"How to Handle a Dominant Puppy

"How to Handle a Dominant Puppy

Many owners find it hard to cope with a dominant dog and have real trouble keeping their pets in check whether in the home or when they are out and about in the great outdoors. Dogs are not born dominant"", although some breeds are stronger willed with a tendency to be more domineering than others. The problems usually start when dogs are still young when they allowed to get away with certain things that at the time do not seem to be that important. However, as time passes and a dog matures, their dominant behaviour becomes a real problem causing havoc in the home.

Making Sure You are the Boss

Puppies are incredibly cute whether Bichon Frise or Saint Bernard and it's all too easy to let them get away with things. However, it's a big mistake to let a puppy do something that will eventually turn into a real problem and which could lead to some serious unwanted and dominant behaviours. As such, it's important to set the boundaries and lay down the rules right from the word go and to be consistent because a puppy will quickly pick up on any weaknesses and may well take advantage of a situation especially if a four-legged friend likes the idea of being the alpha dog.

Setting Boundaries and Rules

Dogs need to know what's allowed and what is not which means setting the rules and boundaries as soon as a new puppy or dog arrives in the home. This includes all sorts of behaviours that might be amusing in puppies, but which can be extremely unwanted in mature, adult dogs. Puppies can start displaying dominant behaviours when they are still young and it's important to gently curb these as soon as possible, especially in breeds that are known to have more dominant natures.

There are certain rules a puppy needs to be taught whether they are going to grow into small, medium or large adult dogs which are as follows:

  • Not to jump up - four feet on the ground at all times, is rule number one
  • To wait before going through a door whether in or out - a dog should always let an owner go through a door first – rule number two
  • To wait until they are calm before being given food - puppies need to learn to be calm before they eat which in short means they are more submissive and never over excited at meal times – rule number three
  • To walk nicely on a lead and not to pull – rule number four

Establish Leadership

It's important for a puppy and young dog to respect their owner's space. This means only petting and cuddling them when you want to and not when they want to be given attention. Some breeds quickly learn that by barking, whining or pestering their owners it results in them being cuddled and petted. This can lead to them become ""demanding"" characters which means they are dominating a situation.

Making Time for a Dominant Puppy

A puppy or young dog that starts displaying a more dominant side to their natures needs must be gently taken in hand to curb this type of behaviour. A good way of teaching them to use their energy in a positive way is to start playing interactive games with them and to give them things to do and which keeps them mentally stimulated in a positive way.


All puppies and young dogs are lovely, but it’s up to their owners as to how they turn out to be as adult, mature dogs. Laying the right foundations when a puppy first comes home pays dividends in the end because providing a dog understands what is expected of them all they want to do is please an owner. Setting rules and boundaries helps a puppy find their feet in the world in a positive way that makes it a pleasure to have them around.


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