Okay, so it's a slight exaggeration to say that Cabana wants to dominate the world. But I think many would agree that Cabana sometimes tries to dominate ME! I have a tendency to be too accommodating and "soft", and being the keen observer that Cabana is, she knows how to take advantage of my weaknesses.
But Cabana has improved greatly in the past couple months, in recognizing that I am her pack leader. She is MUCH better on walks and tends to be less solicitous at home (not always trying to grab my attention by staring at me or shoving her head into my arms when I'm working). She's gotten very good about just hanging out near me or amusing herself with toys. Though it's probably the result of a combination of factors (my session with the dog trainer, Cabana being spayed, and plain old growing up), there are also some small day-to-day tactics we've tried to employ diligently. These routines can lay a strong groundwork in helping our dogs see us as the pack leader.
1. Eat your dinner before feeding your dog. The pack leader always eats first in the wild.
2. Enter and exit doorways first. It's best to teach your dog to wait until you invite your dog to cross the threshold. (Same goes for stairs.)
3. Pet and play with your dog often throughout the day--but make sure YOU are the one initiating. If you only pet and play in response to your dog's solicitation, you are setting yourself up for constant pestering.
4. Have your dog do something to earn treats, rather than handing them out pell-mell.
5. On walks, keep your dog at your side, not out in front of you. You are determining where to go and the speed. If your dog wants to stop and sniff, make sure she waits until you release her to do so.
6. Some dog experts would say not to let your dog get up on furniture or on your bed (Guide Dogs would concur with this). If you do choose to let your dog sit on furniture, make him wait until he's been invited, rather than giving him full ownership of the couch.
7. Puppy push-ups (sit, down, sit, down) are great for establishing obedience randomly throughout the day.
These things are taught and recommended in the Guide Dogs puppy raising manual (except #6 since puppy raisers don't know if their pup's future partner is going to allow them on furniture in the future). The message is subtle, but dogs are experts at picking up on our subtle cues. It may not be necessary to incorporate all of these ideas, but even two or three of them will go a long way in teaching your dog who's pack leader.
Of course, this list is far from exhaustive. Any other suggestions for establishing leadership? Please feel free to add to the list!