10 Signs of Dominance in Your Dog

Having a dominant dog around the house can be annoying as well as dangerous.  A dog who thinks he’s in command might eventually bite you or someone in your family if he is challenged. It’s important to recognize the signs that your dog is becoming dominant and do something about the problem.

1.   Excessive barking. Dogs that bark all the time are not just a nuisance, they are imposing their voice on everyone.  This is a sign of a dominant dog.

2.   Getting on furniture or the bed without permission. If you allow your dog to get on the furniture or the bed, it’s important that you teach your dog that he is only allowed to do so when he has your permission.  If he gets up on furniture or the bed whenever he wants, he is displaying dominant behavior and putting you in a subordinate position.

3.   Growling at you or other members of the family. Dogs that growl are giving you a warning that they may bite. This is a clear warning that your dog is displaying dominant behavior toward you.

4.   Demanding your attention through nudges, whining, or mouthing you. Dogs that are constantly demanding your attention in these physical ways are displaying dominant behavior and trying to force you to pay attention to them.

5.   Guarding food or toys. Dogs that guard their food or toys and who won’t give them up to you easily are showing that they don’t have to obey you. They are displaying dominant behavior and treating you like a subordinate.

6.   Refusing to move out of your way. Dogs that block your path or refuse to move out of your way when you tell them to get off something are showing dominant behavior.  Again, they are showing that they don’t respect you.

7.   Will not let anyone including you, the vet, or groomer handle him. Dogs that refuse to let anyone, including you, handle them are being dominant.  They are showing a lack of respect toward humans.

8.   Humping you or your guests. In addition to being bad manners, this is dominant behavior.  Dominant dogs will hump dogs and other animals that they regard as being below them in the pack.

9.   Ignoring commands he knows well. Dogs that ignore your commands, even though they know them well, are showing a willful disregard for your authority.  Your dog is showing you that he is dominant and he doesn’t have to obey you.

10.  Peeing or pooping on your bed. A dog that pees or poops on your bed is showing you exactly what he thinks of your authority, and it’s not much.  This is dominant behavior.

If your dog is showing signs of dominance it’s time to get help from a dog trainer or behavior specialist.  Dominant dogs are often intent on preserving their position so if you do anything that they find challenging to their authority, they may bite you or someone in your family.  Get help from a well-qualified professional.

OK everybody quit hiding behind your computer, I see you.  How about letting me know you are out there by telling us if your dog has shown any signs of dominance and what you did to correct the problem.  Come on let me hear from you!

Until next time……

About the Author: Wayne Booth is owner of in Nashville, TN.  Wayne has been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990 and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network, www.K9-University.com

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