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Dominance displays

Extract from Aunty Kaye’s Doggy Dictionary of Training and Behaviour

Dominance displays include:

  • placing the chin on shoulders of another dog
  • growling or snarling when the other dog whines or attempts to move
  • placing the front paws on the other dog’s back
  • circling and sniffing the other dog
  • holding the ears erect
  • holding the tail erect
  • looking directly at the other dog
  • deliberately marking territory with urine

These are commonly agreed to by many behaviour experts. While many people have observed these behaviours, they do not always agree on how to interpret them.


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