What is dominant behavior in a dog?

Written by catherine hiles
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What is dominant behavior in a dog?
Disobedience can signify a dominant dog. (dog on beach image by john barber from Fotolia.com)

A dominant dog usually performs a variety of behaviours to show others that it is the alpha, or the highest ranking. This behaviour can become a problem if allowed. Professional trainers and behaviourists can help untrain dominant behaviours.


A dominant dog might mark its owner's personal belongings. In nature, dogs urinate on things to mark them as their own, and a dog urinating on its owners things might be trying to establish dominance.


A dominant dog will mouth its owner while playing. Dominant dogs do not necessarily bite, but will take their owners' hands or clothes in their mouths during play time.


When a dog mounts another dog or person, it is showing dominance. Dominance mounting is a behaviour displayed by both male and female dogs.


Jumping on people in greeting can be a dominant dog behaviour. A dominant dog will attempt to jump up and put its paws on a person's shoulders in order to establish dominance.


A dog who refuses to obey commands or rules could be showing dominance. Jumping on the couch without being invited or pushing past people to get through a door first are typical dominant behaviours.

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