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
Rocky
German Shepherd
20 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Rocky
German Shepherd
20 Months

pet attacks other dogs in the park and would not respect commands

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Wabit, First, I would only allow pup places where pup is on leash. If the park you are referring to is the dog park, I would not take pup to the dog park at this time, not only because of the risk to other people and dogs, the liability for yourself, but because from a training stand point, when pup is in that highly arousing environment, where you aren't able to enforce commands off-leash safety, and pup attacks another dog, the behavior will get worse too. I would work with a team of trainers to address this. You will need someone who works with at least one additional trainer, and has access to well mannered dogs, so that pup can be counter conditioned to a variety of dogs, and practice pup's obedience commands with other dogs in the background at a distance you can control while pup is on leash. Check out trainers like Thomas Davis from Canine Educator on youtube to learn more as well A G.R.O.W.L. class in your area may also be a good option if you have one local to you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Taffy
Husky and german shepherd mix
15 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Taffy
Husky and german shepherd mix
15 Weeks

My puppy is extremely intelligent but very rebellious. She constantly bites to the point of drawing blood. She has hurt several members of my family when she is very excited. She is not aggressive. She is playful but she is very independent and tends to want to do exactly what she is not supposed to do and she will not listen. I cannot get her to stop jumping on people.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Diana, For the Jumping, check out the Leash and Step Toward methods from the article below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told her not to. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest, and be proactive around mental stimulation through something like training for a bit each day. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ The following commands can also help with mental stimulation, self-control, and management of pup's behavior. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ 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 Listening - Obedience and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dallas
Lab mix
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dallas
Lab mix
3 Years

I have had Dallas since he was 6 wks
Lately he has changed with his behavior when I come home he jumps on me when i tell him tip get down
He has recently peed on me and my husband brand new mattress
This morning he peed on the rug I'm lost for words on what to do I'm over it this is all new behavior please help

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

Hello. Sudden and intentional behavior changes can often indicate an underlying medical problem. Often times, changes involving potty training can be attributed to a mild bladder infection, or something internal going on. I would talk to your veterinarian as a first step. Rule out any medical issues, then seek the help of a trainer.

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Question
Dallas
Lab mix
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Dallas
Lab mix
3 Years

I have had Dallas since he was 6 wks
Lately he has changed with his behavior when I come home he jumps on me when i tell him tip get down
He has recently peed on me and my husband brand new mattress
This morning he peed on the rug I'm lost for words on what to do I'm over it this is all new behavior please help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Serrena, For the jumping, check out this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump For the peeing, I recommend tethering pup to yourself with a hands free leash or crating more often right now, while you re-establish rules at home and work on listening. For listening, check out this article, especially the Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If you see signs of aggression, I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression to help in person. Certain safety measures and adjustments will be needed to adjust aggression also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Sakari
Husky
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Sakari
Husky
1 Year

How do I get my dog to respect me she has gone past every boundary and even started pooping on my bed. how do I establish that I am alpha and need respect

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kaitlin, Check out the article I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you It's also important to make sure pup understands what the boundaries and commands are through proactively training ahead of time in a calm and consistent way. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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