We understand respect in human relationships, but it applies very similarly to your relationship with your canine companion. As much as humans can respect one another, that is similar to how a dog can respect you. As much as you might love your dog and it loves you back, you may have difficulty getting it to obey you if it doesn’t respect you.
Respect is so important when it comes to dogs due to their biological origins. Dogs are descendants of wolves, which are pack animals. They always look for the pack leader, or the alpha dog, and follow that animal’s lead. In some cases, your dog may see itself as the leader if you don’t take up that mantle.
The love and respect of your furry pal are not mutually exclusive. Your dog can love you in the unconditional way that dogs do, but it may not fully respect you as its superior, which can be a problem.
This article shows you how to tell if your dog respects you and show it that you are the leader.
Do you have a specific question about the subject? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page.
Here's what we'll cover:
How to tell which dog is alpha?
If you live in a house with more than one dog, it may be difficult finding out which of them is the alpha dog. If you know the signs of alpha dog behavior, you’ll be able to pick the alpha dog out of the pack really easily.
An alpha dog’s body language is one way that other dogs can tell them apart as the pack leader. Still, it may be hard to notice as a human, especially if you’re not trained in looking out for such signs.
Their interactions and behavior around other dogs are an easier way to tell them apart. You may notice that one dog behaves more dominantly towards the others. For instance, this can be by seeming to be jealous when you pay attention to the other dogs or by seeming to ignore the other canines in the house. Sometimes you may notice that the alpha dog will usurp the most favorable sleeping position or rush to eat food first.
These are just some of the signs you can look out for. Overall, when you see what seems to be less considerate or more dominant behavior from one of your dogs towards the others, it is likely that that dog is the alpha.
Does my dog respect me?
Even if your dog is the alpha of its dog pack, you need to assert yourself as the alpha in the human group that includes it. Otherwise, you may find it hard to get your dog to obey you as required.
To figure out how to tell if your dog respects you, you need to look out for certain behaviors it may exhibit around you. For instance, would your dog obey you if you told it to come outside or inside without a leash on, or would it simply just ignore you? If you put the leash back on, does it follow you where you guide it to? Disobedience is perhaps the most prominent of the signs your dog doesn’t respect you.
You can tell if your dog respects you by watching to see if it respects your position and boundaries. Does it rush past you out of doors or attempt to eat food you are eating when you have not given it permission to do so? Does it bark at you when trying to get you to do something on its behalf?
If your answer to most of these questions indicates that your dog respects your boundaries and obeys you, then your dog likely respects you. But just in case, see some more signs below.
Solid signs your dog respects you
Look out for the following signs of respect:
- Your dog does not pull at its leash but instead waits for you to guide the way.
- Your dog does not leave the room or ignore you when you are talking to it.
- Your dog maintains eye contact with you and listens when you are speaking to it.
- Your dog follows you around as you move through the house.
- Your dog sits next to you after waiting for you to sit.
- Your dog never sits on top of you uninvited.
- Your dog never eats your food out of your hand or plate without you permitting it to do so.
- Your dog brings you dead animals or its toys in search of your approval.
- Your dog does not bark incessantly at you for food or to play with it.
While this list is not exhaustive, you can get an idea of the behaviors that a respectful dog will exhibit towards you.
How to show the dog you are the pack leader?
It is essential to establish yourself as the alpha pack leader. Otherwise, your dog may exhibit dominant behaviors towards you, and this can be frustrating. If you aren’t already doing them, making certain modifications to your dog’s behavior can help establish your role as the leader. These include the following:
- You must avoid emotional behavior around your pet dog. You need to learn to remain calm yet assertive when talking to it. Always let your dog know that you are in control of your emotions and the situation.
- Position yourself as the alpha by setting clear boundaries for your dog. As much as you might like to cuddle, you should always be the one to initiate such. Don’t allow your dog to jump into your space or jump on you without calmly reprimanding it. It is necessary to teach your dog to respect your space.
- Teach your dog to wait. It should learn to wait for you to finish with your tasks before urging you for a walk or play. Let it wait for food, which can be done by eating before it eats. This is a behavior that alphas in the wild demonstrate, and by doing it too, you can assert your position.
Credits: thanks for the cover photo to Canva.
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