A dog that is either showing dominance or craving dominance does not do so instantly. It is something that happens over a long period of time. Most of the dogs that develop a dominant nature are what is considered the alpha dog. This means that in a pack situation, they want to run the show. Here is what to look for if you think your dog is showing dominant behavior.
-Pushing a toy and pawing you
-Nudging to get petted
-Sitting on high surfaces and looking down on surroundings
-Guarding a human from approaching people. (The dog is not protecting you, he is claiming you and essentially feels he "owns" you.
-High pitched noises as if they are protesting what they don't want to do
-Barking or whining at their humans (this is not "talking" unless they are commanded to do so)
-Persistence to be on furniture when they are asked to stay off of it. ("This is mine" behavior)
-Insisting on going in and out of doors before their human
-Insisting on getting through the doorway first
-Walking in front of humans when they are on a leash.
-Refusing to walk on a leash
-Nipping or biting people's heals
-Ignoring commands they know
-Not liking humans touching their food
-Standing on your lap
-Demanding where they sleep
-Obvious annoyance if they are disturbed while sleeping
-Sleeping on top of their human
If your dog is showing any of these signs, it may be that they feel the need to be dominant. You must remember, dogs have not always been pets. They were wild and lived as a pack. To have a successful pack, you must first have a leader. If you do not lead the pack, they will try to assume the role of the leader, and this can lead to serious trouble down the road.
If you want your dog to be a pet, you must show them that they do not run the house and that they do not own you. In return, you do not act as though you "own" them either. They are a friend, a companion, a loved member of your family, but they do not run the show. Behaviors that you may think are harmless can lead to human aggression later in their life.
You must first determine the behaviors that you want to stop. Let's say that Fido wants to bite Spot every time he gets near you. This behavior must stop, and then you need to come up with a game plan on how to stop it. See my article on how to train a dominant dog.
Charlene Little is the mother of three wonderful boys and a volunteer foster mom for her local animal shelter. She enjoys working with various breeds of dogs and cats in learning social behavior, training, and how to be the successful member of a fur-ever family. She enjoys studying animals' behavior and finding solutions to behavior problems that the everyday person can handle. She covers topics from various forms of aggression and small problem behaviors. Every problem behavior has a solution, and the solution is never to give up on your pet! Love, kindness, and small adjustments could be just what you need.