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Should I Worry About Dominance In My Dog

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Dr. James C. Ha, Ph.D., CAAB is a professor of applied animal behavior at the University of WA and a certified applied animal behavior with over 30 years of experience in animal behavior teaching, research, consulting, and expert witness services.

Should I worry about “dominance” in my dog?

What a lot of this genetic information tells that is that your standard everyday more common breeds of dogs like Labradors and Irish setters and pit bulls and none of those breeds are exhibiting dominance. They virtually can’t exhibit it. They don’t have the behavior in their repertoire and don’t exhibit dominance behaviors. Understanding the need to exert dominance, and social structure over limited resources is only found in a few breeds, but with many breeds of dogs, that behavior has been bred out completely.


Should “dominance” be a concern?

The field of genetics and behavior is very new. There is limited research into what genes control what behavior trait. There is some evidence that aggression is linked to genetic traits. The difference between aggressive and nonaggressive dogs could be due to a gene controlling the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, reuptake of the neurotransmitter, the enzymes that inactivate the neurotransmitter, or genes that control the expression of any of the above genes.