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You're the Master ... Not Your Dog!

Posted by lhvs on April 21, 2014

  Establishing a pack leader with your dog is the first step to good behavior. Taking the role as a dominant owner should not be confused with making your dog fearful of you but instead make your dog trust and respect you and your family. Researching dog breeds before getting a new one will help match your family's lifestyle with the breed's personality type. 

  Any dog can have behavioral issues regardless of breed that may require additional training but certain breeds are in need of assertive masters due to their large size and/or disposition. Some breeds have a dominant or alpha personality type that requires a firm assertive owner. See the chart at the right for  examples of typically dominant breeds.


Examples of Dominant Dog Breeds:

  • Pit Bull
  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Husky
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow Chow
  • Wolf Hybrid
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Saint Bernard
  • Akita
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Great Dane
  • Shar Pei
  • Dalmation

  So you have a dog with an alpha personality, what now? First change the way you think of your dog. Dogs look at their family, 2 and 4 legged alike, as a pack not as "Mommy and Daddy". It's okay to love your dog but you do need to make boundaries and rules. YOU want to be the alpha in your pack! How you communicate with your dog is important. If the communication is very soft spoken with little reprimand on bad behavior, this will show the dog a submissive personality. However, if you speak with a firm and assertive tone, the dog will see you as a dominant leader. What you say is not nearly as important as the tone you say it in. If you are unsure or having trouble with training seek  the help of a qualified trainer.

  NEVER tolerate growling. Growling eventually leads to biting. Stop the growling when it starts by being assertive and saying "NO!". If the growling is occuring out of fear, do not try to calm the dog by petting and saying "it's okay". This is reinforcing the fear in the dog and will only increase this behavior. In other words, your dog hears "you should be afraid of that person or event". Simply stay calm, be assertive, and move the dog away from the situation.

  Allow your dog to be independent and socialize with other pets and people. Putting your pet in many different environments while they are young will help them adjust with change better as they get older. Also, handling your dog frequently lets them know it's okay to be touched. Play with the most sensitive areas such as the face, ears, feet and base of the tail.

  Overly dominant dogs can quickly become aggressive and dangerous if proper training is not done. Always remember, the best behaved dog is the one whose training started the earliest.



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