The Dominance Myth

"Dominance" can be a buzz word among dog owners, and it can make you worry about making sure you are seen as the "top dog" in your household. The reality is that "dominance behaviours" are a bit of a myth.


Vets often encounter people who love their dogs wholeheartedly, but are unnecessarily caught up in what they ‘should’ do when relating to their dog.  The simple truth is that no dog suddenly became unruly and difficult just because they slept on the bed with you.

Dogs that develop behavioural problems such as biting, aggression, destructive behaviour and excessive barking often have a grounding in anxiety or fear, not in dominance.

In fact, the ‘D’ word has become such a dirty word in behaviour circles that it has become synonymous with old-fashioned, outdated trainers who rely on punishing training methods that have ultimately proved to be harmful for many dogs. The late Sophia Yin has a great discussion on her website here about why the ‘D’ word is so problematic.

A very interesting YouTube video discussing the Dominance Myth is available on Zak George’s excellent training channel, where you can also find some fantastic information to help you train your dog using positive, reward-based methods that will ensure you have a happy and healthy relationship with your furry friend.