For all new members, please check out the thread New to the Forum? What to do and forum guidelines.
Let's discuss the role of dominance in the social hierarchy & training of domestic and wild canine.
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    Hi, this thread has been a great help in educating myself and my friends in helping dispel the Dominance myth. Problem is there is still a lot of insistence that something like "this is a show of dominance" (comment from a shiba breeder) when Kenji sat on my shoulder.
    Post edited by Rors at 2011-07-29 19:55:36
  • AraksAraks
    Posts: 399
    @Rors : I've had some people say the same thing to me as well because Sevuk does the same exact thing as Kenji in that picture. But then again, I've had people tell me my parrots were trying to dominate me while sitting on my shoulder too :P I need to point them to this thread haha.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    That's a cute picture Rors!
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    That's a great pic! And yes, he looks poised to take over the world! :) My girl Shiba does that too, but only when she's really scared--pretty clearly NOT a "dominance" move!

    @Araks, yeah, I've heard people say that about parrots too. :rolls eyes: Though I do sometime think my best friend's African grey could take over the world....
  • AraksAraks
    Posts: 399
    @Lisa : Your friend's african grey would team up with mine and THEN they would take over the world lol Those birds are wayyyy too smart for their own good. :)
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    bump for new members...
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    Has any one read this book by Jan Fennell, The Dog Listener. It seems an interesting mix of old Wolf pack Modeling and new positive reinforcement.
    I'm only about a 1/3rd of the way through and feeling a little confused.

    Jan seems to speak mostly of Hierarchy in old terms but her observations and treatment of symptoms seem to work by showing the dog you have the situation in hand: Specific example, when a dog reacts aggressively to another dog or person on a walk, she will have the owner cross to the other side or change direction not flood the dog, and allow it and the owner to remain calm: very modern.
    Her explanation is that in the first instance the dog was trying to fill the Alpha role and defending its pack, she then has a program of Amichien Bonding she has the owner perform for a couple of weeks which include ignoring the dog when it wants attention and only playing when the owner wants plus some other things re food and walking in front of the dog. Which seem to change where the dog sees the owner in the hierarchy = higher than them.

    Please, any thoughts? This is not to stir the pot but to introduce another way that hierarchy is described.
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    So she sounds like a CM that employs Positive Reinforcement and Negative Punishment. While CM employs Positive Punishment and Negative Reinforcement. If I had to choose between the 2, I'd choose the Positive Reinforcement and Negative Punishment version...

    But, in general, I try to stay away from any trainer (or behaviorist) who feels the need to use terms like "Alpha" and/or "Dominance" simply because it's old-hat and completely unrelated to dog training.

    Let me ask you this, what value does adding "her explanation is that in the first instance the dog was trying to fill the Alpha role and defending its pack" add to helping a dog owner deal with the problem of "a dog [reacting] aggressively to another dog or person on a walk"?

    The training aspect of what she is suggesting is simple and correct, it's redirection, negative punishment, and positive reinstatement... What is the point of adding the concept of an "Alpha" to the solution? It only clouds the solution to the problem with assumptions. She could get the same result by simply saying:

    "The dog is being protective / reactive, if you would prefer him/her not act that way, the best way to deal with it is to teach him/her that you don't feel that behavior is appropriate. There are many ways to deal with this situation, but I would suggest that the owner cross to the other side or change direction not flood the dog [sic]..."

    See, no need to even bring up "Alpha".

    Putting aside the inaccuracy of the Alpha/Dominance concepts in domestic and wild canine, the concepts are not needed in dog training because they add no value to dog training - actually they have nothing to do with dog training. Any social hierarchy concept, whether it be a rigid dominance-based hierarchy, an appeasement-based hierarchy, a seniority based hierarchy, or a loosely formed "nuclear family unit", plays no role in training a dog to behave a certain way - dog training is done by employing techniques built around the concepts found in Learning Theory, which has nothing to do with social order.

    As for the "remain calm" aspect of the suggestion, I would suggest you "remain calm" calm while training your dog. Has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that training your dog should be a fun and mellow activity for both of you. Training a dog with too much excitement means you will need to maintain that level of excitement later to get the best results (consistency).

