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

ribbon-method-2
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

ribbon-method-1
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

ribbon-method-3
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

Question
Mitzi
Poodle x Snauzer
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Mitzi
Poodle x Snauzer
1 Year

Won’t come back when called after walking off lead in the park

Separation anxiety, can’t be left on her own or with anyone without me

Barking

Mad hour each day where she becomes overly excitable and bites and pulls on clothes

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dayle, 1. For the recall, I recommend recruiting some friends or family with dogs, doing to your own fenced area somewhere (don't do this in the dog park with other dogs around for safety reasons), and practicing the sections in the come article I have linked below, specifically the long leash training and premack principle use sections. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ 2. For the separation anxiety, there are a couple of routes you can take depending on how pup responds and the severity of it. There is also something called separation boredom, which is not really anxiety but rather boredom based. Giving pup things to do, like dog food stuffed kongs, can help with boredom based issues. After the anxiety is addressed, I would also give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy to keep them entertained too when you leave. For anxiety, the first step is to work on building her independence and her confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into her routine. Things such as making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that she does not anticipate alone time and build up her anxiety before you leave - which is hard for her to deescalate from, and be sure to continue to give her something to do in the crate during the day (such as a dog food stuffed Kong to chew on). Also, practice the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. If pup does fine out of the crate and the case is mild, you can do this in a dog proofed room instead of crate, but if pup is destructive when left alone or has potty accidents, pup is probably being given freedom out of the crate too soon, and needs to be crated while you are away until she is past that destructive phase around 18 months; this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time on its own for some dogs with more severe cases. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Start with just the above recommendations and see how pup does over the next month. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3j882MAYDU Second, you will need an interrupter, such as an electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing only high quality brands though. For example, E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator or Garmin Delta Sport or Dogtra for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator and Garmin should also have a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh and the smell - punisher lingers a long time so the dog continues to be corrected even after they stop the behavior). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work than stimulation e-collars though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on her. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear her but she will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on her while she is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if she responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning her head, moving her ears, biting her fur, moving away from where she was, or changing her expression. If she does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when she is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing her reaction at that level until she indicates a little bit that she can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM A modern, high quality collar will have so many levels that each level should be really subtle and she will likely respond to a low level stimulation. It's uncomfortable but not the harsh shock many people associate with such collars if done right. Once you have found the right stimulation level for her and have it correctly fitted on her, have her wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours or days if you can (take it off at night to sleep though). Next, set up your camera to spy on her while she is in the crate. Put her into the crate while she is wearing the collar and leave. Spy on her from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear her barking or see her start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time she barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate the collar again. If she does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after her collar being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. She may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or two more levels on another collar with less levels right now though because she has not learned what she is supposed to be doing yet. For example, if her level is 13 out of 100 levels on the Mini Educator, don't go past level 16 right now. The level you end up using on her on the mini educator collar will probably be low to medium, within the first forty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for her. If she continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog, sprinkle several treats into the crate without saying anything, then leave again. Practice correcting her from outside when she barks or tries to escape, going back inside and sprinkling treats when he stays quiet, for up to 30 minutes at first. After 30 minutes -1 hour of practicing this, when she is quiet, go back inside and sprinkle more treats. This time stay inside. Do not speak to her or pay attention to her for ten minutes while you walk around and get stuff done inside. When she is being calm, then you can let her out of the crate. 3. For the barking, check out this article and video series. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a 4. If the biting is more like puppy mouthing and due to play, opposed to being aggressive in nature, I suggest practicing something called "Jazz up and Settle Down". Which is a bit like red light, green light for dogs. You may need to desensitize pup to a basket muzzle first if pup doesn't have good bite inhibition. I would at least wear a thick jacket, close toed shoes, and thick pants - like cargo work pants. During training, get pup a little excited, then command "Stop" or something puppy knows like "Sit", and freeze. Wait and completely ignore them until they calm back down. As soon as they get calm or sit, praise and give a treat. Tell pup "Let's Play!" again, and start playing and getting them a bit excited again. As soon as they start to get a little worked up (not too much at first), command "Stop" or "Sit" again, then wait, reward with a treat when they calm down, then continue the game after they are rewarded. Repeat this a few times each training session, then end the session (have lots of frequent shorter sessions throughout the day at this age). As pup improves, and can really calm down quickly, let them get a bit more excited before calling Stop. Gradually work up to pup becoming more and more excited and having to calm down quickly from a higher level of excitement as they improve. Also, understand that this will take some time and practice. Puppies have to learn self-control just like any other skill, while young. This game can help them develop it sooner though. I also suggest teaching the Leave It command from the article linked below, which can also be used for the licking: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Beast
Pug Mix
6 Years
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Question
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Beast
Pug Mix
6 Years

