I was watching "The Dog Whisperer" the other day and it showed him working with a dog that won't let anyone near his owner. If people came near, this little chihuahua would start snarling and biting. He showed how you have to help the dog to understand who is more dominant..you or him. In this case, Cesar held the dog in a submissive position for quite some time so the dog would know he was higher above him in the pecking order. It was amazing to see the dog then allow him to sit next to his owner. Cesar then went on to explain that both the owner, and her friend need to give off energy and body language that clearly tells the dog his place. When they walk the dog, they need to use their own body language to show the dog who is in control. The dog senses fear, or lack of control, and will react.
I couldn't help but think of how this applies to our dealings with other humans. I know that some people can just be rude, but I do think that sometimes we give off submissive energy or body language. I think sometimes we purposefully choose to be submissive so that we can show politeness to people. But we also need to learn how to show strength so that people won't take advantage of us.
I know human psychology and dog psychology is very different, but the issues of dominance and control seem to be similar. And although we tend to think of dogs as being the ones that notice body language, I think that we as humans, having a higher intelligence, pay more attention than we realize. We instinctively either assert our dominance, or retreat in to submission. What makes us different as humans is our ability to choose which we will do. We don't have to act merely from instinct, we can choose to be polite and submissive, or we may choose to not allow others to have dominance. I think there is a lot we can learn from dog psychology