    Also, in a negative situation, like the one used above as an example, overreacting would only exacerbate the behavior because your dog would then be reacting to your excitement as well as the excitement he/she is already feeling.

    We all know dogs can read our face and our emotions, so being calm in a negative situation is simply the smart first-step thing to do to control your dog - but it has nothing to do with being a "pack leader" or an "alpha" and everything to do with the evolved hyper-emotional-awareness that dogs have with us humans.

    ----
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    Personally, the only reason I see for the use of dominance theory in training these days, especially with positive reinforcement type, is to appeal to the humans that are stuck in this way. Many people feel that dominance theory is the only way, and if a trainer comes by stating the facts that dominance is wrong, these people would call him a quack and that trainer would have no students to teach.

    In my area, 90% of the trainers are dominance based (choke required), 8% open to anything based (choke optional), and the remaining 2% be the purely positive reinforcement based (no choke). Majority of dog people I've talked to worship CM as god, and to think otherwhise is blasphemy and stupid. The best way to get these people to convert is to speak their language, interpret positive reinforcement methods in a dominance theory way, and slowly convert them to the modern way of thinking.
    image
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    Thanks for the comments, we have still been reading her book as another point of view, We Delta train our dogs and it works great without all the posturing for a hierarchy at home.
    I can see how this could be used to bridge the gap between the two sides, My In-laws take their dogs to regular old school obedience training and still believe the dominance theory its hard to negotiate through that mine field may be this book could help.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    bump
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • I linked this thread in my sig, so I can just point to my sig next time someone mentions dominance. :)
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Bump
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    lol @ Lisa
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Bump @drewrilla
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • I was reading about the elephant sanctuary in TN last night, and came across this link:

    http://www.elephants.com/management.php

    which is about their management style. They talk about why dominance does not work well with elephants, and why they believe in what they call a "passive" management style. Of course it is different--it is elephants in a sanctuary setting rather than dogs integrated into a household--but I thought it added something to the conversation about dominance.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Similar to dolphin and whale trainers too, right? I mean, you can't physically bully an orca into "submission", not like some people would do to a 20lb dog in an alpha role. If you can train an orca using hands off methods, you can train a Shiba.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    The wolf park in Battle ground IN doesn't use any dominance type training because if they did the wolves would remember and not trust them.

    Reason they hand raise the pups is so they can easily go into the enclosure to clean it if needed, check the wolves for anything, and do training for posing for pictures and so on.

    When the wolves interact with the staff I can tell it's out of mutual respect the staff treat to wolves appropriately and the wolves never have hurt any staff when I've been there they been in with them with a deer around or special treats like jack o lantern full of meat and treats.

    Coarse said staff is not sticking their hands on the wolf or on the food like dog owners do I dunno why sticking a hand in the dog bowl or on the dog so important.

    They will pick up a bit of chew item to hand to the wolf..

    The owners of it I met myself don't believe in dominance type training.

    I tend to like wolves when they resource guard or protect their share of the food it's mostly body language noise and stuff they never try to kill each other over it maybe a small argument. my dad's male boxer Junior was bad with resource guarding space and food chew toys too.

    If we got lax and something slipped up he'd go right for Dink or Pearly and when he did it was straight for their necks thankfully we were around and got him off of them, but compared to how wolves handle things I like that.. Coarse Junior was a dog who was a bit not well in behavior..

    He didn't come from a good breeder.

    Ever in Indiana come check it out they do tours to show their coyotes, wolves and fox. Sometimes they have demonstrations and lectures and so on. The bison wolf demo is pretty neat.

    Just my 2 cents.

    One reason I love watching Brad's dogs interact with each other and how well they do without too much issue I'm sure things happen, but with this many dogs they do very well.

    I'm thankful Bella and Saya do so well. I think it's largely due to how more socialization they got as pups.

