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Dominance Is Not The Cause Of Unwanted Dog Behavior

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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 certifiedĀ applied animal behavior with over 30 years of experience in animal behavior teaching, research, consulting, and expert witness services.

What causes unwanted behaviors?

I wish every dog owner had a better understanding of anxiety was able to see and understand anxiety in their dog. The biggest issue that we see is anxiety. What they need to do, is they need to understand when their dog is anxious and how to deal with that first.


What causes unwanted behavior?

While in the past it was a popular belief that your dog was aggressive or refused to follow commands due to dominance issues. With current research, it is now found that most dogs don’t display dominance and that this unwanted behavior is a form of anxiety, fear or lack of understanding from the dog. These underlying issues must be dealt with first then the unwanted behavior can be changed. While the lack of understanding can be dealt with changing training tactics, anxiety and fear may need specialist interventions.

Why is understanding anxiety so important?

If you understand that your dog is reacting to another dog, person or even a child out of fear, you deal with the situation differently. Instead of just suppressing it and hoping that it might not resurface, you are dealing with an underlying issue. Your dog is afraid, your dog is unsure and needs reinforcement and help to get over all of his fears.