The dog world typically has a ranking system, or “pecking order”, established among dogs, similarly to humans. But for us, it is not always obvious which dogs are dominant and which are submissive.
If you’re curious about how your dog ranks among the alpha dog scale, Modern Dog Magazine provides some specific clues that will indicate whether your dog is dominant or submissive.
Is Your Dog Dominant or Submissive?
50 shades of grey
When it comes to dominance and submission in the dog world, there really are 50 shades of grey—at the very least. Owners often say things like, “She’s an alpha!” or “He’s really submissive with other dogs.” But, just like people, dogs are not always in charge or always ready to yield to others. For example, in a three-dog home, Golden Retriever Dusty is clearly dominant over English Bulldog Butch, but he shows deferential behavior in most interactions with German Shepherd Mandy. That rank order—understanding who’s got the rights to resources, the right of way, and more—is how peace is kept.
Rank, however, is fluid, and depends on various factors. A new dog coming into a home could upset the existing order. Furthermore, a high-ranking dog does not necessarily always eat first or grab a valued resource such as a toy first; it depends on what is important to that dog.
Although who’s in charge isn’t always clear-cut, there is specific body language that can indicate dominance or submission. Individual facets should be assessed as part of an entire display and read in the context of the situation.
In order to read specifics about dominant and submissive body-language, check out the full article at Is Your Dog Dominant or Submissive?
Thanks Kathy for the Golden Retriever photo!
Thanks txvoodoo for the featured photo!