Dogs are some of the most lovable creatures on the planet, but one does need to put some effort in to earn their trust and obedience, all of which requires a certain level of respect, but how to earn a dog’s respect?
Well, the most common answer you’ll get when learning how to earn a dog’s respect is to be an “Alpha”, though not by the historic standards of a wolf pack, but rather a modern one who provides for the dog’s needs and builds an environment of mutual care and benefit.
It’s a more symbiotic relationship in a sense that the others aren’t just getting your protection while doing most of the work and are instead working on more even footing.
You’re meant to provide them not only security but be able to feed them and keep them in shape while also allowing them their space when needed.
That said, some of that dominance still needs to stick out, but in a less aggressive manner than a wolf would utilize, things like clear and consistent rules that the dog can easily remember.
Ones that won’t change on a whim, making them lose value for the pooch and making him less likely to follow them.
You’re not meant to be a doormat, but you’re also not meant to be a tyrant, striking that delicate balance is important, albeit hard when first starting out, and you don’t need to do it all at once.
Taking it slowly will help better ease you into the many different things you can do to earn your dog’s respect and admiration.
If you’d like to find out what all these are as well as some of the things you ought to absolutely avoid doing, feel free to read on.
The 6 Top Ways Of Learning How To Earn A Dog’s Respect
The first things that you’ll need to secure are the dog’s safety as you’re likely getting him as a pup and he can’t really fend for himself. You’d need to establish yourself as the parental figure in a sense by showing that you can provide for him.
Here are the initial necessities that you’d need to cover.
1. Ensure The Dog Has Everything That He Needs
When you get him, you’ll need to have all of his basic needs in order.
Things like proper bedding, enough food and water as well as a safe and secure place to be able to retreat to in case he feels nervous or anxious.
This will continue throughout his life though and he should never be left wanting.
He’s meant to have these needs covered at all times, or at least the majority of it, as that’s kind of the prerequisite for owning a pooch.
They’re as much of a responsibility as raising a child, after all.
If you can manage that, then you’ll show that you’re someone he can rely on which will immediately earn you points with your dog.
2. Allow Him Some Independency
While we all want dogs that will be there for us whenever we need them, they’re still their own being too, and we need to learn to give them some space when they seem to require it.
Sometimes, a dog may get overwhelmed with different stimuli and may need a bit of alone time to relax back into a more comfortable state.
As much as we may want to help our dear dogs at that time, if he’s growling when you approach or generally appears like he’s in his own world where he doesn’t want to be disturbed, let him have it, let him have that bit of independence that he can enjoy.
On top of that, you should make sure that the spot he retreats to is made nice and comfortable for him.
These moments may be rare, but are often tied to fears or anxieties, separation anxiety in particular and having them be somewhat independent helps curb said separation anxiety somewhat.
3. Be There For Him
While this one may sound counterintuitive to the earlier method, being there for your dog when he does get scared, anxious or is in pain is just as important.
It shows a great degree of responsibility and that reliability we’ve talked about in #1, and, while your dog may not want you to interfere in some cases, in most of them he most certainly will as you’re meant to be placing yourself as the head of the household.
Show them that you love and care and that you can help handle the things that trouble them, especially some of the health issues that dogs can often suffer from.
Going to the vet may be a scary thought for him at first, but he’ll be extremely thankful once whatever ails him is sorted out.
Aside from that, helping reassure him and just allowing him to cuddle up to you will start growing your bond stronger by default.
4. Giving Him His Daily Dose Of Exercise
Though this may sound like a punishment more than a boon, for most dogs it’s a great treat as they love to explore the greater area and to make sure they leave their mark on it.
That’s why even those of you who have large yards should take your dogs out on a daily basis to help them stretch their legs out and get their daily exercise needs satisfied.
Most dogs require around 45 to 60 minutes of exercise a day though there are others who need as little as 30 and as long as 120 minutes daily to meet their requirements.
Learn how much your particular dog’s breed’s standard is and adhere to it.
Feel free to mix the walks together with play time as it’ll help make the activity more enjoyable for both you and your dog.
Naturally, performing this will ensure that you have a dog who will stay in proper shape and remain as healthy as he can be, which will in turn reciprocate itself as love toward you.
5. Get Him Behavior Trained Early
The earlier you teach your dog how to be obedient, the more he’ll listen to you and the more respect he’ll have for you in general.
It’s also a good time to start setting up the method in which you further continue his training.
The one that’s most recommended in this case is that of positive reinforcement where you don’t punish him for doing something bad, but do praise him for doing something good, slowly letting your dog gravitate toward the behavior which nets him treats.
If you’re stuck on this step, get help and consultation from a professional trainer to help teach you the basic steps and how to proceed from then on.
Just make sure that, if you do end up using this method, you only use treats for training purposes as otherwise their value as a reward might diminish over time.
6. Establish A Set Of Consistent Rules
Finally, it’s time for the more discipline oriented aspect which is to establish that set of rules that will need to be followed by your dog, one that you need to be consistent with and not provide any leniency or constant change to them.
If you end up being lenient, your dog will just end up abusing the fact and will end up misbehaving in the long run, whereas constantly changing the rules will just end up confusing him overall which will make him lose respect for you in general.
The rules that you set should be the standard for the most part.
Things like no misbehaving in the house, no chewing on slippers or furniture, no leaping excitedly at guests to scare them, no begging for food outside of the usual feeding times, things like that.
You can also sprinkle some specific rules to your household, but try to not make them too restrictive or else your dog will have a hard time following them.
And the consistency doesn’t just extend to leniency and your rules, but enforcing them yourself, especially when strict feeding times are to be considered.
Regardless of how your day goes, if you show your dog that you’re abiding by that same ruleset, he’ll have more respect for you and be more likely to abide by them himself as you lead by example.
What Should You Not Do To Earn A Dog’s Respect?
Just like there are some things you need to follow to earn your dog’s respect, there are certain things that you need to avoid doing to keep yourself from losing that respect in the first place.
Being lazy and inconsistent is one of them, as mentioned earlier when we talked about rules, another would be not being around for your dog at which point you’d have to wonder why even get a dog in the first place.
Though, arguably the cruelest thing you can do to a dog is to abuse him, be it physically or by verbally berating him with loud noises and an angry tone.
Once again, dogs are essentially children and require an equal amount of responsibility. They’re never there with some ill intent unless conditioned to do so and they’ll only reflect what they see their owners do.
Some even develop defensive mechanisms that make them appear more aggressive than they normally would be.
I pray that you can avoid letting that happen to your pooch.
It’s easy to learn how to earn a dog’s respect, the difficult part is keeping that consistency up.
There will be days when you may be completely unmotivated to perform some of the tasks from your own set rules, and I know how painful it can get, but you need to persevere for the sake of your furry best friend.
If you can keep it up, he’ll be there to offset those bad days with his presence alone and seeing that happiness radiate from your good boy is what keeps most people going.
While it may be a hard challenge to accomplish, I fully believe that you’re capable of managing it as it does get easier over time. Until next time, pet parents.