Whether you realize it or not, your dog views you and your family as his own private wolf pack. In the canine world every pack has its own dominance hierarchy. This pack mentality means that in your dog’s mind you are either a leader or a follower. As in the human world, leaders give commands and followers do what the leader says. Your dog’s instinct is to figure out where he falls in the pack hierarchy. You may think you are your dog’s “master” but your actions may be telling the dog something else. If you want your dog to follow your commands (instead of the other way around) you can do a few simple things to show that you are the boss. Being leader of the pack has nothing to do with harsh punishment. It has everything to do with consistency and setting limits.
You need to set the rules from the first moment you meet your dog. Because you are the leader, your dog shouldn’t be calling the shots. For example, leaders control who gets fed when. You should get to eat your dinner first and you should make Rover “sit” before he gets access to his food bowl. The “sit” and “down” commands are powerful tools you can use to let your dog know you are the ruler of the roost. Before he gets to go out on a walk, make Rover sit while you attach his leash. If Rover is being a nuisance while you are cooking dinner, put him in a down stay and if he gets up, put him back into the down stay as many times as necessary until you (not the dog) decide its okay for him to get up.
If Rover is lying in the middle of your way and won’t move, don’t walk around him. In a wolf den, dominant dogs lie where they want to and dogs lower on the dominance scale move out of the way. If you walk around your dog, your dog will assume this is an act of submission on your part. Also make sure you go through doorways before your dog. It sounds obvious, but pack leaders lead, so don’t follow your dog. Even asking for affection can be an act of dominance from the canine perspective. Dogs that demand attention are asserting dominance, so if your dog gets pushy, ignore him. When you are ready to pet him, ask him to sit first. In the leader-follower game, making a few little changes can have a powerful effect on the way you relate to your dog.