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Old 08-15-2009, 06:57 PM
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Article on Dominance

Bristol University | News from the University | Dog behaviour and training

Quote:
Using “dominance” to explain dog behaviour is old hat

Press release issued 21 May 2009
Paper in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research

A new study shows how the behaviour of dogs has been misunderstood for generations: in fact using misplaced ideas about dog behaviour and training is likely to cause rather than cure unwanted behaviour. The findings challenge many of the dominance related interpretations of behaviour and training techniques suggested by some TV dog trainers. Contrary to popular belief, aggressive dogs are NOT trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human “pack”, according to research published by academics at the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.
The researchers spent six months studying dogs freely interacting at a Dogs Trust rehoming centre, and reanalysing data from studies of feral dogs, before concluding that individual relationships between dogs are learnt through experience rather than motivated by a desire to assert “dominance”.
The paper “Dominance in domestic dogs – useful construct or bad habit?” reveals that dogs are not motivated by maintaining their place in the pecking order of their pack, as many well-known dog trainers preach.
Far from being helpful, the academics say, training approaches aimed at “dominance reduction” vary from being worthless in treatment to being actually dangerous and likely to make behaviours worse.
Instructing owners to eat before their dog or go through doors first will not influence the dog’s overall perception of the relationship – merely teach them what to expect in these specific situations. Much worse, techniques such as pinning the dog to the floor, grabbing jowls, or blasting hooters at dogs will make dogs anxious, often about their owner, and potentially lead to an escalation of aggression.
Dr Rachel Casey, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Bristol University, said: “The blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people and other dogs is frankly ridiculous. It hugely underestimates the complex communicative and learning abilities of dogs. It also leads to the use of coercive training techniques, which compromise welfare, and actually cause problem behaviours.
“In our referral clinic we very often see dogs which have learnt to show aggression to avoid anticipated punishment. Owners are often horrified when we explain that their dog is terrified of them, and is showing aggression because of the techniques they have used – but its not their fault when they have been advised to do so, for example by unqualified ‘behaviourists’ recommending such techniques.”
At Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, rehoming centre staff see the results of misguided dog training all the time. Veterinary Director Chris Laurence MBE, added: “We can tell when a dog comes in to us which has been subjected to the ‘dominance reduction technique’ so beloved of TV dog trainers. They can be very fearful, which can lead to aggression towards people.
“Sadly, many techniques used to teach a dog that his owner is leader of the pack is counter-productive; you won’t get a better behaved dog, but you will either end up with a dog so fearful it has suppressed all its natural behaviours and will just do nothing, or one so aggressive it’s dangerous to be around.”
you all probably already know what I think...


Thoughts?



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Old 08-15-2009, 07:23 PM
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I have mixed feelings....I could be reading this all wrong but it sounds like they are saying no dog is really aggressive but afraid? That aggression has NOTHING to do with dominance at all? Harvick tends to NOT be aggressive toward female dogs and VERY AGGRESSIVE towards non neutered males, or males who do things such as kick the grass after urinating, and males who mark their territory. I could be mistaking everything from Harvick as aggression rather than intimidation.

"techniques such as pinning the dog to the floor, grabbing jowls, or blasting hooters at dogs will make dogs anxious, often about their owner, and potentially lead to an escalation of aggression."

I somewhat agree with this but do believe there are situations that require such extremes (not all the time tho).

“The blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people and other dogs is frankly ridiculous"

I feel this with my brother and Harvick...Harvick will bark and growl at my brother (who has lived with us even before we received Harvick) and I tell my brother to call him to him and have Harvick sit. Since we have been doing this Harvick has a shorter "fit" if one at all and the second my brother starts to "demand" things from Harvick he starts calming down quicker. I mean if this is not the way to do it please tell me, I cannot keep getting migraines from the echoing of Harvick's issues lol (all tile in the house). But I see this as Harvick is trying to dominate/intimidate/control my brother and when he realises it won't happen he gives up.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pawzaddict View Post
I have mixed feelings....I could be reading this all wrong but it sounds like they are saying no dog is really aggressive but afraid? That aggression has NOTHING to do with dominance at all?
Many many people argue that all aggression is fear based.

I ussually, personally... say that aggression is 95-99% fear based to account for aggression due to medical issues.

Dominance, by definition determines which of two dogs gets the one bone in a given situation. Nothing more, nothing less

Since we (as humans) are the vector for all resources (if we are smart), we by definition are always the dominate one in the hierarchy.


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Originally Posted by pawzaddict View Post

I feel this with my brother and Harvick...Harvick will bark and growl at my brother (who has lived with us even before we received Harvick) and I tell my brother to call him to him and have Harvick sit. Since we have been doing this Harvick has a shorter "fit" if one at all and the second my brother starts to "demand" things from Harvick he starts calming down quicker. I mean if this is not the way to do it please tell me, I cannot keep getting migraines from the echoing of Harvick's issues lol (all tile in the house). But I see this as Harvick is trying to dominate/intimidate/control my brother and when he realises it won't happen he gives up.
Dogs can only focus on one task at a time. He is calming down because you have given him a different, calmer task. Which is the right thing to do btw...good job they call that a deferential behavior.