    I soon hope to add a third dog so we see how it goes he or she will be a pup so it should go well.. Most likely a he since they tend to be same sex aggressive. Coarse I plan to socialize the pup like I did with Saya.
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    That's a very interesting article, Lisa! ( @shibamistress )
  • " I mean, you can't physically bully an orca into "submission", not like some people would do to a 20lb dog in an alpha role. If you can train an orca using hands off methods, you can train a Shiba."

    This is a great! I agree! I feel like it could be shortened into a slogan, maybe a picture of a clicker and it could say: "if it works on an Orca, it will work on a Shiba!" :lol:
  • Bumping this thread because the Whole Dog Journal has an article this month by Pat Miller called "Alpha-Schmalpha" which debunks some of the alpha myth, and also has a nice collection of serious dog groups who are against the idea. It's here, though you probably need to be a subscriber to read it: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/

    WDJ is great, though, so I highly recommend it if you are not already a subscriber!
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2011-11-30 18:32:38
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    Oh, very cool Lisa! I didn't see that in this latest issues, I'll have to look again.

    Also, here is a great article I just ran across today:

    What′s Wrong with Using ‘Dominance’ to Explain the Behaviour of Dogs?
    http://www.dogwelfarecampaign.org/why-not-dominance.php

    ----
  • RorsRors
    Posts: 165
    Hi, I have recently attended a seminar lead by Roger Abrantes a renowned Ethologist. Here is his Balanced NON-Political Article on Dominance:
    http://rogerabrantes.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/dominance-making-sense-of-the-nonsense/

    It makes a lot of sense to me, I am suspicious of the corruption or misconstruing the meaning of words - Political correctness has some things to answer for.
    Post edited by Rors at 2012-02-04 04:49:54
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    I stopped reading closely when he started talking about aliens. Some interesting viewpoints though, and I have read his books.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
    Post edited by lindsayt at 2012-02-04 05:50:18
  • PearlPearl
    Posts: 66
    Brilliant thread, lots to take away from here. We've been working hard on solving the food possessiveness problem and it seems like being able to reach into the food bowl is going to take at least a few years.

    At least we're past the food freakouts she used to have and back to hand feeding with praise breaks inbetween and bowl feeding with takeaways. It'll be awhile before we're able to put a full bowl down, walk up and take it away though.. maybe never but we'll keep working on it.

    @lindsayt I don't want to say it's aliens but...
    Post edited by Pearl at 2012-06-29 23:32:38
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Crazy article from an NSCA breeders' website:

    http://www.joycefay.com/articles/dominantdogs.shtml
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    Oh wow, that is quite silly. All my dogs must be "dominant" then, to some degree or another.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    @Pearl: have you taught a wait command. That with elements of NILF can be helpful. Feeding with two bowls also as you practice trading and adding goodies between the two.

    @Lindsay: That makes me sad. Many breeders in addition to animal welfare people have a long way to go in learning more.

    Snf



    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2012-08-22 09:25:05
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    LMAO... Eating before me!? Seriously? My dogs eat when I give them food, which is usually before I sit down to eat myself. So I guess ALL of the dogs I have ever owned, fostered, or dog-sat are "dominant". Even the cat that I had in college was "dominant". LOL.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    That article Lindsay posted is very funny, I noticed that the majority of the list of dominant behaviors are pretty much behaviors that stem from lack of training.

    This quote especially made me giggle:

    "Stand or sit in the dog's favorite spot, or its bed or crate, for 1 to 2 minutes several times a week."

    Imagine doing this with a small or toy breed dog, a lot of people are going to get their heads stuck in those small crates if they try this lol.
    image
  • Stuff like this is why I never really bought into the whole dominance thing very much. You have to micromanage your dog's whole life in order for them to be submissive and therefore well behaved. No thank you. I want a companion, not a chore.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    @ Beth love your sense of humor! and Notoriousscrat agreed who wants to micromanage EVERYTHING....

    I see the humor in the following as well, "These (i.e. dominant) dogs want to run the home and pack. They will try to make decisions for their families about what is done, when it is done, how it is done and who does it".

