I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked if their dog was being dominant over them. There are two words in the dog world that are way overused and misunderstood. One of those words is dominance. There is a great little book titled Dominance: Fact Or Fiction by Barry Eaton. This book changed the way I perceive a dog’s world and opened my mind to another way of observing the world through the dog’s point of view. I am going to touch on a few things in the beginning of the book. I hope it intrigues you to buy it and read it with an open mind.
Barry writes: In canine terms, Roger Abrantes, PhD in Evolutionary Biology and an Ethology, DHC MAPBC, defines dominance as “a drive directed towards the elimination of competition from a mate”. Roger goes on to say that a canine hierarchy is defined as a dominance-submission relationship established and maintained by means of ritualized behavior. The relationship depends on:
• How aggressive the species is.
• Whether two animals will fight to the death to establish dominance or whether one will concede.
• If there are sufficient resources, there will be less antagonism.
• Whether there is the optimum ratio of males and females.
• Whether the species is captive or free roaming.
Does this sound like a relationship between you and your dog? Do I think dogs can be pushy and assertive? Yes. They can obtain and sometimes control resources that way. Once a dog learns that their behavior denies or gives access to resources, they learn to use that behavior accordingly. Can there be dominance in a dog toward a human? Possibly. But for the most part, there is a different reason behind your dog’s actions other than being dominant. This is why I don’t watch Cesar Millan. He just upsets me. I do enjoy watching Victoria Stillwell http://positively.com.