Is there somewhere I can read about this dominance theory? Because what I hear about it on this forum is totally contradictory to what I know.
It is actually quite hard to find a resource about dominance theory applied to dog training that isn't written by opponents! And that is because there is broad consensus by modern day trainers that it is not a good theory to base training strategies on. Cesar Milan is the main proponent of the theory and the main reason why the debate still rages on.
This is one definition I found:
"Definition of Dominance
Dominance is defined as a relationship be-
tween individual animals that is established by
force/aggression and submission, to determine
who has priority access to multiple resources
such as food, preferred resting spots, and mates
(Bernstein 1981; Drews 1993). A dominance-
submissive relationship does not exist until one
individual consistently submits or defers. In
such relationships, priority access exists primar-
ily when the more dominant individual is pres-
ent to guard the resource."
I got it from here: http://avsabonline.org/uploads/posit..._statement.pdf
I also have never had set routines either.
No set times for food, being inside or outside no playtimes with them as I love watching them through the window running themselves ragged chasing each other, birds whatever.
They know that inside means quiet times. If they want to go outside they come over to me. I ask the toilet word and they run to the door..those that want to go out, those that don't stay in or they have heard a cow and want to go down the back to bark at it.
They don't have bones any set days.
Same as when they were being weaned I fed them many different foods so they would not become precious and picky, they do have their favourites and one absolutely HATES raw chicken now so if the other 3 are having carcases, she gets a bone.
My feeling is that by mixing things around they then also are fine with change and just accept it whenever it has to happen. (eg I go to town for the day and they are outside..we go away on holiday, they are in the dog yard and checked and fed by various different people, they are inside the bulk of the day in winter/summer or outside, whatever way I wish to do it and I have no plan, just do it.)
This though is just my opinion on our own situation and environment that works for us and suits us perfectly.
Last edited by Di_dee1; 12-11-2012 at 10:15 PM.
Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.
All trainers have to use force occasionally, but usually only towards a dog that displays uncontrolled aggression. I've had to subdue crazed dogs before because it's the only safe way of dealing with them.
My observation of dogs is that the most dignified and confident one is usually top of the pecking order. I used to call this dominance but I may not any more considering the negativity that surrounds the word.
To me that's only politeness I guess the difference to me, is that I don't stop their behaviour (= making requests) because I don't see it as a push to worldrule. I just set the rules as to 'how' the requests are made and I actually encourage it by giving in sometimes. I encourage it because I enjoy the fact that my dogs are living, breating beings with emotions and personalities. And I love the fact that we find a way to communicate with each other despite being different species.
"In animal behavior, dominance is defined as a relationship between individuals that is established through force, aggression and submission in order to establish priority access to all desired resources (food, the opposite sex, preferred resting spots, etc). A relationship is not established until one animal consistently defers to another".
Ok well my dog does defer to me on all of these things consistently. I can eat tastier food than what he has access to in front of him and expect no issues. I can take his food off him again with no issues. If I want a particular resting spot on the couch or the bed, one word is all it takes to get him to move. And if I say, leave a bitch in heat alone, he will.
He won't do it for anyone else, not even Klaus Malion lol but by this definition at least, I have complete dominance over my dog. But I think even with complete dominance, your dog can still feel that you are interested in what they have to say and contribute. They're still part of the family/pack whatever, they're just submissive to your will.
On many sites, they will talk about how there is no need to dominate a dog. For example, The Dominance Controversy | Philosophy | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS on this one, they have several videos where they show behaviour that others would consider dominance and tell you that it's not. They don't say what else it is. There's one with a dalmatian puppy who climbed all over firemen and stole their food. They say, the dog only wants pats, and he jumps up because that's where he has the most success obtaining pats. Well I'm not denying that the dog wants pats. But I will say is that if someone new comes over to my house and I'm not looking, my dog may try to jump on them (especially if they talk in a silly voice to him which sooo many people do). They may have been patting him, he's a big dog, if he sits, it's not like you have to lean over to pat him. And yet, he will still try to jump on these people. Once he gets away with that, he will start moving them. He will jump up on them and end up making them get off the couch. Then he will take their food and other belongings (for examples shoes etc). Now my dog is a Dobermann cross Rottweiler so maybe breed makes a difference but all I know is that he is not just trying to get pats. He wants to know where he stands with everyone in his house. If I'm there, I can 'claim' the guest and it's all fine. But if I'm not there, he wants to know whether he is the new 'top dog' or the newcomer is - it would seem that in his mind, he needs to know who is fulfilling the role of alpha and looking after the pack and our assets etc. So he will run some tests. Once he has assumed their spot on the couch, then, he will start to challenge them if they try to move him. Of course if they just own their space in the first place there's no issue. He doesn't challenge people who are naturally calm, decisive about what they want and confident in themselves because he prefers to be looked after; it's an easier job and it's what he's used to. But if they're not, if they seem weak and confused, he will 'look after them' and keep them in line in my absence. I guess the first part of that in his mind is making sure that they too understand he is going to be boss so there is some stability.
In another video, they say that again they don't need to dominate their dog to make it heel, they just teach the dog that by heeling, they will get their toy. How is that not dominance? You have all the resources, you make sure the dog knows it and you tell it that if it works for you, it will be paid. Otherwise nothing. And it's not like the dog can choose the nothing option. They know that you have all the food and all the toys. There is nothing to hunt in your backyard and they can't escape. You are the only way they can leave the house. What cards do they hold? You don't need to physically dominate your dog (in fact I would argue that in many cases that would appear to be a sign of weakness and so be counter-intuitive) to achieve dominance. Wolves don't become dominant through fighting, you can spot a dominant wolf as a 6 week old puppy. This video Living with Wolves - YouTube is a great example of that.
I think dominance is real and an essential part of a healthy relationship with your dog. They are not wolves, they are somewhere between a wolf and a human and yet humans understand the need for order just as well as dogs do. Humans think they can do whatever they want, but they can't and yet, for the most part, we don't want engage in prohibited behaviours anyway because we value society and the benefits it offers. So do dogs. I think we just need to change our attitudes around dominance. It is not suppressing the dog, it's teaching the dog an effective way to express its wants and needs and giving it access to things it wants to do (for example we can't do protection work without obedience). Unless you're in an open field with a plate of fresh meat on the ground nearby and toys all over the place and you pat the dog whether it does what you ask or not, you are dominating your dog.
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