How to Let My Puppy Know I Am Boss

Begin training puppies from a young age.
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If your puppy is hyperactive, or is tearing up everything in sight, it is time to make it clear that you are boss. Dogs are part of the canid family, along with other carnivorous mammals like wolves, jackals and coyotes. All canid breeds, whether wild or domesticated, have an innate "leader of the pack" mentality. Older dogs let puppies play a lot, but they do not hesitate to use a bark or gentle bite to keep younger dogs in check when it's time to settle down. Human owners must assume the "leader of the pack" role with puppies to keep them secure and well behaved.

Step 1

Take corrective action as soon as your puppy engages in a negative behavior, as your pet won't learn from delayed punishments at all. The second your puppy jumps up onto a table or begins to scratch a piece of expensive furniture, firmly say "no" and gently push your animal down toward the ground.

Step 2

Refuse to let your puppy crowd you out of a doorway, or hop out of the family car without your permission. Teach it to wait for your command by making it walk through the doorway again, the right way, or putting it back in the car until it can patiently await your command to exit.

Step 3

Tell your puppy to "sit," in front of doors before you open them, in front of its dog bowl before it gets fed and before you throw a stick for it to fetch. This calms the dog and lets it know you are boss. Push down its rump to help it understand what you want it to do. Reward your puppy with a treat every time it sits when you ask it to.

Step 4

Make eye contact with your puppy. Give it a treat if it lowers its eyes first, to reinforce its show of submission. Reward your puppy with another treat whenever it licks you under the chin, as this action is dog sign language for saying that you are "leader of the pack."


  • If you yell at or hit your dog, it will likely grow anxious around you, and may become violent with strangers. Gentle discipline and plenty of rewards work better than violent treatment when it comes to letting your puppy know you are boss.


  • Follow through faithfully with corrections and rewards, so your puppy isn't confused as to what your "pack rules" are, and make sure all family members are on the same page to keep your "yeses and nos" consistent.

An Item You Will Need

  • Dog treats