    --I guess all dogs are trying to be dominant based on the long list seen in the link. Maybe we can teach "dominant dogs" to keep a day calendar. I could use a personal secretary, and chauffeur too.... No problem I would be happy relinquish my position to the dogs ..... If left up to them I bet we would have way more fun than most at the office (lol).

    -- Seriously though, I diverge a bit, if you think about it many of the past attributes accepted as merely dog traits in various Lassie movie renditions, they are now considered in the negative as "dominant" by the general public. Typically seen in the films...trying to escape, snubbing some people, barking uncontrollably when owners don't understand, threatening people, chasing livestock, possession issues, and digging. It's nothing new but we have come to label it rather than merely see it as dog traits to be "worked" through. "Working" the dog is the operative word in this case.

    Old dog school marm from article says this is ok to basically push other beings around: "Firm, not rough, body shoving. Physically forcing the dog to move away or out of your way. This can be done while paying no apparent attention to the dog. Or it may be done with eye contact and a threatening body posture if needed to make the dog move. Body shoving can be used when sitting down by the dog. Sitting partially on the dog if they are in a spot you want can be effective also. "

    --Seems it would be best to avoid the ridiculousness of these misguided or misplaced technique(s) since this is what gets kids bitten and adults threatened. Instead, how about teaching an "excuse me" command. Much easier and much less hassle to manage. Excuse me for kids and dogs is a good thing. "Excuse me" means please move or I need that spot, or move away. No problem no threats, easy done, and you have family harmony as you work around each other through good communication in a respectful way. Since dogs can recognize 280 or so words this should be a no brainer.

    Snf
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2012-08-22 14:46:22
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Sitting in the dogs bed for 1-2 minutes every week. So silly. Embarassingly I have to admit my boyfriend actually sometimes do it to tease Juni and she couldn't care less.
    I've always found it really inconvenient to let the dog go behind me through doors. For elevators, trains for example I need her in front of me so I know the doors don't shut on her. I'm such a bad owner...
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    I wish I had a dominant dog such as described in the article. He could make the decisions and stop mooching off me.

    Where can I exchange Tatonka for one of those??
    Monkey!
    Post edited by tatonka at 2012-08-23 00:47:23
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    "Firm, not rough, body shoving. Physically forcing the dog to move away or out of your way."

    I do this to Hammond and my cat all the time, to save them from being trampled. I'll push them away or off to the side with my foot so I don't end up stepping on or tripping over them. But any other contact Hammond thinks is play-time. If I try to push him off me while putting shoes on, he'll start mouthing my hand, sleeves, shoes, pants. If I sit still and say "Go get your toy" he'll stop mouthing and bring something acceptable to chew on.

    "Sitting partially on the dog if they are in a spot you want can be effective also. "

    I do this to both of them all the time, too, haha. Especially when I want to lay on my bed and one of them is in my spot. I just flop on top of them. I love the look of disgust they give me before huffing, wriggling free, and either picking a new spot or getting off the bed completely.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Bump
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • bump.
  • Someone linked this on Shibaholics, and I thought it was quite an interesting article on "dominance." I also thought the comments were quite interesting, too (how rare is that!) including an interesting exchange between someone who suggests that what ethologist like Abrantes may think about "dominant" behavior and what behavioralists may think may be different. Abrantes responds to that well, I think.

    It's a very interesting article, very well researched, and while I'm not sure I agree with all of his premises, there is still a lot that makes sense, and in addition, I'm just delighted to actually see an intelligent and well reasoned discussion!

    http://rogerabrantes.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/dominance-making-sense-of-the-nonsense/
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Here is a video I just came across discussing the concept of "alpha" that I thought was interesting.

  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    @shibamistress - That's one of my fav. articles. I'm a big Abrantes fan. Thank for sharing, Lisa!

    @redcattoo - Great video!
  • Very interesting article! Thanks for posting! What I took away from it is:

    -Yes, dominance exists, but the dominant position of the animal (whether human or dog or wolf or otherwise) is only temporary and is very situational
    -It is evolutionary advantageous to show both dominance and submissive behavior in certain situations
    -Some animals are more likely to show dominant behavior based upon their genetic makeup and early life experiences
    -The paragraph on fighting is actually very interesting in that it states the animal knows there is some risk (injury and possibly even death) when fighting, therefore it is advantageous to be submissive and avoid fighting whenever possible.
    -We build good relationships with our dogs based on partnership. This, to me, means working with your dog toward a common goal encourages bonding.

