Its The Dog

Learning through dogs

The truth about dominance

As I mentioned last week, many popular and famous trainers boast about dominance. Helix Fairweather made a list of the behaviors often refered to as dominance behaviors, the list follows; 

1. paw whacks
2. going through the doorway first
3. jumping up
4. not instantly performing whatever behavior was just cued
5. sitting/lying on the furniture
6. being destructive in the house
7. barking at strangers on the street
8. peeing in the house
9. pulling on the leash
10. leaning on people for petting
11. barking while family is eating
12. struggling with/trying to paw at head halter
13. chewing through leash
14. scraping feet after peeing or pooping
15. putting a foot on top of owner’s foot
16. rushing out the door
17. walking in front of you
18. not getting out of the way
19. stealing a Kleenex
20. non-compliant dog, refusing to do as you ask
21. nudging, pawing, begging for attention
22. bumping into you
23. standing over you
24. putting dog paws on your shoulders
25. barking at you in response to a cue
26. stealing your items
27. house soiling past the usual expected time a dog should be trained
28. body slamming you with their rear end
29. having his “lipstick” out (HF: male dog, think about it, it took me a minute)
30. won’t sit, down, or anything else unless he feels like it
31. barks at me when I yell at her
32. bites me (my favorite was the recommendation from a vet regarding a 5 -week- old rescue pup whose mother died, he instructed the foster mom to alpha roll the pup 3 times a day)
33. eats too fast (i’m not kidding)
34. won’t come in the house
35. won’t get off the bed/sofa
36. barks at strangers
37. barks at the cat
38. barks at cars
39. when in the car, barks at people who walk by the car
40. growls when i try to take his bone
41. growls when i try to take his toy
42. lays down when i’m walking him (young giant breed puppy, being walked 2 miles in the heat, idiot is lucky the pup is still alive!)
43. barks while i’m getting her meal
44. throws his food bowl around
45. mounts my 3 yr old 46. stood on my bed, looked me right in the eye and peed on my pillow
47. growled at other dog when they were introduced (after questioning the poster about the situation, they were introduced in a 6′ x 6′ hall where there were 4 adults and 3 children)
48. my puppy puts everything in her mouth
49. obeys my husband, doesn’t listen to me
50. mounts me
51. mounts my brother in law
52. barks when left alone
53. pees in crate
54. isn’t neutered
55. 8 week old puppy dives on golden, bites him
56. licks the bottom of my shoes (huh?)
57. is dominant over my other dog and my other dog gets hot spots
58. growls at me when i put her citronella collar on her
59. snores (another real eye opener for me!)
60. eats rocks
61. eats off of kids’ plates
62. lunges at people
63. steals my shoes
64. poops on husband’s clothes (in my never humble opinion, serves him right for leaving his clothes on the floor…tee hee)
65. stares at me
66. puts her paw on me when i pet her
67. when he’s bad and i shake his scruff, he’s started to growl at me (wow! what a good start at owner induced aggression!)
68. tried to bite my son when my son tried to drag him out from under the bed 69. when trying to grab his collar to take him inside or finish playing he starts running crazy away from you
70. always wants more food
71. peeing on your leg
72. not giving up items on request
73. being stubborn
74. growling, snarling, snapping, biting
75. sitting on owner’s foot

What this basically means is dogs should be robotic, they should lack the free will.

Lets see what dominance looks like. Here a man is making a dog “submit” to him by alpha rolling him, pay attention to the dogs body language, what is the dog telling the guy.

So did you watch the dog? Did you notice the dogs reaction when the man approached? Did you see the calming signals throughout the video? That was a fairly mild video, lets look at more.

Here a man is working with a “dominant aggressive” cane corso.

Whats going on? I’d be willing to bet the dog has an underlying health condition going by the thick vaginal discharge. The dog throughout the video is giving calming signals, and some threats. After he “alpha rolled” her you notice she stayed down, blinking, squinting and averting her gaze, she’s on her way to learned helplessness. The averting gaze continued til the end of the video, the only time she looked at him was to make sure he wasn’t going to attack her again.

I am not saying that a biting dog is okay, however there are better ways to approach their training, and I will touch on those tomorrow. For now lets continue.

Can you see what happened here?

You can break it down. Dog 1 starts a low rapid tail wag(calming signal/excitement) Dog 2 gives a side ways glance(whale eye threat). Dog 1 continues low rapid tail wag and possibly attempts to mount dog 2(excitement and stress relief), Dog 2 becomes tense(anti social) and lunges(anti social). Dog 1 appeases(a calming signal) and stops the attack. Dog 2 backs off and Dog 1 continues with the calming signals.

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