Teaching your dog healthy dominance structure & boundaries

When establishing boundaries and dominance structure with your dog, there are so many different training methods it's hard to know where to start. First and foremost, giving your dog the overall structure they need through basic obedience training is always going to him have a clearer understanding of his boundaries. Training, in general, is so important to provide your dog. In this blog, though, I will be sharing a training command with you that will help you clearly establish a dominance structure with your dog, along with general household boundaries. This command is, "wait" and this is how you teach it to your dog:

First, you'll want to grab your dog's favorite training treats, your training clicker, and a standard leash (we will be using the leash as a visual aid while building up the foundational process of the skill).

You'll start off by putting the leash on the ground in-between you and your dog. This will act as a visual threshold for your dog. Your dog does not need to be sitting for this. The great thing about "wait" is that it is different from "stay" in the sense that your dog can do whatever he wants on his side of the threshold as long as he does not cross until told. Whereas with "stay", he has to stay in the same exact spot the entire time until released.


So, with your dog in whatever physical position (sit, down, standing) on the other side of the leash, you will wave your hand back-and-forth along the visual threshold to assert the boundary. Then, take a step back. If your dog tries to walk past the threshold, you will quickly step in front of him as to say, "nope, I've asked you to stay over here". After a few seconds to minutes (depending on how long your dog can hold this command at first) I would then release them with your release word (ok, free, release, come, etc).

I also recommend testing them by walking into their side of the threshold after you've asked your dog to, "wait". Then walk past him past the threshold again and see if he follows you. If he doesn't you can release him as you wish. Another way to test your dog with this is to sometimes never release them through the threshold, but away from it. This is great for the front door for example. If you go outside to grab the newspaper, you wouldn't want your dog thinking it's okay to then walk out of the front door when you release him. You would want him to release back into the house!


This will take time. I recommend practicing at all of the safety-related thresholds in your house first. These would be the stairs, front door, garage, and door to the back yard. Of course, any other additional thresholds like the kitchen, couch, bedrooms, basement, etc. - I would totally practice there as well! Make it your own and remember that training takes practice and consistency.


With any specific training questions, don't be shy! Message Busy Dog today so we can help with all of your training needs.