Dog Behavior Problems Related To Dominance And How To Address Them


Dogs are very complex animals, and raising a puppy or adopting one from a dog rescue can certainly be a big challenge. Your new best friend may exhibit some trying behaviors, even if they are well trained. Chances are that you’ll run into some dog behavior problems no matter what the circumstances are. With some patience and care, however, you can make sure that your furry friend is happy, friendly, and thriving under your care.


There is no morality in the canine kingdom. Dogs don’t choose their actions based on what’s right and wrong. Even if you are trying to enforce that idea in them, that’s not how it works in a dog’s mind. They simply do whatever works, and it’s your job as a pet owner to train them. If you reward or are ambivalent to “bad” behavior, then you will only be enforcing that behavior. 


The crux of so many behavioral issues is your dog struggling with dominance. They want to be the alpha of the pack, and even if they acknowledge you as the alpha, they may not show that respect to others. Here are some dominance issues that may arise and how you can address them. 



Regardless of how aggression manifests, you need to show dominance and build trust to show your pet that they can rely on you. 


A dog may try to assert their dominance over you or a family member by baring teeth, guarding their food bowl, or showing aggression towards other dogs. If left unchecked this could lead to a bite incident one day. Sometimes when pups end up at a dog rescue, it means that for whatever reason they were separated from their mother early on. This means that the rescue has to work hard to provide the socialization skills that the mother would normally have provided.


Set limits and don’t allow yourself to respond emotionally. Control the food source and reward positive behavior. Trying to set limits on an already aggressive dog can be quite difficult as the response may be to display more aggression. If you are seeing noticeable aggressive dog behavior problems you may need the help of a professional to guide the training process. 



Jumping up is your dog’s way of showing their power. This is a gateway to many other behavior problems related to dominance. How you address this issue is crucial. Yelling or shoving them down can just be a challenge. One to which your dog will not back down. It may be difficult to ignore, but try to not engage until your dog is seated and then reward them accordingly. Discipline needs to be done carefully through limits and restrictions. 


Guarding And Food Dominance

Dogs are pack animals, and packs rely on hierarchy. The more dominant will eat first and eat best. If you find that your dog is acting aggressively at feeding times, it is important to project that you are the reason they get to eat. You are the provider. 


Make sure that before feeding them you make them sit and wait, and don’t allow them to be fed until you give them the okay. One good technique is splitting their meal into 4 portions and making them sit calm before you allow them to eat. Then praise them before you refill the next portion and have them sit and be calm again. 


Addressing the Dog Behavior Problems

Show that you are the leader. This respect for you will transfer to others. When your dog acknowledges the hierarchy and sees that it’s working for them, they will understand and adapt to it. If you enforce this structure, dog behavior problems regarding dominance will be easier to avoid. If you continue having issues, reach out to a reputable resource like Lara’s Canine Solutions. Not only do they provide training, but they also rescue animals, care for animals, and put them up for adoption. They’re located in New Braunfels, but they service surrounding areas, including San Antonio.

For more information about dog behavior problems in San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin, and New Braunfels visit our website at