Is your dog dominant or submissive?

September 9th, 2015

Dogs navigate the animal kingdom via a chain of hierarchy, so how can your tell if your dog is dominant or submissive?

Understanding your dog’s temperament can help you work with your dog and develop a great relationship. Here are some things to look for, that you can notice especially when you’re out socializing with your dog:

Dominant behavior

  • Stealing or guarding toys and food
  • Mounting other dogs
  • Nudging you to be petted
  • Getting up on tall things and looking down at everything
  • Pushing their way ahead of you or other dogs
  • Ignores well-known commands
  • Always winning when the dogs play tug-of-war
  • Winning staring contests

Submissive dogs

  • Submissive urination when greeting other dogs
  • Turning away when other dogs stare
  • Licking other dogs mouths
  • Letting another dog take their toy or treat
  • Going belly up
  • Flattening their ears or tucking their tail

Dogs on the submissive end are quick to accept that you are the pack leader and be eager to cooperate and please. Naturally dominant dogs may take a little more effort, but with consistent work, you can train them to know that you’re in charge, so you both can be happy and settled in your relationship.