Who's top dog? New research sorts dominant and submissive canine poses

Creagh, Sunanda, and Lloyd, Janice (2015) Who's top dog? New research sorts dominant and submissive canine poses. The Conversation, 27 August 2015.

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Abstract

[Extract] In the first quantitative study on status behaviour in a stable group of domestic dogs, Dutch researchers have identified and categorised dog behaviours most consistently associated with dominance and submission.

The new study, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, adds some quantitative data to a debate usually infused with opinion.

The researchers found that the concept of dominance does apply to domestic dogs and that certain behaviours, regardless of context, are good indicators of the dog's status.

"The best indicator for status assessment in a pair of individuals, as well as for the position in the group (rank order), is submission, not aggression," said lead researcher, Joanne van der Borg, a behavioural biologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

"The best formal submission signal is body tail wag, often shown in combination with mouth lick. Lowering of posture is the best status indicator for most relationships. The tail position is the most informative body part of dogs for the assessment of status in relationships."

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Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2015 05:20
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