Are you wondering how to tell if your dog respects you?
Gaining your dog’s respect and trust is essential for successful obedience training.
So, let’s see what the signs are that your dog has respect for you and considers you a good leader.
7 Ways to Tell If Your Dog Respects You
What does the word “respect” mean to you?
We usually use it to talk about people who we admire for their personal qualities, abilities, and achievements.
Respect is something that has to be earned.
You can never respect someone who doesn’t respect you and mistreat you.
As such, you have to show your dog respect if you want to earn their admiration.
Let’s see if you’ve managed this challenging job well.
#1 Your Dog Follows You
There’s a simple rule in your dog’s world.
The pack leader is the one who leads the way, and the rest follows behind.
That’s because the alpha has the vital task of protecting the pack and taking all the hard decisions.
Any dog who respects you will never rush in front of you.
Instead, your pooch will walk calmly beside you or slightly behind you and will look at you for directions.
As such, you should always be the first in and out of the house.
Your dog should never lead the way, or they’ll start thinking that they’re the boss.
That could be dangerous because your dog will get protective of you and your home.
#2 Your Dog Lets You Choose Where to Sit
What does your dog do when you want to sit on the couch, and there isn’t enough space?
If your pooch moves out of the way or makes room for you, they respect you.
In the pack, the leader can sit wherever they want, and the others have to make do.
If your pet doesn’t move an inch, then they’re disrespecting you in such a subtle way that you might not even realize it.
The same goes if your dog tries to kick you from the bed whenever you lie down to sleep.
#3 Your Dog Doesn’t Pull the Leash
I’ve seen a lot of people who walk their dogs the wrong way.
Your dog should never pull the leash.
That’s a clear sign that they don’t respect your leadership and think that you’re not good enough as a pack leader.
Remember that it’s the job of the alpha to choose the way and protect the pack from potential dangers.
So, teach your dog to heel and walk properly so that they know that you’ll make the best decisions and trust your judgment.
#4 Your Dog Doesn’t Challenge Your Authority
What does your dog do when you tell them to get down from your bed?
Do they do it immediately or take their sweet time?
Dogs that respect their owners never question their authority. They do as they’re told without hesitation.
If your dog refuses to get down or doesn’t answer simple commands, such as “sit, “down,” or “come,” your dog doesn’t respect you.
The same goes if your pet doesn’t listen to you.
#5 Your Dog Waits for You to Eat First
In the pack, the leader is the one who always eats first. The rest of the pack waits for the leader to finish before they take their part.
So, if your dog waits for you to finish diner before they start whining for food, they respect and accept your role as the alpha dog.
It’s a good idea to teach your dog to maintain “sit” before you feed them.
That will show your dog that you decide when they get to eat and that no amount of begging or whining will change your mind.
Don’t make the mistake of feeding your dog before you eat. That will confuse your pooch about their position in the house.
Moreover, a dog who admires and respects you will never steal food from your plate when you’re not looking.
It might be cute when your dog does that, but it shows that they don’t see you as the pack leader.
#6 Your Dog Is Relaxed
Another way to tell that your dog respects you is to look at their body language.
A dog who accepts you for a pack leader is always relaxed around you and greats you with a wagging tail.
Moreover, respectful dogs are always happy to see you and come to you when called without hesitation.
They have relaxed facial expressions and don’t raise their hackles when you approach them.
On the other hand, dogs who don’t respect you avoid eye contact whenever you’re talking to them and will appear smaller than usual.
That’s because they might be afraid of you and don’t want to appear as a threat.
A lot of people think that you shouldn’t look at your dog’s eyes.
However, Japanese researchers have proven that mutual eye-to-eye contact increases the production of “happy” hormones.
As such, direct eye contact helps you bond with your dog.
That’s why respectful dogs don’t mind it when you look them in the eye.
#7 Your Dog Obeys Your Rules
A respectful dog always listens to their pack leader and follows their commands.
So, if your dog respects you, they will follow your rules and won’t disobey them when you’re not there to supervise.
If your dog thinks that you’re equals, they won’t respect you and will test any boundaries and limitations you’ve established.
In turn, this behavior will frustrate and anger you. That’s why you have to be firm but fair.
How to Earn My Dog’s Respect?
Reading through these tips on how to tell if your dog respects you, you might come to realize that your dog doesn’t respect you.
Don’t panic. It’s not too late to fix it. Here’s what to do to earn your dog’s admiration:
- Protect your dog when you go for walks together. Stand before your pooch and any potential threats.
- Don’t hesitate to comfort your pet whenever they’re afraid or anxious. Pet your dog or give them treats to cheer Fido up.
- Make your dog wait a couple of minutes before you feed them.
- Be consistent and firm. Never shout or mistreat your dog.
- Stick to your rules and don’t allow your dog to bend them.
To earn your dog’s respect, you must earn their trust first. You have to be calm and assertive and treat your dog fairly.
If you’re being unpredictable or tend to speak loudly, your dog will have a hard time trusting you because they don’t know what to expect.
One last note- there is quite a bit of research stating that dogs are NOT pack animals.
While the jury is still out (some experts disagree), most of these tips shared above work even without that assumption.
Good leaders earn respect, whether they’re “alpha” leaders or not.