My dog is a rescue and he was left by my brother cause he could not bring him to move internationally. He has been very aggressive towards other people and dogs coming near or walking away from me. Specially if you turn your back to him, he has nipped some family members on their shoes or pants but he never has any issues when he was younger. He does respond to basic commands like sit & stay but only for a short amount of time. I've tried distracting him w/ toys and treats but when he goes on the defense, it doesn't stop him from baking or charging others w/ his aggressive demeanor. he does settle down after a few minutes but then acts up again when we start parting ways w/ other friends or dogs. what can I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cal, I would start by desensitizing pup to wearing a basket muzzle using treats gradually. Pup will need to be able to wear a muzzle to train safely. I would consider hiring a professional trainer to help you in person with this. It sounds like pup needs to be desensitized to new people and to movement especially. It also sounds like pup's overall trust and respect for you and family members needs to be increased, since pup also might be possessive of you - which is like resource guarding, but instead of pup seeing a bone as belonging to him and guarding that, pup sees you as his and is trying to keep others away from you. Building pup's respect carefully can help pup not see you as something they can possess and guard. Building trust and respect can also help pup look to you when they feel insecure and suspicious and take directions from you around others, instead of depending on themselves to handle the situation. Respect - all three methods, but especially the working method and obedience method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you I don't recommend training this on your own. Not only are there safety concerns for you if pup were to redirect their aggression toward you while aroused, but anyone else present could be in danger, and you need the resources of a controlled environment and multiple people who know how to interact safely with pup and work on counter conditioning pup to people gradually. Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Again, I don't recommend doing this on your own, this is just an example. Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Examples of different cases. Exactly how this is addressed depends a lot on the specific dog and behavior. https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericasCanineED/playlists Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Charlie
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Charlie
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
1 Year

Charlie has little patience and gets frustrated when he does not get his own way. Charlie can become protective over items that don’t belong to him and he will growl if you go near him. He does not always listen to his commands especially in situations where it is necessary for his well being to listen. He is not aloud in anyones room because he grabs anything in his reach and protects them. He is not aloud in the kitchen because he will become protective over food that does not belong to him. He’s a very loving dog and loves to cuddle and go for walks and swims but he can have these protective episodes that are worrisome if he wore to hurt someone.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mackenzie, This is a situations where I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, including resource guarding, come to your home in person. This isn't something I recommend training on your own. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mochi
Pug
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Mochi
Pug
1 Year

How yo train my pet pug to be behave.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Siela, Obedience command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Drop It – Exchange method: https://wagwalking.com/training/drop-it Say Hi/Touch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj1oMlfjPZ8 Watch Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zeZrOPzO-c Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Euro
Golden Retriever
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Euro
Golden Retriever
10 Months

Hi, I have a 10 months old golden who has serious resource guarding tendencies. He has bitten me once and has made an attempt to do so several other times(even when I try to clean up things he has destroyed).
Euro has had a trainer since he was 4mos old and when we the trainer tries to take my dogs things to get a reaction from my him, my dog behaves calmly every time. My trainer has also stopped paying attention to his selective aggression towards me and my family
It is heartbreaking for me to see my dog tsp aggressive and assertive towards me and my family.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1106 Dog owners recommended

Hello Adya, How does your current trainer train? Sometimes certain dogs need different methods and approaches than what one trainer may offer when it comes to behavior issues like aggression. A trainer may be wonderful for obedience and other training needs but lack experience with managing severe aggression. I would do some of your own research into aggression, and see if you there is a trainer who specializes in aggression you can work with. Since pup does well when the trainer is around but not with you and family I suspect there is a lack or respect and trust toward you - even though with your average dog that may not be lacking. If you have an especially persistent more easily aroused dog then it can take a lot of obedience practice and consistency to earn respect, but your overall confidence and attitude toward pup will also have a huge impact. That can be something that's hard for the average trainer to teach their clients to have, because it's more attitude and confidence than a specific action. Notice the following trainer's body language and confidence, especially Sean O'Shea, since he does a great job of being very calm but also confident and firm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfRJrTd-6p0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3ift7sUtVc I would be very conscientious of safety in this case. I would make desensitizing pup to wearing a basket muzzle your first priority. I would find a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression specifically. Counter conditioning around food and objects also needs to be done, but I suspect you have already done some of that with the current trainer and it's not enough. It's probably time to add in a basket muzzle and additional training tool, and calmly building respect through structure and set ups that allow you to enforce rules without putting yourself in danger. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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