R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha Franklin sang about it, bad leaders demand it, and good leaders earn it. While the first point may not apply to your dog (although, let’s face it, who DOESN’T love Aretha?), the latter two surely do. Like it or not, your dog views you as their leader. This means you’ll need to earn their respect if you want to maintain a harmonious household. A dog who doesn’t respect their Owner can cause major drama – from ignoring commands, to damaging their Owner’s property. They may also mark their territory in your home, and, in some cases, even lash out at those around them.
With some pooches, earning respect is an easy process. Simply walking them, feeding them, and teaching them commands will be enough to prove yourself. For others, however, it isn’t enough to just meet their needs and show them love. If you take the set the right tone, though, your furry friend will learn you’re top dog in no time!
Don’t feed your dog until you’ve eaten
For all the dog lovers out there, this tip might seem cruel. However, feeding yourself before your pooch is a crucial step on the road to respect. When your pup sees you eating before them, they’ll recognise that you’re an authority figure. At first, they might try begging for scraps, scampering around your feet, or howling until you feed them. If you remain firm and refuse to feed them until you’ve finished, you’ll show them that you’re in control.
Once you have fed them, feel free to rub their back and speak to them in an encouraging voice. They will view this as a further reward for showing you patience and respect.
Teach him to respect your space by giving your dog their own
Find an area in your home with which you’re willing to part. It could be a corner of your bedroom, a strip of the laundry, or that nook next to your lounge. Wherever it is, make that space your dog’s domain. Set up their bed, blankets, and favourite toys in that area – and don’t use it for any other purpose. By giving your dog their own space, you’ll send them a clear message: “This is your territory. The rest of the home is my territory. Treat it with respect.”
The carrot and the stick? Try “the treat and the water spray bottle”
We’ve talked before on the benefits of using treats in training. Whether you’re teaching tricks to an older dog or introducing your pooch to a cat, treats are a potent tool. When teaching your dog to respect you, they’re equally crucial – but for every yin, there must be a yang.
If you give a command to disrespectful dog, changes are they’re going to ignore it. They might run when you want them to stop, jump on the bed when you want them to stay on the floor, or bark when you really need them to be quiet. At times like these, give them a quick spray from your water spray bottle. Aim it near their face, and make sure you don’t spray them in their eyes. It won’t cause them any pain, but it will give them a sharp surprise. This will prompt them to realise they’ll face consequences when they don’t obey you.
When they do follow your commands, that’s when you can bring out the treats! Once you’ve used both the carrot and the stick, you will have proven yourself to be a firm but fair leader. You’ve held your dog to account when they misbehave, and you’ve rewarded them when they’ve done well. They’ll come to recognise this – and sweet, sweet respect will follow.