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Can You Teach Dogs To Be More Submissive

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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.

Please note: In this video, Aly is just playing with Gabe.

Can we teach dogs to be submissive?

We cannot teach dogs to be more submissive.

So just like I suggested that dominance is very rare and is the source of most aggression, submission is the same thing. It is very rare, and it’s entirely inappropriate for owners to require that their dogs be more submissive. What they are really doing in most of those cases is taking a dog that is fear aggressive and simply punishing it making it more fearful and quicker to react.


Can submissive behavior be taught?

Dominance and submission are not personally traits that we can make stronger or weaker. They both change on the availability of resources,  other dogs around and the group structure in their home. Plus, we are not dogs and therefore should not be “acting” like dogs. Human-dog interactions are very different from dog-dog interactions, just as we treat people differently than we do our pets.

In the wild, submission is never forced. It something wolves just do. They do it as begging for a favor or just as an “okay, you are the boss.” It is more a status of respect among the pack members, not a dictator.