Dominance Position Statement

Additional Resource

AVSAB is concerned with the recent re-emergence of dominance theory and forcing dogs and other animals into submission as a means of preventing and correcting behavior problems. For decades, some traditional animal training has relied on dominance theory and has assumed that animals misbehave primarily because they are striving for higher rank. This idea often leads trainers to believe that force or coercion must be used to modify these undesirable behaviors. In the last several decades, our understanding of dominance theory and of the behavior of domesticated animals and their wild counterparts has grown considerably, leading to updated views. To understand how and whether to apply dominance theory to behavior in animals, it’s imperative that one first has a basic understanding of the principles.

Position statement on the use of dominance theory in. American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2022, from


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Topic(s): Behavior, Breeder Resource, Dog to People - Skill Building, Intervention, Problem Abnormal Behavior, Social Interactions