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Old 08-15-2009, 07:38 PM
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Then what would you call Harvick? Just mentally retarded LOL? I find it hard that Harvick has been scared all of his life... his father is the EXACT same way towards people and dogs. We never taught Harvick that other dogs were bad...and we never had another male dog before he showed his...well...."fear" towards other males.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:39 PM
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Oh and I agree I am the dominant one, my issue is I think Harvick is trying to assert dominance or something over my brother.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:44 PM
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wow I must really be out of it I didn't see your response to my issue LOL So we should just continue having my brother tell him to sit? Should we try anything else?
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:00 PM
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lol I wondered why there were so many replies lol



Quote:
Originally Posted by pawzaddict View Post
Then what would you call Harvick?
Reactive. Based on the other things you have told me as well. There is fight or flight (or shutdown)in response to fear. A reactive dog picks fight. Fight doesn't have to mean a physical fight, it can be barking, lunging, growling, etc A reactive dog is "hypervigilant" and is on the look out for the scary things more than a normal dog and tend to react to them at a higher level than is "needed".

Of my five in a situation that produces anxiety...

One shutsdown.

Two pick fight. One is reactive, one is not.

one picks flight and if pushed fight

one picks flight and if pushed will shutdown





Quote:
Just mentally retarded LOL? I find it hard that Harvick has been scared all of his life... his father is the EXACT same way towards people and dogs. We never taught Harvick that other dogs were bad...and we never had another male dog before he showed his...well...."fear" towards other males.
Anxiety, like in people can be passed on, its not surprising that the father displayed it as well...breeders call this "weak nerves"...I don't like that term personally.

Anxiety or fear is also in the eye of the beholder, though I don't like human/dog comparisions, liken the dogs rational to a small child that is afraid of som'thing silly...like a man with a beard, or som'one in a mascot costume, or a strange noise. Except no one can rationalize that the object or person is harmless to a dog, like we can a child. No matter how silly or wierd the fear is..it is still very real to that dog/child.

The other reason trainers can prove that it is fear based is that aggressive dogs can be desensitized using the same methods of counter conditioning that a shy/cowaring dog responds to...this helps trainers come to the conclusion that the underlying emotion...fear/anxiety is the same in both "fearful" and "aggressive" animals, just one chooses to accept its fate quietly and the other decides to strike first before the scary thing can get them....make sence?



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Old 08-15-2009, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pawzaddict View Post
wow I must really be out of it I didn't see your response to my issue LOL So we should just continue having my brother tell him to sit? Should we try anything else?

Yes. and it will take time if he is responding so strongly to him. Make sure you keep the reinforcements very very heavy when your brother works with him...like 15 treats in 30 seconds. Treat everytime he looks at your brother. It goes much faster/precise with a clicker

They call that counterconditioning...you are changing the association from brother=scary(or uncomfortable, if you like that term better) to brother=treats and awesomeness, just like you would a scary sound or object.



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Old 08-15-2009, 09:54 PM
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lol I wondered why there were so many replies lol
Yea there is a lot going on here, broke out in hives this morning and had to pop benedryl and slept half the day away amongst other bad annoying things.

[/quote] Reactive. Based on the other things you have told me as well. There is fight or flight (or shutdown)in response to fear. A reactive dog picks fight. Fight doesn't have to mean a physical fight, it can be barking, lunging, growling, etc A reactive dog is "hypervigilant" and is on the look out for the scary things more than a normal dog and tend to react to them at a higher level than is "needed".[/quote]

This is Harvick! Granted there are times where he is focused on sniffing the grass in the green belt and doesn't notice the dog offlead running from its owner and the child on the bike chasing it screaming, which was odd but exciting that he didn't react lol.

[/quote]Anxiety, like in people can be passed on, its not surprising that the father displayed it as well...breeders call this "weak nerves"...I don't like that term personally.[/quote]

So we shouldn't feel 100% guilty and responsible? It began at such a young age, especially with children and strollers and car seats... I felt like I did something wrong but couldn't understand what I could have possibly done since he had socialization with the vet and my brother and other dogs (not a lot because I am cautious with a young pup until fully vaccinated).

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Originally Posted by Criosphynx View Post
Yes. and it will take time if he is responding so strongly to him. Make sure you keep the reinforcements very very heavy when your brother works with him...like 15 treats in 30 seconds. Treat everytime he looks at your brother. It goes much faster/precise with a clicker

They call that counterconditioning...you are changing the association from brother=scary(or uncomfortable, if you like that term better) to brother=treats and awesomeness, just like you would a scary sound or object.
We normally use the word yes but have been considering a clicker lately. The weird thing is when my brother is home and I go into his room to talk to him or he has his door open Harvick goes in there and doesn't bark or growl and sometimes even lies his head on his lap wanting to be pet. My brother would watch him when he was a pup and my bf and I were at work, he was even so "in love" with my bro that when he used to come home he would follow him into his room, I don't know what suddenly changed. The only incident we can think of that changed Harvick was when an intact husky "raped" him...it was pretty bad, Harvick was growling and trying to get this damn dog off, my bf finally went over and had to help the owner pull the dog off.... I would say he is "scared" of my brother but it seems to be when he comes home, or when he suddenly comes out of his room...almost like Harvick forgets my brother lives here and gets scared thinking an intruder came in? He also releases his anal glands regularly when he gets startled...We have mentioned it to our vet and to be honest I don't think he knew what to say.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:29 PM
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I think the article is right on the money. My training has never been based on dominance/pack theory and I find many of the things people put their dogs through while trying to "establish dominance" are just ridiculous.
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