In the dog world the words submissive and dominant are commonly used to describe dogs. The true use of the words should be used to describe desired rank position, some push while others do not. Although as we humans tend to do we jump on the band wagon and spout words where we think they belong but in actuality they do not. Submissive and dominant are two of those words that are waaaaaayyyyyyyyyy over used.
Dogs are funny, they are simple yet complicated. Of course there are dogs who are even simpler or more complicated much like us. There is a lot that goes into a personality of a dog, it is not a simple black or white. Temperament and personality are different; although it is often cloudy they are in fact different. I am speaking about personality now and as far as personality goes there are as many different ones in dogs as there are in humans.
With our newest edition we tend to pick out traits that our previous dogs have shown. Even having standard poodles for almost 30 years, no two have been alike. Although there have been similarities; retrieving is a big one but drive is where it differs. Watching Elsa chase a butterfly around the backyard yesterday made me think that we should have named her Bubbles. She has a very bubbly type personality, definitely a cup half full type of gal. But there is just as much drive and determination in her. There are times when her drive takes over and she has nothing except work on her mind.
Describing our dogs can take a while if we do not just bunch them into the submissive/dominant categories. These terms are also better left with the true definition of temperament. Environmental stimulation plays a huge role on personality, it can be bent and molded. Life is an evolution of ones self; this is includes our dogs. Day to day can make or break a dog. I have often said that Luke may have been completely ruined in the hands of a harsh trainer. He has been from day one a very pushy guy; he was also very reactive and a handful to mold. Now at 11.5 years old he is very confident, not pushy, a lover, mushy to the tenth degree, a push over and is seldom prone to react suddenly.
Tilley was like having two dogs in one. One was the meek and mild, very mannerly girl who lived in the house. Pull out a ball or frisbee and she turned into a tough as nails, obsessively driven retriever. I could yell at her in this mode and she would not be fazed. But if I even raised my voice while she was in the meek mode she would melt. She was devoted beyond belief and truly only cared about her family. She gave of herself to some but typically saved herself for us. She was an amazing dog.
Clyde, the boy who came before Luke was what I would call a much more simple dog. He had no huge agendas; he too was a lover like Luke but was not nearly as demonstrative as Luke is. He was probably the poodle who lacked the most smarts in all of our poodles but was a joy to live with. He was easy going and like most of my poodles, a constant shadow. I miss him dearly.
No two are ever alike; of course there are traits that run in breeds which is why we like particular breeds or mixes of said breeds. But if you look deeper, they are all their own dog.