How to Train Your Dog to Respect You

Medium
3-8 Weeks
General

Introduction

You accidentally drop some food onto the floor and your dog bounds over. You instruct him to back off, but as usual, he ignores you. You’re out on a walk and he sees another dog across the road. You tell him to heel but he instantly tries to leap across the road to sniff the other dog's behind. The truth is, he just doesn’t respect you. If he doesn’t respect you, then training him to do any number of things can be an uphill battle.

Training him not to go to the toilet inside, training him not to jump on the furniture, and loads of other instructions will fall on deaf ears. If you can train him to respect you, however, you will reassert yourself as the pack leader and finally be able to enforce the rules.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog to respect you isn’t a walk in the park, but it isn’t overly complicated either. The first thing to do is hammer home some obedience commands. These will help show him who is in charge and get him dancing to your tune. You will also need to tackle bad behavior firmly. If he’s a puppy, then getting him to respect you should take just a few weeks, as he should be receptive. If he’s older, it may require a couple of months of reinforcing boundaries before you finally get the respect you deserve.

Get this training right though, and you may see a transformed dog. A dog that sits when you tell him to, goes to the toilet where you want him to, and stays off your furniture when you tell him to. It could also make him more friendly, gentle and sociable around other dogs and people. 

Getting Started

Before you can begin seizing back control, you’ll need to gather some things. His favorite food broken into small pieces or tempting treats will be used to motivate and reward him during training. 

You’ll also need a quiet place to train for 10 minutes each day. Use a location where you won’t be distracted by noisy children and other pets. For one of the methods, you will also need a spray bottle of water to knock bad behavior on the head.

The only other things you need is a proactive attitude and patience. Then you’re all set to get going!

The Pack Leader Method

Most Recommended
8 Votes
Step
1
Protect him
When you’re on walks, position yourself between other dogs and your own dog. If he’s in front of you then he’ll think he is pack leader and that it’s his job to protect you. If you’re always in-between he’ll respect you keeping him safe.
Step
2
Comfort him
If he’s afraid of fireworks, thunder, or other dogs, make sure you cheer him up. Just by gently playing with him or giving him the odd treat will perk him up. This is important because he’ll begin to see you in a protector/leader role and he’ll respect you for it.
Step
3
Always feed him
Dogs respect and remember those that feed them. If you’re always the one to give him his food, he’ll see you as the gateway to calories and want to keep you happy. Also make him wait a couple of minutes for his food, this will further cement your position as the pack leader.
Step
4
Be firm but never terrifying
Some owners make the mistake of thinking the more they shout the more their dog will respect them. This isn’t the case. In the wild, mothers simply pick pups up by the scruff of their neck and remove them calmly when they’ve misbehaved. You need to have the same calm but firm approach.
Step
5
Plenty of exercise
If he needs you for his food and exercise he’ll be keen to please you. Give him plenty of walks and he’ll be tired, grateful, and love his adventures with you. All of this will help to position yourself as the pack leader and earn your respect.
Recommend training method?

The Overall Package Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Be assertive
You need to be calm but firm when your dog misbehaves. Don’t shout or go off the handle, this may just terrify him. Instead, if he does something wrong, calmly remove him from the situation until he calms down. This will help show him who is pack leader.
Step
2
Be consistent with boundaries
The saying ‘give him an inch and he’ll take a mile’ can also be applied to dogs, so you have to be consistent. If you let him on the sofa once, he’ll jump on it again. Stick to every rule religiously.
Step
3
Make him wait
An easy way to demand respect is by making him wait for things. Make him wait a minute before you give him food. Make him wait for a couple of minutes before you take him for a walk. This will all show him you’re the boss and that he has to respect that.
Step
4
Make him work
Before he gets something nice like a treat or a meal, have him do something to earn it. It could be as simple as getting him to sit or lie down. This will help him to focus on pleasing you and trying to win your affection for tasty rewards.
Step
5
Give him his own space
Ensure he has a bed or corner of a room that’s all his. Let that be only his, don’t always go in there to play with him. This will soon become his own territory. By having his own territory that’s all his, he’ll begin to realize everywhere else in the house is your territory and that you’re the leader of it.
Recommend training method?

The Obedience Commands Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
‘Sit’
Hold a treat out in front of him and give him the ‘sit’ command. By teaching him obedience commands you are reinforcing your control and showing him that you control the tasty rewards.
Step
2
Encouragement
If he doesn’t get the hang of it straight away, lead his nose up with the treat or push his bottom down gently with your hand. As soon as he’s seated, give him a treat and lots of praise. Practice this each day until he’s a sit down pro.
Step
3
Incorporate other obedience commands
You could teach him to lie down, to roll over, even to do a back flip. Daily training like this will be fantastic for teaching him to respect you. It will change the way he perceives you and for the better!
Step
4
Water spray bottle
If he misbehaves, you can quickly give him a spray of water near his face. Don’t spray it into his eyes, just a short burst to let him know that was the wrong behavior. He will learn to respect you, otherwise you can cause this unpleasant experience.
Step
5
Encourage down time
Spending a few minutes each day quietly in each others company is important for building a healthy, respectful relationship. Don’t play with each other or be noisy, just have him lie next to you. This will help build a comfortable bond and that will in turn lead to him respecting you.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Luna
AnimalBreed object
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Luna
AnimalBreed object
3 Months

