Dog training

Is Submissive Behaviour in Dogs Bad?

Understanding the behaviour of dogs is important for pet owners, as it helps foster a healthy and happy relationship between them and their furry companions. Submissive behaviour is one of the key aspects often observed in canine interactions. But, is submissive behaviour in dogs bad? Let’s explore this question to gain a clearer understanding.

Understanding Submissive Behaviour in Dogs

Submissive behaviour in dogs is a form of communication. It’s a dog’s way of showing respect, deference, or fear in response to another dog or a human. Common signs of submission include crouching low, avoiding direct eye contact, tucking the tail, licking, and sometimes even urinating. It helps to recognise that such behaviour is a natural part of canine communication, and not inherently negative.

When Submission Indicates a Healthy Dynamic

In many cases, submissive behaviour can indicate a healthy social hierarchy. Dogs are pack animals, and understanding their place in a social structure is important for their psychological well-being. When a dog shows submission to a calm and assertive leader – be it another dog or a human – it can denote respect and an understanding of their position in the family hierarchy. This dynamic is essential for maintaining harmony in multi-pet households or when introducing a new dog into an existing pack.

Concerns with Excessive Submissiveness

However, issues arise when submission turns into fear or anxiety. Excessively submissive behaviour, often stemming from past abuse, neglect, or lack of socialisation, can be a sign of psychological distress. Overly submissive dogs may exhibit chronic fear, and anxiety, and may lack the confidence to interact normally with other dogs or humans. This could lead to problematic behaviours like excessive urination, fear-biting, or chronic stress, which are detrimental to a dog’s overall well-being.

The Role of Positive Reinforcement

Protection Dog owners need to use positive reinforcement to build confidence in submissive dogs. Encouraging confidence through gentle training, socialisation, and positive interactions can help alleviate excessive submissive behaviours. Avoid punitive measures, as they can exacerbate fear and anxiety. Understanding and patience are key in helping a submissive dog become more secure and comfortable in its environment.

Know the Signs of Submission in Your Dog

Submissive behaviour in dogs is not inherently bad; it’s a natural part of their communication. Problems arise when this behaviour is rooted in fear and anxiety. As responsible pet owners, recognising the difference between healthy submission and fear-driven behaviours is crucial. Through positive reinforcement and understanding, we can ensure that our canine companions lead happy, balanced, and stress-free lives.

If you have any questions about submission in your dog, or would like help with training them, then please get in touch with our team at TOTALK9 today.