On Dominance Theory based training - a great article
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Thread: On Dominance Theory based training - a great article

  1. #1
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultOn Dominance Theory based training - a great article

    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    hellosusieqz is offline Member
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    I don't usually speak my mind too much on this forum, but I feel like I can and should now, haha...so sorry if people disagree, but here it goes...

    This is a very interesting article, and I agree with it completely. From our own experience, I find that these dominant, I'll-show-you ways of training do NOT help in any way. If anything, they make it worse...

    Our Bentley went through a phase where we had trouble figuring out why he was acting out. He was jumping on us, biting us, barking at us...he was crazy and we didn't know why. We went to a well-known trainer in our area and he said Bentley was having dominance issues. While trying to train Bentley at one session, he jumped up and nipped the trainer in excitement. What did the trainer do? Tell him no? Yelp? Nope. He immediately grabbed our little pup, pushed him down on his side, and forced him to stay until he stopped struggling--the classic alpha roll. I was shocked and almost started crying. Bentley was clearly confused, as he had never experienced that before and had no idea what he did to illicit such a response. If anything, it made him more scared and pushed him to fight back even more.

    Obviously we never returned to that training facility again. Through our own research and advice from a better trainer, we discovered he was underexercised, and his "bad behavior" was the only way he could communicate with us. Sure enough, after day one of a new, exercise-filled schedule, we noticed an IMMEDIATE change in behavior.

    A 3-month old puppy with dominance issues?? Please. Give me a break.

    I believe there is a reason behind every behavior that people see as "dominant behavior." Whether it is a puppy trying to communicate the only way they can or an adult dog who has never learned an alternate way of doing something, there is always a reason behind a behavior. You can challenge the dog with alpha rolls and scruff shakes all day long, but are you really tackling the root of the problem??

    I loved this line the most:
    "It’s about time we gave up trying to be dogs in a dog pack and accepted that we are humans co-existing with another species – and that we’re most successful doing so when we co-exist peacefully."

    I may print that out and put it on my fridge. Thank you so much for sharing this article, I know a few people I could forward it to who would benefit from reading it.

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    Mike Richards is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBrownDog View Post

    A very worthwhile read.
    Very worthwhile, this will do the rounds with my friends as some do think you need to bully your dog into submission...
    Ozzy Born 19th March 2012



    Axel Born 19th Aug 2009



    Never moon a werewolf....

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    Sophiesmama is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks for posting Sharon! I hope lots of people read this.
    ~Pam



    Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo


    8.5 mo.

    Sophie 15 months, with Skye

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    I'm glad you like it! It bothers me SO MUCH that people cling to a behavioral theory that is based on such puny science. The theory, as applied to wolves is generally discounted by current behaviorists - it should never have been applied to dogs in the first place but there is no reason at all to apply it currently knowing what we now know about it's scientific incorrectness.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    Diesel_Dawg is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you so much for posting this, Sharon! It was a great read!

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    There's a local "trainer" in my area who physically bullies the dogs that come through his door. Some of those dogs end up at the obedience club where I train (we use motivational training). The owners are shocked to find out that with motivational training you can achieve amazing results and the dogs LOVE coming to class.

    I think it's a decent article, but I don't agree with the idea that our dogs can't possibly see us as leaders because we're human. Even with motivational training, the dog is learning to see you as the one to follow. The dog learns to pay attention to you and that great things will happen when it does. A verbal correction, or a check on the leash can go a long way to dissuade undesirable behaviour. I still see people flipping their dogs over and shaking them when they've misbehaved. I'm not sure what's going through the dog's head during those moments but I'm fairly certain it's not what the owner was hoping for.

    I also think the comments made by people who have read the article are also worth reading and some of them make very good points.
    Last edited by Brette; 09-16-2012 at 06:25 PM.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    I don't really think her point is about not being seen as leaders because we are a different species. More that they don't see us as 2 legged naked dogs with whom they can compete. If they did perceive us as dogs/peers, they must think we are moronic, barely literate ones given how poorly people in general understand the very subtle ways dogs communicate.

    Dogs are,in comparison, little canine Einsteins because they are brilliant in their understanding of human body language.


    My point in posting the article was to try to get some people to move off the whole dominance thing. In my opinion, it creates a major impediment in developing an understanding of our dogs.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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