Dominant Dogs require special training, but so do their Owners. Too often an exasperated Dog Owner will scream or strike out in sheer frustration as the dog pushes the Owner beyond bearable limits. Or the overwhelmed Owner will treat the dog the way Helen Keller’s parents treated her, turning her into “an animal” until Annie arrived on the scene. In the words of Captain Keller to Annie Sullivan: “…Give her everything she wants….” Backfire!
So let’s start with You, the Dog Owner. Understand that Your own attitude and timing are critical for a successful outcome.
One of the most important things to remember when working with a dominant dog is to keep your cool. Yelling is counterproductive and only turns a difficult animal off. Yelling escalates the problem. You can’t fight fire with fire.
Instead, remember that: “Iron sharpens iron.”
Focus. It’s up to You to be steady, firm, and consistent, and to make sure You are calm when you begin your daily work with your dog. This approach is not inconsistent with love, for those who love their children and dogs will teach them, lead them, and discipline them with a consistent, fair, and firm hand, so that they can be the best they can be. That’s your goal with your dog.
Take control. To do this, it is very important for you to establish and maintain steady eye contact when taking authority over your Dominant Dog. While the submissive dog will look away, the dominant one will hold the stare.
Eye contact is also critical for you to hold the dog’s attention and keep him in an obedient posture. In dog language, the first one to look away “loses” and submits. So let your eyes send the focused message of “control” and “authority.”
Also, YOU must “claim” all things that the dominant dog considers “his possessions,” whether toys, rugs, bones, or whatever. You must present yourself as the dominant one, and all things in the house as yours. Only then do you “invite him in” and “share” these things with him.
You cannot allow the dog to claim or take possession of anything. You do not want to encourage the development of more dominant behaviors, possessiveness, or aggression. Indeed, aggression dog dominance naturally evolves from uncorrected dominance posture. Instead, break the cycle.
Another key in breaking dog dominance behavior: Do NOT allow the dog to have what he wants “for free.” Make him earn it!
Earn it, not own it!
For example, a Dominant Dog should have a good walk or strenuous exercise before he is fed, such as a 30-minute walk at a brisk pace, followed by a “cool down” time (or he will get sick). He should be required to abide by rules and to respond obediently to your leadership, so that he feels he is “working” with “purpose” and “worth.”
It is exciting to watch a formerly out-of-control dog stand proudly with a happy gleam in his eye because he knows he has a job and boundaries, that he does not have the burden of controlling things and can trust in you, and that he has achieved something of perceived worth and pleased you! The dog then takes joy in obedience!
Then he’s earned the right to something he wants . . . not as a training tool or bribe, but removed from the actual training time . . . not as something he owns, but a gift from you . . . an expression of your general pleasure and affection . . . and only when YOU choose to give it . . . only in YOUR timing. YOU possess the control. Don’t relinquish it!
There is an explicit dog training technique to use on a Dominant Dog. It contains a little-known technique about YOUR FOCUS so that the dog actually SMELLS AND SENSES your authority and control!
It also applies the dog communication system of “silence, submission, and leadership” . . . the dog whisperer behavior approach, in familiar terms. After all, for effective communication with your dog, to command and control his attention and focus in a positive, constructive manner, you must speak HIS language.
. . . And that requires that YOU have a silent way to establish and maintain your OWN focus and sense of cool, calm, collected power and authority. Part B of this free article provides details of a little known secret, a dog training tip to help you do just that! (It is effective for commanding respect in the workplace, as well.)
Give dominance no place, and it will not escalate.
Give it an inch, and it will take a mile . . .