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How To Tell If Your Dog Respects You? 21 Signs To Look Out For

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How to tell if your dog respects you 21 signs to look out for

Anyone who has a dog will tell you that you need to train them fully in order to have a happy and healthy relationship with your dog. Dogs are incredibly loyal, trusting, caring and loving creatures, and having a dog is one of the most rewarding things that you can do. 

What many people enjoy about having a dog is how obedient and willing to please they are. Dogs love to please their owners, and you can spend hours playing, teaching new tricks and spending quality time with your dogs.

It cannot be just me that loves my dog like a family member. Dog owners around the world see their pets as extensions of their family, or even sometimes like their own children! With such a close-knit relationship, it makes it so much easier for owners to sometimes wonder what their dogs think about them! 

Have you ever looked at your dog and thought: I wonder what is going on inside that head. Aside from thinking about kibbles 24/7, you may be wondering if your dog ever thinks about you, or whether they respect you.

That is what we are here to find out! With our guide, you can check out our 21 signs that your dog respects you, to see if yours does! 

If your dog does not seem to follow these traits, then it may be time to re-establish the pecking order in your household. If your dog thinks that they are the Alpha in the pack, then they will try to push your boundaries, and test your patience.

The dog will also try to establish dominance, assert its power and make sure that you know who the boss is!  

How do I know if my dog respects me?

If you are wondering how to tell if your dog respects you, then there are a few ways that you can figure this out. For instance, if a dog thinks that it is the pack leader, then it will not obey you, and it may be destructive, aggressive, and disobedient. 

This is why you need to ensure that you are the Alpha in your home, so that your dog can listen to commands, know its place, and never destroy your house, furniture or belongings. This is the secret to a happy pet/owner relationship! 

To check if your dog is the Beta, and you are the Alpha, you should check out our guide of 21 signs that your dog respects you! 

21 Signs that your dog respects you

There are a few ways that you can tell that your dog respects you, and knows that you are the Alpha. 

No pulling

One of the easiest ways that you can tell whether your dog respects you as the owner, is if they walk normally when on a leash. A dog that pulls, and lunges forward thinks that it will see results and pull you wherever they want to go. 

In this sense, the dog thinks that they are leading the walk and that you are under their control.

This could be because, in the wild, wolves would have the leader of the pack, which would be the head of the group and the boss.

By pulling forward on their leash, the dog is actively disrespecting you, and not listening to you. 

On the other hand, if your dog walks calmly, and looks to you for direction or command, then you can tell that the respect is there.

Listens to commands

Another way that you can tell if your dog respects you is if they listen to your commands. If your dog respects you, then they will obey you and respond to your commands and calls.

If your dog ignores you when you call them, or does not do what you ask them to do, then this is a clear sign of disrespect and your lack of authority over them. 

Does not steal your seat

Some dogs love being cheeky, and will try and steal your spot wherever you go. Whether it is on the couch, or at the kitchen table, or on your bed, if you get up, as they say on your feet, lose your seat!

As cute and funny as this can be, a dog that chooses to jump into your space and onto your seat is actually disrespecting you. 

This is to show you that the dog is at the top of the hierarchy, and you are at the bottom.

They are subtly telling you that they are the King/Queen of the castle, and you have to find somewhere else to sit. Never succumb to the puppy dog eyes, and reclaim your throne! 

Does not walk away when you are talking to them

This is not only rude when people do it, but if your dog walks away when you are talking to them it is rude and disrespectful.

In doing this, your dog is showing a complete lack of care towards your needs or behavior, and shows that they will do whatever they please.

This is a clear sign of a power struggle between you and the dog, and you will need to establish who the Alpha is.

Brings you gifts for approval

In the wild, wolves would naturally be foraging for food, hunting for prey and finding things to bring back to the pack for sustenance and survival.

This is why dogs love to bring you their toys, favorite blankets, sticks or sometimes even dead animals for your approval and your praise. 

This is a sign that your dog respects you because they are trying to offer you something in return for your love, affection and happiness. 

Wants to be close to you

If your dog wants to be close to you, this is also because they respect you as the Alpha.

As the leader of the pack, you would be expected to protect the pack from attack, or other wolf packs, and so choosing to sit next to you is a sign that your dog feels safe when close to you.

This is also because they respect, love and feel secure when around you!

How to tell if your dog respects you

Lets you choose the seat first

If your dog tries to choose a seat before you do, or always looks for the prime position without letting you sit down first, then they obviously value themselves as higher or more important than you. 

If a dog respects their owner, then they will themselves move out of the way for you to sit down, not claim the position as their own. In addition, if your dog wants to sit with you on the couch, then they should ask your permission first, and find a spot next to you or near you, not be in your exact spot. 

Does not sit on you

In relation to the previous sign of respect, if your dog tries to sit on you, then this shows that they think they are the Alpha.

Sitting on top of you shows a complete disregard for your welfare, and the dog is clearly trying to dominate you by sitting on top of you. Having a cuddle with your dog is completely different. 

