Adding Rules and Boundaries to Help a Beagle Regain Respect for His Owner

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 19, 2014

Max BeagleMax is a four-year-old male Beagle mix who barks a lot, begs and is starting to nip when his owner corrects him.

After spending a few minutes with Max, I could tell he had very little respect for his owner. He jumped up on her or invaded her personal space, ignored her corrections and was very determined when doing so.

I started out by suggesting a few changes to the living arrangements. The first of which was to not allow the dog on the furniture. Dogs equate some social status and perceived authority by how high they sit in relation to the other members of its pack.  So letting the dog sit at the same height as you can give the dog the impression you are equals. But Max’s owner told me that he often climbs up on and lays across the back of the couch.  In Max’s case, this position was part of the reason he considered himself top dog in the house.

I prefer to not push or pull a dog off a couch if they refuse to get down on the own. Instead I push them to the edge of the couch so they feel as if they are going to fall off. Once they feel that way, the jump off on their own. I showed Max’s owner how to do this, but as a very nice woman, she was soft in her movements. To Max this communicated that she didn’t really want him off the couch, so he continued to protest.

Max’s owner got better as she repeated the technique. It will be important for her to follow through and enforce the no furniture rule. As a Beagle, Max will likely be persistent in his efforts to remain in the top dog position. This is a sort of behavioral showdown. Whoever blinks first looses, so Max’s owner needs to be even more persistent for the next few days to a week. If she consistently corrects or block him from getting on the couch, he will eventually relinquish his claim to this top stop, geographically and metaphorically.

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