    While this article does a great job (in my opinion) of covering what dominance actually is, it doesn't mention any strategies to discourage dominance or encourage submission when appropriate. Then again, this is a pretty exhaustive article, which I can't expect to cover everything.

    My shiba does a few things which I think are dominant but not necessarily aggressive, then again, they could be social things that I am mistaking for dominance; for example urinating on top of a spot where another dog has urinated. This article, which summarizes a paper published in the journal Animal Behaviour, suggest that over marking is a way of conveying status and health, which for my shiba kind of does make sense since he is in very good health, and was also a sire:

    " 'Although both sexes countermark, they do it a little differently: Males are more likely to overmark than females, and high-status males exposed to a place like a dog park are the energizer bunnies of marking," Lisberg said. "Males and females investigate urine, and the higher tailed dogs [It's believed that the higher a dog's tail is raised, the more status the canine generally enjoys] of both sexes urinate and countermark. But the males don't stop after the first mark or second or third.' "

    http://news.discovery.com/animals/dogs-compete-urine-110422.html

    However, other people suggest differently:

    " 'It doesn't make sense that any dog would have the intelligence necessary to leave messages for other dogs in this manner because in order to do so he would have to be capable of propositional and/or hypothetical thinking, directed fantasy, mental time travel, not to mention a full-blown theory of mind.' "

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/my-puppy-my-self/201001/why-do-dogs-mark-their-territory

    I'm also not sure if what this person is describing is actually necessary though, and I don't think the author is really well versed in animal behavior. I work with rodents on a daily basis, and while they are intelligent (to a degree) they do also leave pheromones to communicate with other rodents in their urine as well as feces.

    So, I'm kind of on the fence about this and don't really know what to think about it.
    CH Arden Masa Fusa is his full and decorated name, but I call him Masa!
    Post edited by Moishew at 2012-12-31 11:09:41
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    @Moishew - Let me ask you something, let's say that it is a status/rank behavior, what would that change for you? Why is it important to you to know if your Shiba countermarks out of status or for some other reason? Just wondering.

    Also, why would you want to alter your dog's status behaviors? If it is true, as suggested in Abrantes' article, that status and rank singles are meant to discourage conflict whey would you want to mess with them?
  • @Brad - it wouldn't matter much to me, but it could matter in preventing a fight between my dog and another where one refuses to be submissive. I only bring it up because there is a shih tzu that tries jumping on Masa and placing his paws on Masa back, which Masa will not stand for. I've been told it was a dominant behavior (on the shih tzus part) and I am wondering if there is a way that owner can encourage her dog to be submissive, and we (the owners) can be look at by the dogs as controlling the situation (and therefore the dominant ones) and they would submit to us.
    CH Arden Masa Fusa is his full and decorated name, but I call him Masa!
  • I think this is an oversimplification of what Abrantes is talking about, and shows the problem with the use of the terms. This is why, for the most part, I say ignore all discussions of so-called "dominant" behavior, because the terms have been way too oversimplified and misused. Abrantes is very interesting to talk about the the real, complex issues in dog behavior in general, but he is an ethologist, not a canine behavioralist, so his ideas are not always useful when discussing an individual situation like this one. In fact, if you read down in the comments on his blog, a person suggests that people who work with individual dogs may have different takes on this issue that Abrantes does when speaking more generally, and he acknowledges that, and says that he would always require a clear definition of the term "dominant" when someone is using it.

    In your case, the term "dominance" sounds like it is being bandied about by someone else in the least useful way. Note first that Abrantes says that people should be in partnership with their dogs, not as "dominant ones." Seeing humans as always "dominant" plays into the worse misuses of this term and information, so I wouldn't worry about that at all. Instead, think that you are the one who gives your dog access to resources your dog wants, and in partnership, you teach your dog how to get those resources.

