How to Deal with a Dominant Dog
A dominant dog has the potential to be a dangerous dog. The
last thing you want is a dangerous dog, so you must deal
with dominance in a dog quickly and effectively, otherwise
the dog could be a danger to your family or other people or
to other animals.
Some people believe that only large dogs that are dominant
are a problem. A large dog obviously has more power and the
ability to cause more harm, however even a small dog can do
quite a bit of damage to a small child or another small
animal. So no matter the size of the dog, dominance is an
issue that must be dealt with immediately.
If you are not sure whether your dog is a dominant dog or
not, there are some clues for which to watch. One of the
easiest to spot is that he or she tries to take control of
every situation. The dog will be naturally competitive,
prone to taking risks and just assertive in general. More
subtle examples of dog dominance, however, may be things
like demanding to be petted or snatching food.
One of the best ways to help to prevent dominance behaviors
in a dog is to better control the dog's environment.
Although you can never eliminate all of the triggers for a
dog that has a strong dominance instinct, you can eliminate
many of them during the training process as you deal with a
few issues at a time.
Training a dominant dog can be much tougher, but during
training you must have a no tolerance policy for dominant
behavior. If you are doing training exercises and your dog
starts to snap or tries to take control of the situation…you
immediately stop training until he calms back down.
Showing your dog that you will not move forward with
anything when it gets into that frame of mind will start to
condition it to eliminate the unwanted behavior. Be very,
very careful that you never reward behavior that even might
be dominance. This type of training is not quick and will
not happen overnight, but if you are consistent with it you
can accomplish your goals.
Dominance in dogs is a very natural reaction. Dogs are pack
animals and packs have leaders and alpha dogs, and your dog
may have been born with the alpha instincts. And even if
your dog is not naturally alpha, if you don't make yourself
the "pack leader" the dog's instincts will drive it to try
to fill the gap. The secret is in making your dog understand
that you are in fact the alpha dog/pack leader, and once he
understands this the dominant behavior will start to recede.
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