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  #1  
Old 12-29-2013, 03:58 PM
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Default Is the domestic dog a pack animal?

The theories of dominance/submission and a social structure based on an Alpha to Omega hierarchy, such as those seen in wolf packs, are being disputed these days as a way to understand and interpret the behaviour of our pet dogs.
Here are some links that explain how domestic dogs differ from their wolf ancestors, and how we can use this new information to train our dogs in a totally different way.
I have loads of info on this, so if anyone wants a more scientific read, PM me and I can send you more articles.

Is the domestic dog a true pack animal?

No Such Thing as Alpha Dogs

The Social Organizatin of the Domestic Dog

http://www.animalsandsociety.com/***...4jaws07047.pdf


Dog Whisperer, Dog Psychology and Cesar Millan

Are Dogs Pack Animals? |
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:08 PM
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I have 4 dogs (a sheltie, and 3 chi's). The sheltie acts as if she is in charge. She never bites, but does growl at the chi's when they get 'in her way'! If she wants to sniff them, they pretty well freeze. Then it's over. They are separated when we leave for safety. Never had a problem. But 32 pounds vs 4,6 &8 pounds are much less, so we gate off the kitchen. I used to think there was a 'pack' system, but the only thing I've observed as a 'pack' is when one cries out in pain etc. They ALL rush over to see what's wrong. I'm not sure they have concern in their hearts, or whether it is something else more sinister!
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:45 PM
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Wicked Pixie thank you so much for this post it was amazing. And something I unfortunately had to find out the hard way and will NEVER EVER do with another dog I may get in the future.

Cooper being such a naturally submissive dog did not react well to this type of 'humans must be alpha' training. Us humans being dominant by forcing him to eat after us, forcing him to sleep away from us, making sure we walk ahead of him, scaring him to death when hes been naughty by ignoring him etc. I made a post about me realizing that what I was doing was bad and it was a hard thing to realize when all we hear is 'be alpha' 'show him your boss' 'don't let him be the leader'. Basically I had to come to the conclusion based on what I was seeing with my own eyes and not the hundreds of articles that I thought was gospel.

In a way it has taught me to rely on what feels right and don't do something just because everyone else is telling you it should be done that way when you feel its wrong.

Like my very smart mother said: Dogs evolved from wolves yes but the pets in our homes have spent hundreds of thousands of years along humans and in that time have evolved further to better understand us and modify their behaviors accordingly. They are mans best friend for a very good reason.

A perfect example is when people say dogs can only speak dog, they don't understand human.
Which in language not so much, but Cooper 100% understands 'human'. And I can bet any money everyones chis here know when we are happy, sad, angry, in pain etc. Even though we show all of those emotions differently to dogs, they can still totally understand us. Cooper even asks for 'play' and 'food' in ways that certainly aren't 'dog' but he knows will get us to play/feed etc - therefor they speak human as much as we speak dog

Cooper is now a much happier much less fearful dog since I ignored the alpha dominance style training.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:08 PM
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Thank you for the interesting post! This is something I'm really interested in and have read lots of different things about pack leadership and dominance.
I'm actually having trouble with bailey lately and have done on and off since just after I got him nearly 3years ago. I've had help from a behaviourist and done lots of research on training etc but we still have issues.
I dont know if it's possible that bailey just doesn't like Charlie or if there is more to it like bailey wanting to be top dog.
I wish I knew the answer because some days I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle!
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Old 12-31-2013, 01:33 AM
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I am a believer in the dominance theory. That will never change. However, I'm interested to know what training methods are offered along with these debunking articles and theories. I don't care to debate the subject. I just want to know what training methods go along with this.
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Old 12-31-2013, 03:06 PM
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Regardless of whether dogs are "pack" animals or not, they do have a social hierarchy. All animals that live or work together in groups develop social hierarchies, even people. Someone will always come out as the leader. Now we can compromise and share responsibilities because we have a higher reasoning ability than other animals. Dogs are more comfortable and less stressed when they know their owner is the leader and they don't have to make or enforce the rules. However, I don't think the "dominance" type training is very effective because it undermines a dog's trust in their human. They have to trust you to want to follow your lead. A dog who trusts you will go out of their way to try and please you.


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Old 01-04-2014, 05:17 PM
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@LadyDevlyn
I think I've never heard it said better. I like to think that I'm my dog's guide. The enviroment we live in can be confusing and prety dangerous for a dog. I make rules to keep us both safe and not a nuisance to others. To do this I don't need to physically dominate my dog or scare her. She loves to make me happy and the slightest disapproval in my voice will stop her.
@Becku
Your mom is indeed a wise woman. Dogs are living with us for about 10 000 years and it would be very astonishing if they hadn't evolved and adapted to this very different life. Dogs do understand us pretty well. We should do them a favor and learn a bit 'dog' to be a really good friend.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IwillcallhimGeorge View Post
I am a believer in the dominance theory. That will never change. However, I'm interested to know what training methods are offered along with these debunking articles and theories. I don't care to debate the subject. I just want to know what training methods go along with this.
When dominance/alpha theory is not employed, training is force-free positive reinforcement, or conditioning.
This link might explain some different views to approaching behaviours often attributed to 'dominance';

Dominance Myths and Dog Training Realities
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