LShe is a good girl she's just super nippy. Some of her bites have even broke skin. She's typically a good girl and she's learning fast to potty train and to be obedient.Luna is a chihuahua feist mix.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Question
Timber
AnimalBreed object
13 Months
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Timber
AnimalBreed object
13 Months

Barking and lunging at people, other dogs, Different noises. During walks and or in the house, in the back yard when neighbours are Out and about. I know I’m the problem. How can I correct my behaviour to better his urges. it’s to the point I avoid walking him on trails and street. He’s a big dog and it intimidates people.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. It sounds like you have your hands full. I am going to provide you with information on how to correct this behavior. You can apply these methods to anything your dog is reactive to. The example is for people, but it can be other dogs or anything else. You won’t be able to solve your dog’s overprotective behavior in one day. In the meantime, you don’t want to put your life on hold. You can still invite guests into your home as long as you prioritize managing your dog’s behavior. You’ll need a short-term strategy to start showing your overprotective dog what behavior is unacceptable while also keeping your guests safe. There are a few ways to do this. Leash: Keeping your dog on a leash while friends are visiting gives you control over your dog’s actions. Leash him up before the doorbell rings and keep him close as you greet your guests. During the visit, you can let the leash drag and only use it if you have to. Muzzle: If you feel his behavior warrants the use of a muzzle for the time being while you work on solving this problem, then it may be a wise choice. Separate Room: Your dog won’t get better without practice, but sometimes you have to weigh the risks versus rewards. If your overprotective dog is in the beginning stages of training, keeping her separated from guests might be best. You don’t want to put a friend’s safety at risk or needlessly stress out your dog. As long as you keep working toward stopping the behavior, separating an overprotective dog from company is a temporary management solution. Start Obedience Training Obedience training is a must for every dog, and it’s especially important for overprotective dogs. Working with your dog on things like “sit-stay,” “down-stay,” and “heel,” will help build her impulse control. He’ll start seeing you as a capable leader and will turn to you for guidance. A mistake many pup parents make is stopping obedience training once their dog masters the basics skills. Being well-trained is about more than knowing how to sit when a person holds a treat in front of their face. It’s a lifetime lesson, and even senior dogs need regular training. Commit to training your dog several times a day for short periods of time. Make Your Dog Work for Affection You can’t help but smother your dog with love every time he’s within petting distance, but that isn’t always what’s best for him. He will start to feel entitled to your attention, and that’s part of the problem. To remedy this, initiate a “work for it” program that allows you to show your dog affection as long as he earns your attention in appropriate ways. Make him sit, stay calm, and do whatever else you ask before doling out whatever it is he wants. If he’s excited for dinner, make him sit and leave it before digging in. If he wants in your lap, ask him to do a trick first. Never give your dog attention if he rudely nudges your hand or barks in your face. He needs to know polite behavior, and polite behavior only, is how he gets what he wants. You ignore everything else. Involve Other People in the Dog’s Life Most overprotective dogs choose to guard only the person they feel closest to. It’s usually the same person who fills their food bowls, takes them on walks, and handles training. They become obsessively attached, and a strong bond gradually mutates into overprotective behavior. Putting some space between you and your dog will help her learn to trust other people. Enlist the entire family’s help and take a step back in your role as primary caregiver. Have someone else feed the dog a few times a week, and encourage other people to engage his in playtime. This will help him be more comfortable with different people. Socialize Socialization is best done during the puppy stages, but even adult and senior dogs benefit from new experiences. Exposing your overprotective dog to new places, experiences, and people, will help him learn that not everyone is out to hurt you. Make sure each new experience is positive, and encourage your dog without forcing him to interact. If your dog is afraid, you don’t want to make things worse. Take socialization at the pace he’s comfortable with. If he seems overwhelmed, back up and try something a little smaller. These are some general ideas and they can be modified to fit your dynamic. These behaviors do take time, I am talking months, to correct. And sometimes the behaviors get worse before they get better. So just push through that time if that starts to happen. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Question
Alma
AnimalBreed object
3 Years
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Alma
AnimalBreed object
3 Years

She is my boyfriend's dog so I am in her territory so to speak. Since living here now she doesn't care to listen to me if he's home, but when he's not she listens so good and I've been trying my hardest to teach her some basic obedience on my time when it's her and I, but it seems to go right out the window once he's home again. He doesn't see a problem with any of her behavior like dashing past us anytime the door knob turns, not knowing basic commands, etc.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, it is always a problem when both pet parents do not see eye to eye on the importance of training. I would keep training her anyway, and perhaps your boyfriend will see at some point that having a well trained dog is a pleasure. With Alma being a large dog, being able to control her is essential. Her loyalty to her boyfriend, with him being the first owner, is natural. Take her for walks, feed her often, and keep training her. Dogs will often bond well with the person that trains them in obedience. Be consistent, proud of your efforts, and proud of your accomplishments. There are excellent training tips here. I believe they will speed up your progress. https://wagwalking.com/training/obedience-train-a-whippet. Good luck and enjoy!

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Jerry
AnimalBreed object
5 Years
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Jerry
AnimalBreed object
5 Years

My dog does not respect me at all. He does whatever he wants. For example he does not sit in the backseat of the car. He constantly goes to the front seat on my lap and when i say no, or try to carry him he just wants to bite. He gets on the couch. I say him to get off, but he doesn’t listen at all. He just growls and wants to bite.

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Max
AnimalBreed object
5 Months
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Max
AnimalBreed object
5 Months

Why does my dog growl at me?

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