In wolf packs, the Alpha would never allow others in the pack to sit on them, and so by letting your dog sit on top of you, you are submitting the power to them.  

Will follow you everywhere!

If your dog is completely attached to you, and follows your every move like a little shadow, then this is a clear sign that you are the leader.

The dog will follow you anywhere, and will do so blindly and without a second thought or hesitation. This shows that your dog completely respects you, trusts you, and follows your command. 

Does not pee or poop in the house

Sometimes, dogs will pee or defecate in the house, and these dogs can even be already housetrained. When they do this, it is usually to mark their territory, and to show that it is their domain. 

If a dog is peeing in your house, then they are trying to assert their dominance, and show you who is the boss. But, on other occasions, it can be a sign of old age, ill health, anxiety or incontinence. 

Lets you go through doors first

As we mentioned before, the Alpha of the wolfpack would lead, and would go into places first. Therefore, if you are the Alpha at home, then your dog should allow you to enter rooms first, and they will follow.

If they do not let you go through doors first, then they are leading the way for you, and guiding you instead. This shows that they think that they are higher up in authority than you are!

Does not wake you up

As the leader of the pack, you are entitled to wake up when you please, and the other wolves (dogs) in the home must not wake you.

If your dog feels entitled to wake you up, then they are controlling you and acting as the boss of you. This shows that they think that they are higher in the pecking order, and that you are the Beta, not the Alpha. 

Unless your dog is waking you up because of an issue, such as an intruder, or ill health or if they need to go outside, then they are probably doing it because they are bored, and just because they want to.

They will need to learn that the day starts when you say it does, not when they say it does. 

Lets you answer the door first

The leader of the pack should greet newcomers first. The same goes for answering the door to guests. If your dog is rushing ahead of you, and tries to suss out new people or guests before you get the chance to, then it thinks that it is the leader and protector of the household, not you.

The leader of the wolfpack will greet others, and ensure that they are safe to enter the domain, so it makes sense that the owner would do this and not your dog. 

Happy to wait for their food

In a similar way to not allowing your dog to wake you up when they please, you should also not allow your dog to demand food or beg for food. You should be in charge of feeding times if you want to command your dog’s respect and attention.

It is down to the leader of the pack to determine when food is available, and so your dog will respect you if you are the decision maker when it comes to feeding. 

Fed on your schedule

In addition to this, you should not give in to your dog if it is begging. If you are eating your food, then your dog should be patient, and respectful, and wait until it is their turn to have their food.

This shows the chain of command, and who is in charge. If your dog thinks that it is acceptable to beg or even take food from you then this is an easy way of showing that they disrespect you, and do not care if you have time to eat. 

Does not steal your food

Being brave enough to steal food from the table is a feat in itself, but it is also a huge sign of disrespect. In particular, if your dog does not even try to be sneaky about it, and does not wait until you leave the room to steal food, then this is incredibly rude, brazen and disrespectful.

Think about it, a Beta would never steal food from the Alpha, or it would get its face bitten off, so why is your dog doing it to you…because they think that they are the leader. 

Expect treats for doing nothing

You should never treat your dog for nothing. Treats are a great way of rewarding good behavior, or enticing your dog to do something.

By just offering treats, your dog will think that it rules the world and deserves rewards for nothing. As the Alpha, you should control the food source, and you control when they get sustenance. 

Lets you groom and pet them

Dogs can show respect for you in many ways. One of the easiest ways to see if your dog respects you is if they are submissive towards you. This is shown if they let you groom them, or touch them in places that are vulnerable, such as the belly.

If a dog rolls onto its back, and shows its belly, then this is a sign that they are submitting fully to you, by showing you the most vulnerable part of their body.  

Seems happy around you

If your dog truly respects you, then they will submit to you. This means that they are not aggressive in any way, and their body language is relaxed, happy and content.

If your dog seems uptight around you, shows their teeth, or the fur on their back is up, then they are not comfortable around you, and they do not respect you.

Does not nip at ankles

Some dogs may show aggression by nipping or biting at the ankles when you move. This is part of a herding instinct, and they often cannot help it. However, as it is a herding instinct, it is a means of controlling where you go, and so the dog is dominating your movements. 

Breaks eye contact

You may have heard that dogs do not like to look you in the eye, but this is not entirely true.

If you look your dog in the eye, and they believe that they are the leader, and the dominant one, they will stare back at you, and will not break contact.

However, a dog that is submissive to you will look away when you stare as a sign of respect.


Sometimes, it can be hard to establish dominance with your dog. But, this does not mean that your dog doesn’t like you or care for you.

This important thing is that you never discipline or become aggressive with your dog in order to show who is boss.

Some dogs grow out of it, or slowly over time and with training procedures, they will learn to take their place as the Beta, and not the Alpha. 

It just takes a little bit of patience, understanding, and positive reinforcement. Once you have established a healthy relationship with your dog, we can guarantee that you can be best buds forever. 

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.