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  #31  
Old 11-03-2010, 10:05 PM
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i'm sure it can in that instance
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  #32  
Old 11-03-2010, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
Yeah, but I've lived with him for a decade. He's a bully not an alpha.
I was going to say I think when one dog gets his or her way the majority of the time over the other dogs, it's because they're just pushy or a bully, not because they're trying to be "alpha".

The way things like controlling your dog's food or asking them to wait before going through a door or enforcing them not being allowed on a sofa is not teaching them you're "alpha", it's teaching them that there are rules to follow and YOU as the human get to enforce those rules and since you have the food/attention/praise/toys, the dog should follow the rules in order to get good stuff. Not because if he/she doesn't follow the rules you're going to grab them by the throat or hold them against the floor...
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  #33  
Old 11-03-2010, 10:33 PM
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I think part of the problem here is that - as so often happens in dog training - we're getting hung up on semantics.

To me, "dominance" doesn't really mean anything in the dog world anymore, simply because everyone has their own definition of what it means to be dominant. When a shelter says "This is a dominant dog," what does that mean? When a behaviorist says "Your dog is dominant over you," what does THAT mean? Whether dominance exists or not, it's not really useful to use these terms anymore, IMO.

Instead, I use the term "leadership." I think, where humans might be confused about the parameters of "dominance," most people can define "leadership" in more exact terms. Telling someone that they need to be their dog's leader is usually a lot more clear than telling them that they need to be dominant over the dog.

"Dominance" has connotations of alpha rolls, "putting a dog in his place," ideas about who should get to be on the furniture, giving one dog a treat before another just to prove a point, etc. It tends to be very punishment-oriented. I'm not saying that's how behaviorists define dominance, I'm saying that's the way our training clients - the people that matter, in this case - would probably define it.

But "leadership" has connotations of being consistent with rules, controlling access to resources, being fair with discipline, having good communication, being responsible for those in our care, etc. These ideas are much more useful when dealing with dogs and discussing training.

So I personally don't even talk about dominance with clients, I simply talk about good leadership. JMO.
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  #34  
Old 11-03-2010, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post
To me, "dominance" doesn't really mean anything in the dog world anymore, simply because everyone has their own definition of what it means to be dominant.
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  #35  
Old 11-04-2010, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by release the hounds View Post
But one person will go to give them food every day, and as long as the dog is aggressing, none is given, but on that day when they decide that the food is more important than whatever is motivating them to be that aggressive, and they allow that one person to come in and give them the food and they learn that this person controls their food, the bond is obvious, and it is plainly visible to me that this simple act has a profound effect on the dog's psyche. This effect seems to flow over all aspects of the relationship and further training.
Am I to understand that food is completely withheld from the aggressing dog until it no longer aggresses? A lot of the time, perhaps even most of the time, a dog shows aggression because it is scared, and it wants the Scary Thing, whatever that may be, to go away. By withholding the food, you are simply making the dog hungry enough that its motivation to eat is greater than its fear of the person attempting to feed him. He then receives food from the person, gets good feelings while eating (the brain releases feel-good chemicals to reward us for eating, and the same is true for dogs), and those good feelings are associated with the person who brought the food. The person then becomes a Good Thing. No "dominance" about it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post

I think part of the problem here is that - as so often happens in dog training - we're getting hung up on semantics.

To me, "dominance" doesn't really mean anything in the dog world anymore, simply because everyone has their own definition of what it means to be dominant. When a shelter says "This is a dominant dog," what does that mean? When a behaviorist says "Your dog is dominant over you," what does THAT mean? Whether dominance exists or not, it's not really useful to use these terms anymore, IMO.

Instead, I use the term "leadership." I think, where humans might be confused about the parameters of "dominance," most people can define "leadership" in more exact terms. Telling someone that they need to be their dog's leader is usually a lot more clear than telling them that they need to be dominant over the dog.

"Dominance" has connotations of alpha rolls, "putting a dog in his place," ideas about who should get to be on the furniture, giving one dog a treat before another just to prove a point, etc. It tends to be very punishment-oriented. I'm not saying that's how behaviorists define dominance, I'm saying that's the way our training clients - the people that matter, in this case - would probably define it.

But "leadership" has connotations of being consistent with rules, controlling access to resources, being fair with discipline, having good communication, being responsible for those in our care, etc. These ideas are much more useful when dealing with dogs and discussing training.

So I personally don't even talk about dominance with clients, I simply talk about good leadership. JMO.

I completely agree with this entire post! I never know what people mean when they say a dog is "dominant". It really is not descriptive of whatever behavioral issue the dog actually has!

My other pet peeve is "submissive". When people say to me, "this dog is submissive", I look at the dog, and what I see is simply a dog who is underconfident and throwing off calming and appeasement behaviors to say to you "I am not a threat to you, please don't hurt me!"

I wish the words "dominant" and "submissive" would just go away. They've been so overused they really do not mean anything anymore.
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  #36  
Old 11-04-2010, 04:46 PM
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actually it fits the very definition of dominance. You can chose to call it whatever you like or explain it another way, but by both lay and behavioral standards, it IS dominance.

I know why it works and why the associations are made, and how powerful they are. That was kind of the point.
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  #37  
Old 11-04-2010, 08:23 PM
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I have this friend, and every time his dog jumps on the couch he's like "she's being dominant"....

no, she's being comfortable.
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  #38  
Old 11-05-2010, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by release the hounds View Post
actually it fits the very definition of dominance. .
Well, I suppose if we look at this definition from dictionary.com:

dom·i·nance
***8194; ***8194;/***712;d***594;m***601;n***601;ns/ Show Spelled[dom-uh-nuhns] Show IPA
–noun
1.
rule; control; authority; ascendancy

Then you are technically correct, of course. And by this definition, we are also dominant over our children, over any animal we share our homes with (even livestock, since we control their lives), and we are quite dominant over insects, we can choose to end their lives with a single movement.

However, the point I was trying to make, is that this has no relevancy in terms of training. I would bet money the dog's thought process probably goes like this (if dogs thought in words ) "I'm really hungry..." *sniff* "food...oh Scary Thing! Must bark! But hungry...too hungry...." eat chomp glut smack...



In fact, it would still work even if you just tossed the food in without waiting for the dog to be so hungry he no longer aggresses. He would still associate person + food = Good Thing. I mean, that's how I fix cage aggressive dogs at FOHA. We can't just withhold food from them, the volunteers would crap a brick. I feed them cheese right through the chain link door, and it usually only take a few minutes for them to realize I am not a Scary Thing after all.
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  #39  
Old 11-05-2010, 07:47 AM
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Sometimes I wonder if people even know what they're arguing about
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  #40  
Old 11-05-2010, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by release the hounds View Post
Sometimes I wonder if people even know what they're arguing about
I have to agree there.

Again, I encourage everyone to read this.
http://www.pawsoflife.org/pdf/Librar...haw%202009.pdf


If you do not want to read the whole thing, (which would be a shame because it's very interesting and informative) then at least scroll down and read from these headings: Of course, you won't have all the background (the meat of the matter) that precedes these but you can see what was concluded after extensive observation and studies.


Is dominance a useful construct in the interpretation of interactions between domestic dogs


Interactions between dogs and owners


Conclusion



And for the OP especially, if you're wanting to get a feeling for what you were asking about, I recommend looking over this link. It's very educational and I think, just what you were wondering about.

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