I have a 4 year old black lab named Kimba and am looking for everyone's opinion on a dominance issue.
I have read many books on dog behavior and training and found differing opinions on the rules of allowing dogs on furniture. I have issues with Kimba aggressively dominating other dogs at daycare by humping them and cannot seem to find a solution to the problem. I am wondering if Kimba sleeping on the bed or laying on the couch may be one of the causes of his behavior.
Thank you so much for all your input!!!
I'm not an expert on dominance issues, but I would think that allowing him on the furniture would cause more of an issue with you, not other dogs.
Was he properly socialized when he was a pup? That might have more of an effect on his humping behaviors than allowing him on the furniture.
IMO, you have 2 separate issues here -- the furniture and the humping.
Re: the dog jumping up on the furniture → This is something that I don't remember seeing clearly explained in any of the 25+ dog behavior books I've bought and read.
But MY observation of this behavior thanks to 2 Labs with much different behaviors, is that dogs, by instinct, native tendencies, tend to replace, reoccupy, the alpha dog's position whenever it's vacated.
When THE top dog leaves, an underling, a lieutenant, takes its place until the senior officer returns.
I see this clearly in my Puff's behavior.
When I leave her in the car to go into a store, Puff occupies my driver's seat -- as if that is the seat of power.
ALWAYS, when she sees me returning to the car, she vacates my driver's seat and either goes back to the front passenger seat or hops in back.
My Bess was a much more dominant dog and when I returned to the car, I always had to physically shove her out of my seat in order to drive away.
Bess, in my absence, ALWAYS occupied the couch and any place I sat UNLESS there was a physical barrier preventing it (e.g., rows of chairs placed on couches as physical barriers).
That's rarely an issue with Puff.
My hypothesis is that Beta-position dogs almost universally occupy the places that alpha dogs/peeps occupy.
SO -- If YOU sit on the furniture, your dog will, by instinct, occupy that same spot in your absence.
More dominant dogs will contest with you your right to reclaim, to reoccupy that seat.
I think that's also a dominance issue.
Bess never thought of herself as a dog so, for that reason, I think humping never came up.
Puff is NOT an Alpha contender and has been humped by female dogs that are much more dominant.
So -- I think the furniture issue and the humping issue are only VERY distantly related.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
Not related. The humping at daycare may be due to his innate personality, or lack of socialisation - but the fact remains he doesn't know how to play properly. I would pull him from daycare if they are unable to stop him (it's not much fun for the other dogs there, and it's just reinforcing the behaviour). Is he neutered?
Furniture - as long as he waits for an invitation to get up, and gets off when you ask him to, then there is no issue.
Is Kimba neutered?
I don't really see them as connected. Humping can be a dominance thing or it could be a nervousness thing. My non-alpha dog tends to hump a lot when surrounded by a lot of other dogs, but it seems to be excitement and nervousness over a new situation, rather than trying to show other dogs who is boss.
Blackie and Ranger ...............................Reggie: 1996-2010 "Fly Reggie Fly"
In contrast with Bob's opinion, my Baloo will do the same thing (occupy a vacated seat) but I'm pretty sure it has more to do with the fact that my butt was keeping that place nice and warm, and not at all to do with dominance.
Most of the time I don't think humping is related to dominance, regardless of what people will tell you. I think many dogs find it gratifying, so they do it to any dog who will let them. I agree with the above recommendation.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue