Dog Training, Tips, Tricks, and Plenty of Good Advice

Bossy Puppies

How to handle your bossy, dominant, or aggressive puppy.

It is important to develop a good relationship with your puppy based on mutual trust and respect. The following techniques will help to foster this relationship. Different techniques should be used if your dog is older than 6 months.


Establish trust and a desire to please.

  • Take long walks with your puppy (on leash).
  • Spend 10 minutes every day brushing (grooming) your puppy.
  • Attach your puppy’s leash to your waist and make your puppy go with you every where you go when you are home.
  • If someone else is regularly feeding your puppy, assume that responsibility yourself.
  • All the good things that happen to your puppy should come from you – not forever – but for now.


Establish respect and a willingness to obey using dominance techniques.

  • Displace your puppy from a resting place.
  • Restrain your puppy for a few minutes.
  • Place hands and arms over your puppy’s neck and back, and exert pressure.
  • Hold your puppy’s muzzle closed for a few minutes.
  • Stare at your puppy until your puppy looks away.
  • Pick up your puppy, either partially or completely.
  • Push your puppy over on his side and hold him there.
  • Roll your puppy over on his back.

Lots of praise when your puppy cooperates. Firm persistence if your puppy resists.


Assert your leadership in a firm and friendly way.

  • Reward and/or praise submissive behavior.
  • Hold training sessions several times a week.
  • Always insist that your puppy obey all the rules.
  • Make your puppy earn affection, food, and freedom.
  • Firmly correct dominant and/or bossy behavior.
  • Wild and unruly behavior is rewarded with a prolonged time-out.


Learn to recognize and discourage dominant body language:

  • Tall stiff stance
  • Tail held high
  • Flagging, or wagging tail in a taut stiff way.
  • Ears up and forward.
  • Growling, snarling, etc.
  • Direct stare.
  • Paws on or over person.
  • Standing over someone or something.


Pack leaders are aloof, they are calm, and they are self confident.

  • Attention should be earned.
  • Too much attention and coddling will give your puppy an inflated opinion of his place in the family.
  • Everything you do with your puppy should radiate confidence and serenity.
  • The pack leader is a fair dictator who enforces a well defined set of rules that members know, understand and are expected to live by.

Read and adhere to the Pack Leader’s Bill of Rights. Remember, you are the pack leader, not your puppy!

Written by: Shirley Gibson


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