Q: How do I keep my dog from dominating dinnertime?

June 27, 2010 | By Mary T. | 2 answers | Expired: 2040 days ago

Mary T.

My dog plays an annoying “game” when we have guests for dinner. He repeated demands to be let out — then in immediately, then out again and again. He’s not going to the bathroom — just turning right around — but why?

Chosen Answer

You and your guests are being dominated by a dog at dinner. And there might be other signs, if you look around.

Somehow the dominance hierarchy in your human-canine family has gone awry. Just when you thought your dog’s innate desire to rise to alpha status was satisfactorily suppressed, along comes dominance once again. Has the dog been sleeping on your bed? That puts the dog on the same level, symbolically and altitude-wise, as the leader of the pack, and it’s a slippery slope from there. And who eats dinner first, the dog or you? We thought so.

Just say “No!” to inappropriate dog games. If necessary, say it again: “No! Sit! Stay! Good dog.” Don’t forget to use his name when giving a command.

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Readers' Answers (1)

Jul 12, 2010

your dogs getting attention when he goes in and out, right? when we give attention to our dogs during this behavior, they get the upper hand. it tells them they have the control and we're willing to cater to them, which isn't an impression you want to give a dog. most dogs are good for testing us along the line, see where we fold and they'll be there to take the lead when we show a weakness in being alpha.
although a lot of people suggest not letting your dog sleep w/you, i disagree w/that. my dogs are always allowed to sleep w/me, but are not allowed in bed unless invited. there's a few small tasks you can do throughout the day, every day, to maintain your alpha status. one is feeding them after you've eaten, and asking them to sit and stay before each meal. and another is discouraging free reign over furniture and specific, high interest areas of your home {like front and back door and kitchen}.
always teach your dogs basic obedience of sit and stay and come. even if you never teach them anything else, these three are valuable in every day life. after he's learned those, get him off the furniture. have him sit and stay next to couch or bed and then sit down. wait a couple of seconds then ask him to come, patting the couch or bed. tell him he's a good boy, but don't overly reward him for this w/lots of enthusiasm or hugs. it's good he listened, but too much excitement will encourage behavior you want to avoid. be consistent in never letting him jump up w/o the invite.
usually those two will lend you just enough control to focus on everything else, b/c you now have the upper hand. don't let him go in and out. ignore him. he will give up.

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