon as our said “pet me” and you did, you submitted to his request, demoted yourself to a follower or pack member, and promoted your dog to being the boss or the canine alpha leader. We (humans) do this all day long. It seems that we are always telling our dog that he is the boss. Since he is the boss, he can do whatever he wants. This normally translates to a dog that is always misbehaving and annoying us. What can we do to fix this?
The answer is pretty simple. When you are dealing with your dog, always make sure that whatever happens is your idea.
If your dog comes to you and nudges for a pet, don’t pay attention. In a second or two, he will turn away. As soon as he does that, you can call him to you and you can tell him that you want to pet him. All you have done is to take ownership of the idea and made it your own. Your dog responded to the act because it was your idea.
This sounds like a pretty simple thing to do, but as I tell all of my dog clients, it is really hard. Remember that we (humans) do not directly attach leadership to responding to requests. Dogs care whose idea it was because that equates to awarding leadership and ultimately their general safety.
If you want your dog well behaved and understanding his position in the pack, you must always begin, you must always initiate, and you must always implement your idea. For more information on this subject or anything covering out of sight dog fence installation or dog training, please contact us at The Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers and Dog Trainers in Jupiter and South Florida.