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Dominant Dog Behavior

Dominant Dog Behavior

Of the various behavioral traits in dogs, dominance is perhaps the most sought-after trait. While dominance is good to a certain extent, beyond that, it can turn out to be a serious nuisance.
DogAppy Staff
In dogs, the trait of dominance is predominantly attributed to two factors, how the dog is raised and genetics. You need to understand that dominance is not the same as aggression. While a dog with dominant behavior will show an urge to orchestrate things on his own, an aggressive dog will attack other animals and humans without any reason whatsoever.

Signs of Dominant Behavior

Identifying a dominant dog is not much difficult, especially if you are well-versed with the basic traits that he is likely to showcase. These traits can be seen in a dog at very young age; at times, as young 2 weeks. Given below are some prominent signs that will help you figure out whether your pet dog is dominant or not.
  • The dog will make his way through the door before you, and even shove you aside if need be.
  • When you attempt to sit on the furniture, the dog will hop onto it before you.
  • He will display utter reluctance to make way for you to move around, or make place for you on the furniture.
  • When you are sitting or standing, he will put his front feet on you and try to paw you.
  • Unlike a friendly dog, a dominant dog will deter you from petting on the top of his head or body.
  • He will display overenthusiastic behavior and jump on you to reach the plate of food before it is kept within his reach.
  • He will not hesitate to bark at you or growl, when playing or when you are giving some order.
  • He will show utter reluctance and refuse to let go of food and toys.
  • He will frequently attempt to mouth you while playing and also, while you are resting.
  • The dog will mark the house by urinating inside the house, especially on your belongings.
At times, a dog might show any one of these traits once in a while, but that doesn't amount to dominant behavior. You will have to observe the behavior of your pet dog for a significant period before jumping to a conclusion.

How to Correct This Behavior?

A dominant dog is likely to remain dominant forever, unless you inculcate some discipline in him. Some simple obedience training measures can help you in instilling discipline in your pet dog. You should always eat before you feed your dog and, at the same time, make sure that your dog knows that you are eating first. Follow a proper feeding schedule, instead of opting for free feeding. You also need to make sure that the dog is sitting when you offer him food. Do not allow your dog to sit on the furniture or bed without your permission. If the dog continues to try sitting on the bed, it's better to keep him outside the bedroom.

Avoid playing games like tug of war or wrestling, wherein there is one clear cut winner, and if at all you do indulge in such activity, make sure that you win it. Do not reward or pet your dog without any positive reason for doing so. Ideally, you should pet your dog only when he obeys your commands. Whatever you do, you need to do it in a calm manner by resorting to a non-confrontational approach.

If the dog continues to be dominating even after going through obedience training, then you can penalize him by keeping him away from the family for some time, or not feeding him at the scheduled time. Make sure that you send across the signal properly, but without being too harsh. You won't notice any obvious changes in your pet on the second day of the training itself. You will have to be patient throughout the process. If you are consistent, your dog will shed these dominant behavioral traits over the period and acknowledge the fact that you are the master.