As the pet owner, your dog must see you as the alpha. This way, the canine will respect you and yield on your commands. But how do you tell if your dog respects you? Body language, habits, and response to commands will say a lot about how your dog respects you. Remember that just like with humans, respect is earned among dogs.
Dogs are pack beings. The moment they are born, they will seek companionship from their mother and litter. And when you take the pup home, the mother’s role is also passed on to you. You have to establish that you are the leader of the pack as your pooch grows older. Otherwise, you will have an imposing canine at home.
Signs that your dog respects you
If you’re wondering whether your dog respects you or not, you must look for the following signs:
1. Your dog lets you walk in the door first
A dog that respects its owner will not be the first one to enter or exit the door. Your pooch will always let you go first and trail behind. When your dog does this, it sees you as the master.
This behavior is rooted in a dog’s instincts in the wild. Junior dogs in the pack will never enter a cave unless the alpha goes first. In a domesticated setting, dogs still exhibit such pack ranking.
Also, this behavior is a sign that your dog sees you as its protector. In the wild, junior dogs wait for the alpha to enter the cave first so they will be protected from potential harm. Your dog trusts that you can handle whatever’s waiting on the other side of the door.
2. Your dog doesn’t steal food from you
Dogs that respect their owners will not steal food. Your pooch will just sit beside you while you eat. It will not try to paw your plate or lunge over you. Even on their hungriest, dogs that respect their owners will have restraint, knowing that their alpha calls the shot where and when they will eat. Respectful dogs will just look, lick their lips, and maybe try to give you puppy eyes to beg some food.
Most dogs are food-driven. If your pooch can control its desire for food, it’s a secure sign that it respects you. Also, dogs that see you as the alpha will let you eat first.
3. Your dog leaves a space on the couch
Does your dog scoot for you on the couch? If so, it’s a sign that the pooch respects you. Junior dogs will always give the alphas the best spot to sleep. Also, dogs that respect their owners will never try to reign over the couch. Some dogs will choose to leave the couch when it’s time for their owners to sit and only go back when permitted to do so.
So the next time your dog doesn’t budge when you’re about to sit, it’s a sign that some training has to be done.
4. Your dog obeys your commands
One of the guaranteed signs that your dog respects you is if it heeds your commands. Of course, training plays a significant role here. But if your dog keeps on ignoring your cues despite being fully trained, it’s a sign that it doesn’t respect you.
Remember that your dog must be taught of the command first. They are dogs, after all.
5. Your dog doesn’t pull the leash
A dog that respects its owner will never try to pull the leash while walking. Your dog will heel beside you and not try to get its way. Dogs that pull are imposing and will try to test you.
Of course, you have to train your dog to heel so it will not pull the leash next. Also, desensitization to distractions is critical, so your pooch will grow to be a respectful and disciplined canine.
6. Your dog is the first one to break eye contact
Dogs that respect their owners will be the first one to break eye contact. A pooch that gives you a cold stare is trying to be the alpha, which is something you shouldn’t tolerate. Remember that direct and lingering stare is an act of intimidation.
Breaking eye contact after being scolded is a sign of submission. Your dog recognizes that you are the master of the house. Most dogs will also put on a sorry and apologetic face when they have done something wrong.
7. Your dog doesn’t test your limits
Dogs that defy the rules don’t respect their owners. If your dog steals food, barks at another dog or you, and claims the couch, you must train it to respect you. These actions are your dog’s way of claiming your spot as the alpha. If you tolerate this, your dog will grow up as a spoiled brat, which will be very problematic.
Training is always necessary to raise a disciplined and respectful canine. Most dogs will yield to their wild instincts if not domesticated properly.
8. Your dog doesn’t invade your space
Lastly, a dog that respects you will not try to invade your space. The doggo will not put its butt on your day or decide to dethrone you from the couch. A respectful canine will just stand by and wait. Again, you must train your dog to observe your space. Scheduling bonding time with your dog will also prevent them from demanding your attention.
How to teach your dog to respect you
For dogs, respect is earned through consistent training. To make your dog respects you, make sure that you do the following:
- Control their needs. Make sure that you’re the one to initiate playtime, feeding, walking, and others. This will make your dog realize that you’re the alpha. Teach your dog to wait and earn its treats instead of being given out of the blue.
- Bond with your dog. Familiarity is the first step in gaining your dog’s trust and respect if you have a new dog, relationship with it so it will not become aloof or defensive.
- Be their protector. If your dog is afraid, comfort the pooch, so it will realize that your presence is a positive thing. It’s also an excellent way to place your dog as the junior canine.
- Be firm. When it comes to house rules, you have to be consistent and firm. However, there’s a fine line between being firm and frightening. You should never use violence or fear as a way to discipline your dog.
- Give him some space. Remember that for your dog to respect you; it’s a must that you respect them too. Give the pooch its own private space where it can rest.
- Training is the key. Discipline and respect are possible with proper training. Teach your dog obedience drills and other commands that will let you stop negative behavior.
- Be consistent. One of the common mistakes of pet owners is letting disrespect slide. This happens a lot to small breeds because dog owners think that they are too cute to be put on time out. Regardless of your dog’s breed, you must train it with utmost consistency.
- Take it easy. Respect is built slowly, not by being terrifying. Your pet is a dog, after all. Slow your roll and let your dog adjust to the new rules. Still, it doesn’t mean you’re going to make negative behavior unaddressed.
- Understand your dog’s personality. Each dog is different, as well as the approach you need to use in training them. Make sure that your method matches the personality of your dog for the best results.
How do you tell if your dog respects you? If your dog listens to you and gives way for you, that means your pet looks up to you as the alpha. If this isn’t the case yet, the tips, I listed above will surely help. You can also seek the advice of a pet trainer and the vet if need be.