Dogs young and old can exhibit signs of classic dominance. Some puppies begin displaying dominant behavioral patterns with their owners when they're a mere 6 months old. If your little one seems to think that he's in charge of you rather than vice versa, dominance may be an upcoming issue.
Defiance of Commands and Barking
A dominant puppy can, out of nowhere, stop responding to learned basic commands, even if they are as simple as "Come," "Sit" or "Stay." If you feel like your puppy has no interest in doing whatever it is that you are asking of him, dominant behavior may be to blame. Dominant dogs of all ages also often bark excessively, according to DogChannel.com.
Dominance may also cause puppies to behave in abnormally self-protective manners while around their owners, and sometimes even with other furry members of the household. If your pup stares intensely and growls at you every time you're near him while he eats or plays with his favorite toys, he is showing clear dominance signals. He feels that he is the leader here, rather than you.
Fixed staring in general signifies dominant patterns in both puppies and adult doggies. If your dog, eyes fully open, stares at you for a lengthy period of time, he feels that he has higher status than you. If he always looks away from you when you glance at him, however, he feels the opposite of dominant, which is subordinate.
If your little pooch has a penchant for pushing into you and taking up your personal space, consider dominance as a possibility. In doggie land, the individual in control manages all of the territory, according to the Free Spirit Siberian Rescue website. When dogs are around others they respect, they avoid crowding them and instead allow them to have plenty of space. If your puppy has a habit of standing in your way any time you try to walk, the meaning is similar. A dog that climbs over humans and other pets also is usually showing dominance.
Signs of physical aggression and fierceness denote possible dominance in puppies and adult dogs, DogChannel.com reports. These signs include growling, the display of teeth and biting. Although these signs can indicate dominance, they also can indicate fear. If your pup behaves in a physically aggressive manner, it is vital to not allow him to be close to children, especially without supervision. Since directly handling aggressive dogs can be dangerous, it is important to allow a professional doggie behavioral expert to manage the issue instead of trying to do it by yourself. Speak to a veterinarian in order to receive qualified and reputable recommendations. You -- and your little doggie -- need the help.
Dominance in Litters
Although puppies at least 6 months old can be dominant with their owners, younger ones can exhibit similar behaviors amongst their littermates, as well. Dominant puppies tend to be more aggressive regarding acquiring food. They also are often physically overbearing with others in their litter, whether it comes to jumping over them or chasing and biting. Dominant puppies also frequently lean over their siblings. When it comes to dominance in puppy litters, do not make assumptions regarding size. In some cases, the smallest members of the litters have the alpha personalities. If a puppy is subordinate, on the other hand, you may observe a lot of head-hanging and moving off to the side.
- Nevada Humane Society: Stages of Puppy Development
- ASPCA: Is Your Dog Dominant?
- Maryland SPCA: Dealing With Dominance in Dogs
- Berkeley East Bay Humane Society: Dominance and Leadership in Dogs
- Humane Society of Greater Miami: Dog Issues
- ASPCA: Weaning
- SPCA International: Selecting the Right Dog for Your Family
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images