How Dogs Display Dominance Towards Humans? Explained

In the world of canines, dominance is a crucial aspect of their social structure. For thousands of years, dogs have coexisted with humans, forming deep bonds and intricate communication patterns. 

Understanding how dogs demonstrate dominance towards humans is essential for responsible pet ownership, as it helps maintain a healthy and harmonious relationship with our furry companions. 

In this article, we will delve into the various ways dogs show dominance towards humans and provide valuable insights to optimize this dynamic.

Body Language and Posture

Dogs are incredibly skilled at using body language to convey their emotions and intentions. 

Dominant dogs may demonstrate their assertiveness through confident postures, such as standing tall with a straight back, head held high, and ears erect. 

They may also attempt to appear physically larger by raising their hackles and puffing out their chests.

Additionally, dominant dogs may make direct eye contact with humans as a way to assert their authority. However, it is crucial to understand that prolonged staring can be perceived as a challenge and may provoke negative responses.

Mounting Behavior

One of the most misunderstood signs of dominance is mounting behavior. While many assume this behavior is exclusively sexual, it can also be a display of dominance in some situations. 

A dominant dog might mount a human to assert authority, especially if they sense submission or vulnerability from the human.

It’s important to address this behavior promptly and seek professional training guidance to manage it effectively. Neutering or spaying can help reduce mounting behaviors, but training is paramount to address the root cause.

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Guarding Resources

Resource guarding is a classic sign of dominance in dogs. Whether it’s food, toys, or even a favorite spot on the couch, a dominant dog may growl, snap, or exhibit aggressive behavior when someone approaches their prized possession.

To manage resource guarding, positive reinforcement training can be employed to teach dogs that humans approaching their resources are not a threat. 

Gradually rewarding the dog for remaining calm during such encounters can significantly reduce this behavior.

Ignoring Commands

A dominant dog may occasionally ignore commands given by their human companions. 

This can be an attempt to challenge the human’s authority and establish their own dominance in the relationship. For instance, a dog may refuse to come when called or sit on command.

Consistent and positive reinforcement-based training can help reinforce the human’s position as the leader and encourage the dog to obey commands more willingly.

Leash Pulling

Leash pulling is another way dogs may attempt to assert dominance during walks. When a dog pulls on the leash, it’s often a sign that they want to take charge of the direction and pace of the walk.

Proper leash training, where the dog learns to walk beside the human without pulling, is vital to prevent this behavior. Using reward-based training methods and being patient during the training process can lead to positive results.

Demanding Attention

Dominant dogs might demand attention from humans whenever they please. They may nudge, paw, or bark persistently to get their human’s focus.

To discourage this behavior, it’s essential to establish clear boundaries and ensure that attention and affection are given when the dog is calm and well-behaved.

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Jumping Up

Jumping up on humans is often a sign of excitement, but it can also be a display of dominance. Dogs might jump up to place themselves at eye level with humans, asserting their position.

Training dogs to greet people calmly with all four paws on the ground helps reinforce the human’s status as the leader and prevents this dominant behavior.


Understanding how dogs show dominance towards humans is crucial for a balanced and healthy relationship between humans and their canine companions. 

By recognizing dominant behaviors and addressing them with positive reinforcement training techniques, we can foster a harmonious bond with our dogs based on mutual respect and understanding.

Remember that dominance in dogs should never be met with aggressive or harsh training methods, but rather with patience, consistency, and kindness. 

With this knowledge, we can ensure a fulfilling and joyful life for both humans and their loyal four-legged friends.