We see it on TV, our friends and family tell us “Your dog is trying to dominate you!”, “You need to be the Alpha, the pack leader!” No, no you don’t. Your dog is not dominant. That is not a thing in the dog world. It is a thing in the human world, which is why it makes it so easy for us to think our dogs are trying to dominate us.
Many years ago, there was a study done on wolf packs that was misinterpreted. This flawed research was then applied to dogs. Because we humans work in chains of command, it was very easy for us to give these traits to our dogs. The research now shows that wolves are not dominant, so how can our dogs be dominant? Besides, dogs are not wolves.
Does the Label “Dominant Dog” Help?
No, no it doesn’t. Labeling your dog as dominant clouds your judgment when trying to train and live with your dog. It automatically makes you and your dog at odds with each other. You then think you need to dominate your dog before they dominate you, which in turn creates a punishing environment. It’s not a fun place to be with your dog, and it certainly isn’t fun for your dog.
No Moral Compass
Your dog does not have a moral compass. They do not look at their behaviors as right or wrong. Your dog does not know that jumping on your guests or stealing food from the counter is wrong. What they know is that jumping on your guests gets attention, and stealing food from the counter gets them a yummy treat.
What You Can Do Instead
Build a relationship with your dog. Having a trusting relationship will move your dog training forward and strengthen your bond with your dog. Setting both you and your dog up for success will help you live happily with your dog. So, instead of punishing your dog for trying to dominate you, reward the behaviors you want to see, and ignore or redirect your dog when they are doing something you don’t like.
Would you like more information on dominance in dogs? Our trainers are always happy to help. Contact us at 786-299-1552.