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How old before they understand dominance?

May 21st, 2008, 08:55 PM
Hello all, this is my first post - and I'm the owner of an 8 week old English Pointer. I'm having a problem with him understanding that I'm the dominant one. He must be old enough to understand dominance - obviously mom would set him straight as a pup if he was out of line. Now this is my job - I can't tell if he understands that I'm the dominant one or if it's just puppy play.

He climbs all over me, doesn't respect my space if I push him away, doesn't listen to my hushes...

I'm not sure what to do with respect to making sure he understands the order of our household pack.

I've done everything - I'm the first one through doors, first one to eat.

Anyone have any suggestions with puppy mentality?

Thanks very much in advance!

May 21st, 2008, 10:04 PM
It's good that you're showing you are boss, but 8 weeks is still pretty young. I would think he's starting to understand, but is still going to push limits for awhile. Just keep being consistent, and puppy classes will go a long way to help as well. Don't worry just 8-week pup is a pretty strong-willed creature! Good luck!

And post pictures! Everyone here loves those :)

May 21st, 2008, 10:14 PM
Thanks Chase!

I figured this was the case - after all it is play play play play play play... ooooh, a shiny thing... play play play play.

He does know who I am - He's already becoming quite the couch potato that English Pointers are synonymous for being. He's ALWAYS sleeping on my lap, and never really leaves my side. He's so happy to see me when I get home. It's actually upsetting my girlfriend since he doesn't react the same way with her. Especially since I've always been a cat person, and she's the real dog lover - Getting him used to 3 cat's and vice-versa is a whole other can 'o worms...

I'll post some pics of Higgins in another post.

Any other English Pointer owners here??????

May 21st, 2008, 11:22 PM
I should also point out that he will lie on his back for tummy rubs. But is that showing submission, or is he just enjoying a rub on his pink belly?:confused:

May 22nd, 2008, 06:04 AM
Welcome to the forum Credo :) .

It's my opinion that this whole "dominance" theory is a little over-rated. I propose you to think about being a good leader and teacher rather than "master". Your pup is displaying regular puppy behavior which is perfectly normal. Your job should be to play and nurture him appropriately, and to gently teach him boundaries and limits. I recommend you pick up some puppy books, Ian Dunbar's After Getting Your Puppy is one of many good choices. Puppy classes and later, obedience classes (using gentle, positive re-enforcement) is another way of building a positive relationship with your puppy.

I don't want my dogs to submit to me, I want them to respect and trust me. Our relationships are built on a much more solid foundation than it would be if I chose to just dominate them :shrug: .

May 22nd, 2008, 01:31 PM
Lucky Penny has posted my thoughts, that dominance is just a theory and has it's disbelievers. Even the adherants would say your puppy is just acting normally. It does sound like you are doing the correct things, just keep on.

I do note that he is excited to see you when you return home but not your girlfriend. Personally, going on the advice I was given with our first pup, I would nip that in the bud by ignoring him when you come home for ten minutes. Allowing him to be excited when you leave or come home can be setting the stage for future problems with separation anxiety. Ideally it's best if your coming and going is no big deal. As per "Good Owners, Great Dogs" by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilcox, and many others.

The Nothing In Life Is Free method is one I like and here is a link to it. You can search for many others.

June 2nd, 2008, 06:42 PM
I agree wih luckypenny and longblades, Dominance and Submission is highly overated when it comes to the Human-Dog relationship. Dogs dont travel in packs, and they definetly know that a human cannot be their pack leader or follower. In animal nature, packs are designed for hunting large animals, not even all wolves travel in careful with the dominance thing! It can turn some dogs aggressive or fearful.

Reinforce the behaviours you agree with and ignore the ones you dont.

Mental stimulation is very important for a pup!