By Todd Langston
If your dog is pushy and/or demands things from you and gets them - your dog most likely sees you as a follower and it can lead to behavior problems.
A small list of the things you may see if your dog is pushy & demanding:
Your dog nudges you, paws at you, barks at you or jumps on you in an effort to get your attention.
Your dog drops a toy in your lap for you play with them.Your dog barks at you to feed them.
Your dog scratches at the door so you will open it.
Your dog obsessively barks when you put them someplace they can not get to you.
Your dog grabs your hand or touches any part of you with their mouth.
Your dog wakes you up in the morning.
WHY DO DOGS ACT THIS WAY?
When a dog gets what they want by acting pushy they end up taking the lead in the relationship. When dogs lead they ignore what we want unless we have something for them. They do this because leaders in the animal world do not take direction from their followers.
Most dogs who act demanding and pushy are not being “dominant” over you. They act that way because they learned to act that way. They have learned the easiest and fastest way to get things from you is to be pushy and demanding. Its that simple. And once a dog knows they can can tell you what to do they will, and this is why most dogs run the show.
DOGS DON'T LEAD BECAUSE THEY ARE DOMINANT. DOGS LEAD BECAUSE THEY ARE SPOILED.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Here are a few things you can do to teach your dog to be less demanding:
I suggest completely ignoring 99% of pushy and demanding behaviors from now on. This is where the mantra of "no touch, no talk, no eye contact" applies. When you dog is demanding its best to act like they are not in the room.
Expectation vs Invitation is what I live by. If a dog expects something and gets it when they demand, they get very pushy and controlling. If they have to wait and be invited to get things it helps them be calm and respectful.
When your dog demands affection I suggest ignoring (no touch, no talk, no eye contact). The best way to give affection is to call them to you. When they come over you give all the love you want because they did something for you. If they don't come I suggest going and getting them so you can follow through with what you asked of them. Very important that you follow through.
Its okay to invite a dog into your lap when they are not demanding it.
If your dog barks at you when you feed them I suggest completely ignoring until they stop and calm - then continue the feeding process. If you continue when they are barking or jumping they learn those behaviors get food in their bowl. If you stop and wait until they are calm they learn those behaviors put food in the bowl.
Instead of playing when they drop a toy on you I suggest a “special” toy be kept on top of the fridge that you play with when YOU want to play. Keeping the toy or ball out of reach until you are ready makes the toy and the games you play more special to them. Don't go get the toy when they bark at it!!
Wait for your dog to be calm before letting them out of a crate.
Wait for your dog to be calm before inviting them on to the couch with you.
Certain levels of touch cannot be ignored and must be corrected. Dogs who climb on you when you are sitting down or jump on your back when you try to ignore them must be corrected.