Is Your Puppy Your Master?

Jack Russell Terrier Dog Enjoying a Car Ride.

It was love at first sight – you looked into these big, black eyes and you knew at that moment that this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and a wonderful companionship. Crossing the threshold with him in your arms has been equally magical because you know that both of you will love this new relationship together. However, there comes a time when that love may waver: when your puppy starts showing signs of dominance. Now this isn’t a problem puppy training can’t fix, but you should be aware of this issue to avoid taking it lightly.

Why Show Him Who’s the Boss

You need to show your puppy that you’re the boss to ensure that he obeys you. If he starts believing that he’s the master, you’ll be hoarse trying to shout instructions while he does the opposite or simply ignore you. Having an untrained, dominant dog can also be dangerous, especially if you have children. While he may think he’s playing, his teeth and claws may end up hurting your loved ones. As a result, you may part ways with the beautiful puppy you once welcomed into your home and force the poor thing into years in the shelter for something he had no control over.

How to Identify Dominance in Dogs

A dominant pup can turn from the dream dog into a nightmarish mutt once he grows up. Therefore, consider enrolling him in the best puppy training program before the following dominance traits grow worse.

  1. Jumping on People – First off, all puppies jump; so don’t feel like you have a bad dog because of this single trait. Instead, work with the instructor to teach your pup today before his 90-pound adult version knocks you down every time he jumps on you.
  2. Guarding Food and Toys – Resource guarding is one of the main traits dominant dogs tend to exhibit. However, this possessiveness will cause a big problem, especially since you need to explain that everything your dog has actually belongs to you. So start training your pooch by taking away his food and toys in the very beginning.
  3. Demanding Attention – Because he loves you, your puppy may demand your attention all the time. He’ll roll a toy or ball at your feet or nudge you with it until you throw it away. While this may seem cute at first, it can quickly evolve into a pain in the rear, especially once you have chores or work to do.
  4. Growling or Barking – These sounds are cute as long as your puppy is young. But imagine having a large dog do the same; not as cute now, right? To avoid having your dog talk back to you, obedience training is necessary to establish your limits and how much sass you can take from him.
  5. Mouthing – While those little pins in his mouth won’t hurt you much, this habit can be quite annoying at first and dangerous in the long run. As dogs use their mouths to ascertain dominance, you definitely need to nip this (pardon the pun) in the bud.
  6. Humping – You’d probably die of shame if your pup starts humping you or whoever walks through your door. So you need to teach your dog that this isn’t ‘good dog behavior’ by pushing him off and saying ‘No’.

Dominance in dogs is a serious matter which can later require time-consuming training for aggressive dogs. So make sure that your puppy starts his training as young as four months to ensure that he remains your best friend rather than your master.

The Bearden Pack
The Bearden Pack

Dominance in a dog is very fearful. We experienced it with our Alaskan Malamute towards our daughter. He never had a problem with us, but with our daughter he did. On a side note, I find that many people with little dogs don't care about any of these problems. They think it is funny, and lead to what we call the "little dog syndrome". It's just as important no what size the dog to pay attention to dominance issues.

Sam Ivy
Sam Ivy

You are absolutely right, Timothy! Very often the little guys get away with "murder" while the exact same behavior in bigger dogs is seen as frightening and dangerous