Getting a Handle on Your Bossy Dog

Tuesday, September 6, 2022 10:49:39 AM America/Los_Angeles

One of the best parts of having a fur baby is spoiling them silly. But unfortunately, spoiling doesn’t come without its consequences! Though our precious pooches deserve everything in the world, it’s also in everyone’s best interest to keep your bossy ball of fur in check. Not only does spoiling your pup lead to a demanding dog, it can also increase the likelihood of separation anxiety and territorial behavior.

Photo by Andrew Pons

What Causes Dogs to Be Bossy?

Some might say bossy is just another way to describe a spoiled doggo. Giving into your furry one’s every demand will quickly lead to them thinking that they’ll get whatever they ask for. Dogs may bark, whimper, nip, and stare at us with those hard-to-resist puppy eyes to get our attention. But think twice before you give in to that sweet gaze, because your dog will eventually think they can schmooze (or nag) you into doing whatever it is they want.  

What to Do With a Bossy Dog

Demanding pooches can quickly become overwhelming for dog pawrents who wish they could do everything their furry companions ask. But not only is it unrealistic to give into every demand, some of the things that our doggos ask for aren’t always the best for them. Whether they’re nagging you nonstop for treats or asking for undivided attention 24/7, there needs to be a line drawn at some point. So what can be done to respond to a bossy pup? 

  • Be consistent: It’s also on us dog pawrents to help our pups understand what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. However, inconsistent behavior on our end can be extremely confusing. If you’ve decided on a no pets rule in the home office, stick to the plan. Caving and letting your dog in on some days and not on others can send major mixed signals. Dogs are naturally creatures of habit, and routines also contribute to a sense of security that could lead to less needy behaviors. 
  • Reward good behavior: Rather than punishing or scolding a demanding dog, reinforce appropriate behavior with heaps of praise and some treats. For instance, instead of caving when your dog scratches at the door of your home office, lead them back to an acceptable location and offer treats and praise there. You might even give an extra round of treats if they manage to be independent for an extended length of time! 
  • Encourage independence: Encouraging your fur baby to do things on their own can help temper needy, bossy behavior. Luckily, you can enlist a couple of tools to assist you! Indoor dog bathrooms and interactive toys are both ways to help your pooch navigate the world independently. A real bark pee pad like Bark Potty not only means one less thing your pup will bug you about, it also means they’ll learn that they don’t need to rely on you for every single thing.