Before You Adopt
The dominance approach creates an atmosphere of fear, and competition between humans and pets which can gradually ruin a relationship.
We’ve all heard advice that relates dog behavior to wolf social behavior: “Always eat before your dog and go through doorways first because that’s what a dominant wolf would do.” “If your dog growls or barks inappropriately or otherwise misbehaves, put him in his place by doing an alpha roll where you force him onto his back until he submits. That way you can be the boss.” This was over 70 years when the “dominate” theory (no pun intended) about canine behavior was that dominance was the root of all behavior problems. Archaic
This “theory” was erroneously extrapolated from a research study conducted on captive wolves. Schenkel’s study propagated (and still propagates) untrue information about domesticated dogs, as well as for wolves.
For the official dominance “debunking” research study, follow the link below: Mech Debunking
Wolves are not dogs and dogs are not wolves. Careful observation has revealed that dominant wolves do not force subordinates onto their back (incorrectly termed an alpha roll). Rather subordinates offer the posture as a sign of deference (more appropriate term, submissive roll). In addition, ethologists agree that studies on the process of domestication and on canine communication are making it more and more clear that a dog is not a wolf.
It is also now clear that dominance is generally not the cause of bad behavior. This is evident once you know the definition of dominance. In animal behavior, dominance is defined as a relationship between individuals that’s established by force, aggression and submission in order to gain priority access to resources. A dominance relationship is not established until one individual consistently submits. With this definition in mind, it is clear that most of the unruly behaviors we see in our pets are not due to a desire to gain higher rank. Consequently, dominance theory becomes irrelevant for most behavior problems in our pets.
So what is the root of unruly behavior? The psychology studies on learning and behavior of the last 60+ years have shown us that animals (and humans) behave in undesirable ways because these behaviors have been reinforced. To change behavior we have to remove the rewards for undesirable behavior and focus instead on rewarding good behavior.
The simple approach, along with attention to the nuances of timing, body language, and motivation, forms the basis for establishing a relationship of trust between the human and the pet. Training becomes a joy rather than a chore and the methods open up a whole new connection with your pet.
The very presumption that our dogs would even consider us humans to be members of their canine pack is simply ludicrous. Humans have an overwhelming yearning to insert ourselves a social structure we have no business directing. It’s about time we gave up trying to be dogs in a dog pack and accepted that we are humans co-existing with another species – and that we’re most successful doing so when we co-exist peacefully.
The fact is, successful social groups work because of voluntary deference, not because of aggressively enforced dominance. The whole point of social body language rituals is to avoid conflict and confrontation, not to cause it.
WHAT WHAT WHAT?
Today, educated trainers are aware that canine-human interactions are not driven by social rank, but rather….. by REINFORECMENT. Behaviors that are reinforced repeat and strengthen.
If your dog repeats an inappropriate behavior such as counter surfing or getting on the sofa, it’s not because he is a megalomaniac; it is because that behavior has SOMEHOW become reinforced. Dogs are scavengers which makes them opportunists. Bratwurst on counter = Bratwurst in dogs’ mouth.
It is OUR responsibility to notice, be aware, and notice.
Dr. Sophia Lin
Parents generally have little understanding of canine body cues that would indicate a dog might bite. In fact, most parents believe that a dog is responsible for their actions. And complicating matters further, most parents get confused by the good intentions of the child and fail to see when a dog is exhibiting signs of stress.
Actually, Understanding What the Actions that Might Cause the Family Dog to Bite are just Common Sense
In fact, understanding what can drive a dog to bite the family kids is pretty simple. They are the same things that drive humans to need a break from their kids.
Reason 1: For instance, most people dislike it when others stick their grimy hands in their meal. Similarly, dogs want to eat in peace.
Reason 2: We teach children that it’s clearly wrong to steal toys from each other. It’s also rude to steal toys from the dog. Kids should be taught to leave Fido’s toys alone. To build in a tolerance in case the child makes a mistake when your attention has lapsed, dogs should be trained to give up their toy for a reward or even a sequence of rewards. That way, they will willingly give the child the toy instead of feeling possessive. (See Perfect Pup in 7 Days, chapters 1 and 6 .)
Reason 3: Kids frequently can’t help but get in your face. They often have to be trained to maintain the appropriate social distance. Similarly, putting your face into a dog’s face, even if it’s all in the family, can be irritating to the dog, especially when the dog has no control over the child’s behavior.
Reason 4: Most people dislike being disturbed when they are resting or sleeping. But fortunately for us humans, we can often close or lock our bedroom door. Similarly, dogs need a safe location where they can be away from kids and excitement. Kids should avoid bugging them in their “private” location or any
time they are sleeping or resting. If they call the dog from far away and the dog chooses to get up and come over to the child, this type of interaction is okay. But if the dog chooses to be left alone, he should be.
Reason 5: Kids dislike being handled roughly, and so do dogs. Dogs can be trained to tolerate or sometimes even enjoy this handling, so that they are not reactive when an accident occurs (See Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, chapters 1 and 6), but in general children should be taught to be polite.
Reason 6: It’s rude to climb on, step on, or otherwise invade someone’s personal space. It’s also rude to do the same things with dogs.
Reason 7: Loud screaming can frazzle humans, imagine its effect on the more sound-sensitive dog!
Reason 8: We often forget that even some friendly gestures, such as pinching a child’s cheeks, may be irritating. In general, dogs dislike being hugged, even by family members. You can tell by the expression on their face. (See the Body Language of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs poster and chapter 7 in Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.) You can train dogs, especially as puppies, to enjoy cuddling and hugging (See Perfect Puppy In 7 Days chapters 1 and 6) and other close handling. But even so, it’s important for children to know the types of interactions their pet likes and also to realize that other dogs may not have the same tolerance as their dog does.
The FACT is that a bite often occurs because humans, especially children, are extremely rude. https://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/kids-and-dogs-how-kids-should-and-should-not-interact-with-dogs/- Dr. Sophia Lin Kids and Dogs: How Kids Should and Should Not Interact with Dogs July 18, 2011. Cattle Dog Publishing