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Welcome to Talk Dog
This site is for any dog owner who has asked themselves the question, 'who is in charge here, me or the dog' ? To start with there's a handy quiz to find out who is the dominant one in your relationship. If you find yourself answering no to any of the questions, then read on, correct your mistakes then take the quiz again until you can truthfully answer yes to all the questions.
Please remember it's never too late to change your dogs behaviour, so don't give up just because you think he/she is set in their ways, it takes time and patience but if you persevere your partnership will flourish and you'll both be a lot happier.
Who's walking who
This image is probably an all too common site around parks and streets in the UK, The dog is in charge of the walk here and he's showing a total lack of respect for his owner. This is one of the first fundamental things to tackle, if you're to restore your rightful place as the leader of the pack. If a dog respects and trusts you, when he's on the lead he should be next to you or behind you and definitely not pulling your arm out of its socket. So take the test and see what it reveals about your relationship with your dog.
DOGGY DOMINANCE TEST
Here is how you can tell if it's you or your dog in charge of the household. Take the following quiz. If you fail any one of the questions then you are sending a subtle message to your dog that it may be the one in charge. Fail them all and you better change things quickly.
1) Does your pet get out of your way when you walk?
Alpha dogs do not move out of the way of sub members. Rank has its privileges and one of them is to stay where you're at. Do not step over or around your dog when walking across the floor. Make them move out of your way by gently shuffling your feet through them. If you don't, you're saying to the dog that he's in charge.
2) Who has the best seat in the house?
Your dog should move out of your way when you go to sit on the couch (or shouldn't be allowed on the couch at all). Alpha dogs are allowed to sit wherever they want. If your dog growls at you when you go to sit on the bed or couch, he thinks he's in charge.
3) Who walks through the door first?
The leader of the pack is exactly that - the leader. You should be the one leading the way into situations - and this includes going through doors. Don't allow your dog to charge through the door ahead of you. You're conveying the message that he can be the leader.
4) Who eats first?
Alpha dogs eat first, sub members eat later. If you schedule feed your dog, you should be doing it after you eat, not before. Again this conveys the subtle message that the dog is in charge.
5) Is your dog obedience trained?
A dog that won't sit for you probably has the idea in their head that they don't have to because they are the one in charge. Obedience training can be an excellent way to regain your status of boss.
6) Who owns the food/toys/treats?
All of the possessions of the household belong to the alpha dog and they allow others to use them when they so desire. If your dog won't let you take away his bone or growls at you when you go to remove his food bowl, he thinks they are his and not on loan from you. He considers himself boss.
7) Who walks whom?
Again, alpha dogs lead the way and if your dog is pulling you down the street in a water skiing fashion, he thinks he's the leader and can go where he wants.
8) Can you groom your pet?
If your dog growls or fusses over being groomed or having his nails clipped, then he may consider himself boss. Not only should all the toys and items in the house be yours, so should every part of his body. You should be able to grab his tongue, reach in his ear, pry apart his toes, etc. - because he should have no say in the matter. If he barks, he thinks he has a say.
9) Who wins staring contests?
Direct eye contact in dog language is a threatening gesture. Your dog should not want to look directly at your eyes if you lock your eyes on his. Submissive dogs turn their heads away.
10) Does your pet growl or snap at you?
These are both signs of dominance and should never be allowed - the only exception might be when the dog is ill or injured. Human aggression is a big no-no and these attempts at rebellion should not be tolerated by the alpha leader.