Another Article: Dominance Theory Questioned

Read this link before reading on:

There are a few things I concluded from reading this article in Science Daily:

1. It excluded from the research sample, dogs that are more likely to be highly dominant, such as high level working dogs. While working dogs do end up in shelter environments, the vast majority do not.

2. If you conclude from reading this article that dominance – related aggression doesn’t exist you will be doing a disservice. They are correct to point out that the blanket attribution of dominance, in Cesar Milan fashion,  to all situations is in fact ridiculous, as most professional trainers and behaviorists have known for years since he showed up on the scene. However, there are situations where dogs attempt to manipulate control through showing aggression (because they learn it works) and the dog is in fact not scared or fearful. The researchers attribution of fear and anxiety in blanket fashion is just as ridiculous as Cezar Milan’s all encompassing dominance. This is the same victimology that is attributed to everything canine to justify force-free training in all situations. If the dogs are simply trembling victims of abusive training methodologies, and if they are ALL just frightened and anxious, we cannot use anything but love and a clicker on these poor canine victims of society… is the same reason why we now have a society full of kids who no longer respect authority, because there are no consequences for anti-social behavior, for after all they are just victims of economic "abuse." That is another show.

3. The article does verify something I have been saying for years, that even if you have a dominant dog (call it what you like, but a master manipulator – they are after all predators – that uses aggression to satisfy his drives, hunger, or other innate needs) the Alpha-Omega model that uses physical dominance techniques like alpha rolling is a poor method to use because when people use it they are inconsistent and weak minded, unlike another dog would be using the alpha roll, and usually it does in fact lead to the owner or someone else getting bit.

Trainers beware of the all or nothing. There is usually some ideology lurking in the weeds.