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Old 11-03-2010, 12:07 AM
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Default Pack order/Social hierarchy

in a different thread it was brought to my attention that dogs don't see humans as members of a pack. in that thread it was established that there's some sort of hierarchy among dogs, but what i am interested in is the human/dog relationship.

Is this widely accepted information? i only post this to clarify, since everything i've read on training talks about this owner as alpha pack member approach. i'm reluctant to change the routines i've based on this without discussing it more. (examples are: always eating first, humans through doors first, dogs on floor/people on furniture)
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:23 AM
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Widely accepted as outdated and false.

It's late and I'm getting tired, so I only skimmed these, but they look like pretty good information.

Dominance is not Leadership: Real Man?s Guide To Dog Training

http://www.veterinarybehaviorclinic....nanceFinal.pdf
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:38 AM
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Yeah the guy that came up with alpha/pack theory in wolves has explained that this is false. There's a video on youtube of him explaining how the alpha theory is wrong.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:50 AM
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The alpha theory being incorrect is widely accepted as false among certified, qualified dog trainers, however a lot of media unrelated to dog training still references it, and unfortunately a lot of people will read outdated or unsupported information on training that uses the alpha/pack theory and assume it is good information and that's a good approach to training.
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:12 AM
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excellent reading. so it doesnt matter who goes through the door first and i can let her up on the couch. sweet.

but what about "confrontational play" like tug of war and wrestling? does that fall under the dominance umbrella? what other examples of dominant human behaviour is irrelevant now? like spitting in the dog's food (never heard of that one till i read those articles)
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:23 AM
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Waiting at the door and waiting to be invited onto the couch are polite behaviors based on training/manners, NOT pack order! They are very good behaviors to teach your pup using rewards and praise (not intimidation or punishment), though.

Dogs do not have strict pack order. If they did, dog parks, dog daycare, and playdates would be deadly! Dogs have a language amongst themselves... they do have loose pack mentality, but most of their behaviors are based on what is rewarding to them. When dogs meet, they decide whether or not they like each other and understand each other, not who is alpha.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:30 AM
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Instead of focusing on behaviors that are "dominant" or "submissive" think about behaviors that you want and don't want and then make rules regarding that. If you want your dog on the couch go for it, if you don't, don't. If you only want him up when invited only let him on with an invitation. If you want to make sure you can get him off, teach an off command and reward heavily.

If you want to play tug, again, think about what you want and don't want to happen during the game. You don't want your hands to be treated like the tug toy, so don't allow him to miss and get your hand (hand hitting ends the game immediately). If there are any other rules you want to be involved, like he has to drop it when you ask, teach it.

It's not about deciding which behaviors will cause dominance, it's about which behaviors you simply don't want and which ones you do.


You should be sure to work to prevent common issues like guarding food, being uncomfortable with handling (especially nail trimming), and being fearful of people/dogs/kids/new places/sounds/etc. bysocializing the dog to potentially scary things and through pairing these "unpleasant" experiences with lots of treats. While yourdog eatswalk up to his food bowl, pet him with a few strokes, and drop a hunk of something better, like meat from your dinner, into his bowl.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:54 AM
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There is absolutely dominance and heirarchy between dogs. The only thing that is debated is basing an entire training regime on "dominance".
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:43 AM
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I agree with most of the replies. I do not believe that there is a dominance hierarchy between domestic dogs. I do not attribute antagonistic behavior to a social rank system or pecking order. In addition, scavanging aniamls or animals that have their food given to them, and don't need to hunt large game to survive... and aniamls that breed "promicuously," as dogs do, (breeding several dogs if given the chance), don't have a hierarchy. Dogs that live as feral dogs are seen scavanging near each other and random dogs will join the group and leave frequently and for short periods of time. There is no social heirarchy established. This is not the case with a natural wolf pack, which btw, is anyway, very fluid. It's merely a breeding pair and it's offspring, primarily.

Here's an excellent teaching kind of article with some videos.

The Dominance Controversy - Philosophy - Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS



This is quite a lot to read, but I highly recommend it. It's very imformative:

http://www.pawsoflife.org/pdf/Librar...haw%202009.pdf
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Last edited by Doberluv; 11-03-2010 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by release the hounds View Post
There is absolutely dominance and heirarchy between dogs. The only thing that is debated is basing an entire training regime on "dominance".
We're discussing dominance heirarchy between dogs and humans. Whether or not domestic dogs have a pack/social heirachy among themselves is an entirely different argument irrelevant to training.
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