How to Identify Dominant Behavior in Your Dog

By March 18 | See Comments

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Besides growling, biting and guarding, dogs display a number of other dominant behaviors that usually go unnoticed by pack leaders. They do not develop this overnight. There are signs that lead up to it over the years, and bear in mind that dominant alpha dogs don't always bite or growl.If the dog gets what it wants from the owner, there is no reason for it to bite or growl unless challenged. When humans perform all their tasks, it is easy for the dog to feel like the alpha in their pack. Here are some signs displayed by a dog that thinks that it is above humans. It is important to remember that a dog doesn't have to display all of the behaviors mentioned below to feel dominant.

  • Stubborn
  • Willful and headstrong
  • Pushy
  • Demanding
  • Begging
  • Nudging to be petted
  • Pawing or pushing a toy on you to get you to play
  • Perching in high places and looking down on things
  • Guarding a human being from someone who approaches him/her. Although people refer to this behavior as protecting, it is actually claiming that it owns you
  • Whining or barking at humans which a lot of owners consider as “talking”
  • High-pitched screams when protesting
  • Putting their paws or jumping on humans
  • Resolute about staying on a piece of furniture when explicitly asked to stay off
  • Resolute about entering and exiting doorways before people
  • Resolute about walking up front when on a lead
  • Resolute about being the first one to get through the doorway
  • Nipping at the heels of people when they leave
  • Not listening to commands
  • Standing proudly on a human's lap
  • Resolute about staying on top, whether it is stepping on a foot or standing on the lap
  • Resolute about where they sleep
  • Annoyance at being disturbed when sleeping
  • Sleeping on top of humans
  • Licking in a focused and determined manner
  • Disliking being left alone and getting overexcited when the owner returns
Dominant stance

A dog's stance can tell you everything you need to know about its frame of mind. For instance, dominant dogs tend to walk proud and high, puffing out as much as possible. The dog tends to carry itself with a stance that looks like dignity to untrained eyes. The body is stiff, the tail is rigid and up and its ears are always pricked up and on alert.Dogs tend to instinctively migrate and led by their leader. Teaching him/her to heel is the most effective method to communicate who is the leader. Remember that when the pack order is not made clear to them, it causes a lot of anxiety and stress.

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