    As for the other dog, I don't think it matters why the other dog puts it paws up, and adding a (much misused) term like dominance, doesn't really help. It's not always a "dominance" move for a dog to do that, anyway. Not all dogs get along, and these two may never get along, and trying to force one to be "submissive" is a really bad idea. With dogs that play well together, you'll see some self-handicapping behavior--for example, my Akita rolls over on his back sometimes so the smaller dogs can jump on him and play with him (and if he's not in the mood to play, a quick snarl will tell the others to back off). If these two dogs don't get along well, don't try to force them, but it may be that they will, eventually. Often you can just watch, and let the dogs give their own signals about what they find ok or not (obviously not if they're really fighting though!) You can intervene if it is too rough or if it starts to be a fight, but dogs that are playing don't need humans to micromanage their relationships (unless it gets out of hand).

    Anyway, that's a long digression to say that I don't think the ideas of dominance are particularly useful in this case (as they so often aren't!). Some dogs just don't like each other, and we have to respect that.

  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @shibamistress I do agree with what you said.

    The three key things I take from the article and your comments are:

    1) Social relationships are not about dominance as much about fluid choices to either be a leader/dominant or a follower/submissive given a certain set of circumstances ... this is true for humans as much as it is for dogs. I may have to take on the leader role at work where I run the accounting department and have responsibility to get certain things done as part of my social role at work, but I may be more than happy to take on the submissive role at home when it comes to decision making. Maybe Bear chooses to take on the leader/dominant role when wanting to protect his family, but he may chose to be a follower/submissive when playing at the dog park in order to get his reward of another dog wanting to run and play with him. I do see that he prefers to avoid conflict when at the dog park, but is ready for action if another dog/person has come onto our property at home.

    2) There is no need to micromanage the social choices of a dog anymore than you would a child. If they are out of line (ie obviously fighting) you do need to step in and redirect them to teach appropriate social behavior, but they also need to be able to express themselves within their social circumstance of the time and not be forced to have to either dominate or submit. Each dog/human is individual in choosing what priorities it wants. Just like human politics in fluid social environments there is a time to follow/submit because the risk/reward of leading/dominating isn't of value.

    3) Like people, not every situation requires a leader/dominant vs a follower/submissive role. In a family unit it is not very often about who is the dominant or submissive (okay that is until someone needs to make a dinner decision after 4 or 5 hours of "I don't care, what do you want" conversations), it is about understanding and bonding with each other and respecting what each person in that social family unit values.

    Lastly, like people, dogs are not going to like every other dog they meet. I know there are many people in my life that I make a choice not to interact with, so I give my dog that same freedom of choice when done in a socially appropriate manner. I may respect other's humanity, but that doesn't mean I need to invite them into my social circles either and would resent anyone forcing that on me.
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1165
    Jumping and placing your paws on another dogs back is not, by default, a sign of dominance, it's a very forward and overt way of play initiation or expelling energy due to excitement/arousal.

    There are (but not limited to) play bows, butt sniffing and jumping on back that are behaviors that invite the other dog to play.

    To make analagous to human interaction of greetings with complete strangers:
    1.) play bow - someone waving hi or bowing in greeting (like the Japanese or Chinese). The greeting has appropriate distance for comfort, polite and has no physical contact that could make anyone feel ill at ease.

    2.) butt sniffs that lead to chase - hearty hand-shake, high five, fist bump

    3.) jumping on back/mounting - arm around shoulder (like what drunk friends do to you in a bar), kisses on each cheeck, hand-shake that turns into a one-arm hug.

    As an american, most of us would get uncomfortable of actions that invade our personal space like #3, whereas many other cultures would be uncomfortable with actions described with #2.

    Most responsible dog owners will try and strive to keep dogs doing #1 and #2 on initial greeting before it escalates to #3. However, there are some dogs, personality wise, that just go to #3...just like there are people you meet that have no sense of personal space or boundary.

    Jesse
    Post edited by CrimsonO2 at 2012-12-31 22:57:22

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Who's Online (0)